Sunday, January 20, 2008

Assailing the US record on juve sentencing

Today's San Francisco Chronicle has this commentary, headlined "U.S. among harshest for sentencing children." Here is how it begins:

To many in the United States, the country of Somalia conjures up images of a primitive Third World country. So it may come as a surprise to learn that Somalia and the United States share an unfortunate commonality - they are the only countries in the world that refuse to sign the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child because of its ban on sentencing children to die in prison.

Under the U.N. covenant, sentencing children, even those who commit serious crimes, to permanent imprisonment is considered inhumane and inconsistent with civilized society and thus rejected by the rest of the world. According to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, there are now about a dozen people outside the United States and Somalia who were sentenced to permanent imprisonment as children: South Africa has four, Tanzania has one, and Israel has seven. In contrast, the United States has 2,270 children serving such a sentence, including 227 in California.

Some recent related posts on juve life sentences:

New HRW report assailing juve LWOP in California
California considering eliminating LWOP for juveniles
Nebraska working to reform juve LWOP sentences
NY Times coverage of very young lifers
Fascinating juve clemency development in Colorado
Life without parole for juvenile may be cruel, but it is not unusual
The next issue in sentencing of juveniles?
Forthcoming PBS program "When Kids Get Life"
Does Roper suggest young juve LWOP is unconstitutional?

No comments: