Sparing Children from Life in Prison without Parole

Jason Baldwin hopes to spare others from growing up, growing old – and dying – in prison. Baldwin, who was sentenced to life without parole at 16 for a crime he did not commit, served 18 years and since his release in 2011 has become a crusader against sentencing youths to life without parole. Baldwin brought his message to the nation’s capital Wednesday night at an annual reception and fundraiser of the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth, a national organization that seeks to abolish life-without-parole sentences for all youth.

Connecticut Mulls Outlawing Juvenile Life Without Parole

Connecticut’s Sentencing Commission is currently evaluating a proposal that would outlaw juvenile sentences of 10 years or greater without parole opportunities, The CT Mirror reports. The proposal, if enacted, would affect every juvenile in the state currently sentenced to 10 or more years. Offenders sentenced to 60 years or less would have parole hearings after serving half of their sentences, while offenders sentenced to 60 or more years under the proposal would have parole eligibility after serving 30 years. Under the sentence modifications, young people sentenced to 20 years would become eligible for parole by the time they were 24, while 17-year-olds sentenced to 60 or more years would have parole opportunities when they turned 47. The proposal includes an additional plan that would seek to develop “Certificate of Rehabilitation“ programs, which are “aimed at reducing barriers faced by individuals with convictions and encouraging reintegration into communities.”

A public hearing on the proposal will be held on Nov.

Appeals Accepted in First Miller Cases

Less than three weeks after a Supreme Court ruling mandated it, an Iowa court gives two inmates the right to appeal the life without parole sentences they were given years ago when they were 17 years old. “We’re thrilled to see these concrete steps being made,” said Jody Kent Lavy, director of the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth. “They are obviously required to do so,” she added. The Iowa cases may be the first nationwide re-opened under Miller v. Alabama. The Supreme Court said in Miller that sentencing judges must consider mitigating factors in dealing with juvenile homicide cases.

Suspense Builds in Advance of Supreme Court Ruling on Juvenile Sentencing

WASHINGTON - While most of the nation anxiously awaits a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the federal health care law, juvenile justice reform advocates are on tenterhooks over a ruling expected next week over mandatory sentencing of juveniles to life without parole. At stake is the question of whether it is cruel and unusual punishment to put minors in prison for the rest of their lives without any possibility of release, even if they killed someone or were involved in a murder, without considering their age or circumstances. The court’s ruling will be on two separate but related cases involving two 14-year-old boys sentenced to life without parole under mandatory sentencing laws in their states, Alabama and Arkansas. On two previous occasions, the Supreme Court has affirmed that under the Eighth Amendment, juveniles could not be given death sentences or life sentences without parole for crimes other than murder because to do so would be excessive. Now, it must decide whether it is excessive for states to do so even in the case of murder or manslaughter.