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Tuesday, January 29, 2008


More than 2000 American children sentenced to life without parole

In at least 132 countries, children cannot receive sentences of life without parole. In the 13 countries other than the U.S. that retain this harsh punishment, there are only about a dozen individuals serving the sentence.

And in the U.S.? There are at least 2,225 people serving life without parole in U.S. prisons for crimes committed before they were 18-years-old. Most were convicted of murder. But, shockingly, 26% (nearly 600 people) were sentenced for "felony murder," meaning they didn't actually commit the murder themselves, yet they'll be spending the rest of their lives in prison.

And, while politicians and pundits discuss "playing the race card," here's where race really comes into play:

Nationwide, Black youth receive life without parole sentences at a rate estimated to be 10 times greater than that of white youth (6.6 versus 0.6). In California, Black youth are 22.5 times more likely to receive this sentence than white youth. In Pennsylvania, Hispanic youth are 10 times more likely to receive the sentence than whites.

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