House Subcommittee Considers Bill To End “Life Without Parole” For Children

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Linda Paris, (202) 675-2312; media@dcaclu.org 

House Subcommittee Considers Bill To End “Life Without Parole” For Children

WASHINGTON -
A
key House Judiciary Subcommittee held a hearing today on a bill to help
end the practice of sentencing children to life in prison without the
possibility of parole. This legislation, known as H.R. 2289, the
Juvenile Justice Accountability and Improvement Act of 2009, would deny
funding to states that refuse to offer a parole option to juvenile
offenders and authorizes state grants to improve legal representation
for youths charged with life sentences. The hearing was conducted by
the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland
Security.
 
The following can be attributed to Jennifer Bellamy, ACLU Legislative Counsel:
 
“The
United States is the only nation in the world that sentences children
to life without the possibility of parole, denying children convicted
of serious crimes a second chance and resulting in interminably long
prison sentences.. This legislation restores discretion to judges,
juries and parole boards, providing young people with an opportunity
for rehabilitation. If passed, the law would bring the United States
back in line with the rest of the world community.”
 
The following can be attributed to Steven Watt, staff attorney with the ACLU Human Rights Program:
“The fact that the U.S. is the only
country in the world still sentencing children to spend the rest of
their lives in jail with no possibility of parole is a stain on our
country’s record, as well as a violation of our international legal
obligations. For the U.S. to regain its status as a leader on human
rights, we must recognize what the rest of the world already knows –
that children should be afforded special protection and treatment,
including the opportunity for rehabilitation and a second chance.”
To visit the ACLU page on juvenile life without parole page, go to www.aclu.org/endjlwop.
 
ACLU letter to the CERD Committee is available at: http://www.aclu.org/intlhumanrights/childrensrights/39787leg20090604.html
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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

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