No Life Sentences For Minors

The U.S. bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development has endorsed a national campaign to end the practice of sentencing people under the age of 18 to life in prison without possibility of parole. “While there is no question that violent and dangerous youth need to be confined for their safety and that of society, the [conference] does not support provisions that treat children as though they are equal to adults in their moral and cognitive development,” said Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, Calif., chairman of the committee. “Life sentences without parole eliminate the opportunity for rehabilitation or second chances.” The federal government and 38 states allow youths to be sentenced to life without possibility of parole. Currently, over 2,500 young people are serving such sentences. According to Amnesty International, the United States is the only country that imposes this sentence upon children.

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