Monday, June 25, 2012
Life In Prison For Juveniles Unconstitutional: A Big Victory for The US Constitution
A big ruling for the US Supreme Court today and for the US Constitution as it relates Cruel and Unusual Punishment. Which covers what the State can do to punish its people for the crimes that they are convicted for. There's of course a limit to what the State can to to punish its people, for example it can't starve its inmates, or not clothe them, deny Healthcare etc. And there are also limits in what it can do to punish its inmates. And with this ruling that Life Without Parole, for Juvenile Offenders, is Unconstitutional, meaning that the State can't confine inmates for the rest of their lives. Because of something they did when they were sixteen years old to use as an example, a teenage gangster beating someone to death when they were 16-17 years old to use as an example. It doesn't say that the State can't hold Juvenile Convicts for the rest of their lives, 25-Life was not thrown out, it just says that these offenders have to be offered a chance at obtaining parole.
What this means is that the State meaning government, Federal or State, needs to look into trying to rehabilitate its inmates. For example someone lets say 15-16 years old, obviously hasn't graduated High School yet, perhaps dropped out to join a gang or has never been to High School. And they are sentenced to 25-Life for murder, rape whatever it might be. The State is going to have to confine that person at least until they are in their early 40s, probably longer then that. People serving 25-Life, don't tend to get paroled as soon as they are eligible. So its in their interest to graduate from High School in prison and perhaps get a Vocational Degree as well. To make the best of their long Prison Sentence, so if they do get out, they have some skills they can bring to the outside and would make them easier to deal with while in prison. Because now this inmate could see some light at the end of the tunnel.
This is a good ruling by the Supreme Court, because the fact is the people we are at fifteen, is not the same person at thirty. We learn and grow up and hopefully learn right and wrong, doesn't mean that Convicted Murderers will one day be on the streets, even if they are Juvenile Offenders. If they don't clean up their act in prison, they won't be, its just means we aren't throwing their lives away and giving them the opportunity and something to live for.