Saturday, August 22, 2009

Juvenile Life Without Parole - JLWOP

OK, one more time I'm going to try to be more diligent with the blog.

One of the issues we are beginning to address in my prison ministry is the sentencing of children from 13-17 to life in prison with no possibility of parole. As you might imagine, I think this is a ludicrous situation, but I'm not alone in my line of thinking - the United States is currently the only country in the world that allows this sentence to be rendered.

There are approximately 2,500 of these individuals. While no one is asking for a blanket pardon for these individuals, many of us do believe that these individuals deserve to have a chance to have their cases reviewed by a parole board and considered for parole. Imagine a 14 year old serving as a lookout when a murder was committed. Of course there is no excuse for the conduct, and certainly even children should be held responsible for their actions, but are we to assume that that child, now a 45 year man is the same person. After 30 years in prison, literally growing up there, should he still carry the full burden of guilt from the awful decision he made as a child.

Well, I server a God that allows 2nd, 3rd . . . Nth chances and I believe we can be rational enough to allow a review of a childhood sentence to asertain if a person is fit to be given a chance to re-enter society.

What do you think?