Why Are LA’s Foster Kids More Likely to Be Charged With Crimes?

Social workers “look at the delinquency system as having the power to control these [foster] kids. And the control is they get locked up. They think of that as a traditional method of disciplining the kids.”

California Guarantees Chance at Parole for Juveniles Facing Life Sentences

With the signature of Governor Jerry Brown, California, minus a few exceptions, joins the handful of states that guarantee an opportunity at parole to juveniles convicted of murder. After serving 15 years, most of California’s roughly 300 so-called juvenile lifers will get a chance to ask for something they thought they would never see: a reduced sentence. The new law allows judges to reduce a life-without-parole sentence to a 25-years-to-life sentence. That means the possibility of an appointment with the parole board. “It’s very exciting, it’s huge,” said Dana Isaac, director of the Project to End Juvenile Life Without Parole at the University of San Francisco School of Law.

California Governor May Toss Certain Juvenile Life Sentences

On the desk of California Gov. Jerry Brown is a key that could unlock the prison gates for inmates sentenced as youth to life without parole. The key comes in the form of legislation, Senate Bill 9, a long-fought proposal to allow such inmates to petition for resentencing after serving 15 years. Inmates are not eligible if the crime involved torture or the killing of officials such as law enforcement officers. To get a chance at parole or a reduced sentence, the offender must convince a judge of their remorse and their progress toward rehabilitation. Advocates say the proposal is a win for children, but opponents say it’s a loss for crime victims.

“The Fair Sentencing for Youth Act [SB 9] ensures youth are held accountable for their crimes in a way that reflects the distinct characteristics of youth, with a focus on rehabilitation and reintegration into society,” said Jody Kent-Lavy, Director and National Coordinator of the national Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth, in a written statement.