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The Reason For Life Without Parole For Adolescents

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There are approximately 2500 people in the United States serving life without parole who were sentenced before the age of eighteen (SENTENCING PROJECT). Life without parole for juveniles is highly controversial for many reasons. Some people believe that the crime itself is more important in sentencing than the age of the criminal, while other believe the sentence is overly harsh and unfair. Life without parole is not a fair sentencing for adolescents. The maximum sentence should be life with possibility of parole. This is because many people serving life without parole that were sentenced as juveniles did not commit homicide, adolescent brains are not yet fully developed, and the cost of keeping these prisoners incarcerated for so many years is a waste of taxpayer money. More than a quarter of juveniles given life without parole were not the main perpetrator of the crime, and nearly half of all youth given life without parole did not actually commit the murder (CFSY). This means that over a thousand people have had their entire lives just thrown away for murders it is known they did not commit. Part of the reason for this is mandatory sentencing. Life without parole for adolescents should not be a mandatory sentence, as it leads to unfair rulings and does not consider the individual situation. For example, Kuntrell Jackson of Arkansas was only fourteen when he and two other boys decided to rob a video store. One of the boys, Jackson’s cousin, threatened a shop clerk with
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