John F. Kennedy Liberal Democrat

John F. Kennedy Liberal Democrat
Source: U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy in 1960

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Los Angeles Times: Editorial: Life Without Parole is Too Harsh For Young Killers

Los Angeles Times: Editorial: Life Without Parole is Too Harsh For Young Killers

This post was originally posted at FRS FreeStateNow on WordPress

When we are talking about juvenile offenders, especially violent juvenile offenders, juveniles who’ve murdered, committed manslaughter. assault and battery, leaving their victims with indefinite damage, raped people and other horrible crimes, a couple of questions have to be answered. Can we afford to give up on these minors and just lock them up and watch them become better criminals in prison? What’s the proper punishment for them, that they deserve and isn’t too harsh? I believe in the notion do the crime, you do the time.

To let juvenile offenders off the hook, just because they are juveniles, is irresponsible and sends the wrong message. Whether its intentional or unintentional. That, “if you do the crime and are a juvenile, we’ll let you get away with it.” But I also I believe in fair sentencing and I’ll explain what I mean by that. Any juvenile who commits murder and then is convicted of it, has to be given a strong sentence and I don’t care how old they are when they commit murder. Or any other violent crime. And no I’m not talking about the death penalty, at least for Convicted Murderers under 21.

But we also can’t afford to give up on these juveniles either. We simply can’t afford that as a society, financially, or anything else. If you’re 15-16 when sentenced to prison, assuming you live a normal life as far as years, if you’re sentenced to a life sentence and survive it into your senior years, or longer, you could be looking at 50-60 years in prison at taxpayers expense. Also we don’t need any other career criminals in prison. We should be moving to get these inmates past this point in their lives, proper sentences.

The proper sentence for convicted murderers who were juvenile offenders, is 25-Life. Meaning they would only be eligible for parole, if they meet some basic standards in prison during those 25 years. They take responsibility for their crime, or crimes, they apologize for it. They finish and further their education in prison. High school diploma, or GED, a college, or vocational degree. They hold a good job in prison and have a good record there. They seek and complete the proper counseling while in prison. They have a good record while in prison. And they would have to complete all of these things. Just to be eligible for parole after 25 years. They wouldn’t automatically get a parole hearing after the 25 years.

Again life without parole for juvenile offenders, even violent offenders, is too much. And we can’t afford it, but at the same time they have to be properly sentenced so they are properly punished for their crimes. So with 25-Life and then be eligible for parole after certain conditions are met, would be the proper balance we would need with juvenile violent offenders.

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