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“Life without parole means a sentence of imprisonment until death with no review by a parole board or consideration for release”; this is what juvenile offenders in the US could face despite it being against their human rights.
The US is one of the few countries that have not signed up to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Children, which prohibits this sentence. However, Justice Alito states, “Even a 17 ½-year-old who sets off a bomb in a crowded mall or guns down a dozen students and teachers is a ‘child’ and must be given a chance to persuade a judge to permit his release into society,” Furthermore, such a ruling is considered a violation of the 8th Amendment, which prohibits ‘cruel and unusual punishment’.
There are currently 2,500 in US prisons convicted of committing murder before their 18th birthday, 79% before they were 14, who will NEVER be released. The US should NOT punish children as adults.
To the US Supreme Court,
We, the undersigned, believe that a life sentence without parole for a juvenile offender is unjust. Despite the recent ruling that declared that such a sentence cannot be automatic, we believe that this sentence should never be applied.
The majority of western countries have signed up to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Children, which prohibits this sentence. This is because there is a “global consensus that children cannot be held to the same standards of responsibility as adults…” (American Civil Liberties Union). Therefore, the US should not punish children as adults.
Furthermore, we believe that life imprisonment without parole for a child is a violation of the 8th Amendment, which prohibits ‘cruel and unusual punishment’.
We are calling for the use of this sentence to be prohibited on the basis of a human rights violation.
Thank you for your attention.