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Is a life sentence without parole cruel and unusual punishment for juveniles convicted of serious crimes?

Yes. Convicts under 18 should have the opportunity for rehabilitation based on the level of maturity at the time of their crime.
11% (172 votes)
Sometimes. Life without parole should only be sentenced after the most heinous violent crimes.
27% (410 votes)
It depends on age. Juveniles under the age of 14 should never be sentenced to life without chance of parole.
13% (203 votes)
No. Life without parole is a sentence based on protecting the public from danger, regardless of age.
48% (737 votes)
Total votes: 1522

 

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JoeReeves

March 22, 2012 - 3:26pm

Actually, I picked the last option, because my preference was not shown. I believe, when guilt is assured and they have one round of appeals, violent criminals should be executed. Why should we have to provide food, shelter, health care, TV, game rooms, computers and internet access to them for the rest of their lives. If the offender deserves life without parole, then he deserves the death penalty, regardless of age. If he breaks in my house, or tries to carjack me, he'd better shoot me first, or he'll leave in a body bag.

marksteuber

March 23, 2012 - 4:11pm

I am in 100% agreement with you Joe

Vietnam Vet

jls152

March 23, 2012 - 7:14pm

Joe pretty well says what needs to be said. If I was one who must have done something so hideous, I wouldn't want to age and die in a cell. And if prison isn't that bad and is rather cushy then prison is not doing its job.

CabotJim

March 22, 2012 - 5:21pm

Joe, I couldn't agree more! I've visited some of our prisons and have noticed the level of health care they get is better than what I have as a 20 year veteran! I think they eat better, too!! It's appalling! They are "CRIMINALS" in "PRISON", for crying out loud! OK, I'm stepping down from my soapbox, now.

holdcraftm

March 22, 2012 - 5:43pm

Hey Guys you seem to have forgotten we are talking about Juveniles. That is kids from 12 to 16 years. Remember back when you were that age. I did some stupid stuff that seemed OK then but would get a kid today a record for life. Our society today never lets a kid get back out from under. This poll should have an answer that says justice is based on a case by case basis. I wouldn't send any kid that age up for life unless he/she is a multiple offender of violent crimes. Even then one would have to look at the circumstances, what if the kid killed an abusive parent? Or was abused and then went out and injured or killer someone in a fit of rage for what his/her parents were doing to him or her??? We don't need set punishments because they don't account for circumstances - that's why Judges have some room in their sentencing. Nothing is Black or white. We need a justice system that sees the grays too.

Eaglerider

March 22, 2012 - 5:45pm

To quote an old expresion that is now outdated due to liberal judges,
If you can't do the time, don't do the crime.

Duster340

March 22, 2012 - 5:59pm

I agree with Joe! I'm sick of supporting criminals as if they were guests in a hotel. When a criminal commits a crime and gets caught, what happens? He gets his teeth fixed, clean sheets, 3 square meals a day and access to a law library to find loopholes in the law. What happened to bread and water? What happened to hard labor? Prison should be a penal institution instead of a rehab facility and maybe, just maybe, crimes of violence would diminish substantiously! Young children know the difference between right and wrong! We must make them fear prison and/or the death penalty!

Bob95490

March 22, 2012 - 9:40pm

I've read the above comments with quite a bit of interest and it occurs to me that, as usual, the available answers were insufficient for a topic as volatile as this one is. However, given the question and available answers, I went with number two because the question is about the sentencing of minors (children) not adults.

I’ve lived long enough to have matured beyond the point of repeating the same mistakes I made as a 12 to 16 year old and I’m certainly not unique; thus I’m forced to conclude that there is a reasonable belief that this is not beyond juvenile offenders. This doesn’t mean that I think all juvenile offenders should be released at the attainment of a certain age. Nor does that mean I don’t believe that some, due to the heinous nature of their crime, should never be released. It does mean that I believe it is necessary to, with the passage of time, review the no longer juvenile offender’s record while incarcerated and determine if it is a benefit to the state to continue incarceration or whether the community would be better served by paroling the reformed no longer juvenile offender. To do otherwise is not only cruel but also a disservice to the community at large by preventing this person from becoming productive rather than being supported (regardless of the style) by others.

Also, while young children certainly know the difference between right and wrong they seldom have the impulse control adults are expected to display on a moment to moment basis. That impulse control isn’t something people are born with but is developed as people mature. Punishing children identically to adults because they failed to demonstrate the mature impulse control expected of adults should be considered cruel in all but the most extreme cases.

Finally, I’m not sure anyone adult or juvenile can be frightened of imprisonment or the death penalty. If they could be we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Long before our present rehabilitation mode of incarceration we punished severely and despite that form of punishment people still committed serious crimes on a regular basis. England, at one time, hung pick-pockets and yet those viewing the hanging were targets for pick-pockets. It is impossible to frighten an individual by punishing another individual, regardless of how severely that punishment is administered.

Just a thought…

Robert Ireland (PUFL) Post 174 Willits, CA

Germ

March 23, 2012 - 7:13am

A few things ...

1. What does this question have to do with the American legion, veterans affairs?
2. Joe is completely and utter wrong and should seek help with his anger issues and enjoyment with death. No society should ever allow its' government the right to kill its' own citizens. The death penalty is a waste of time energy and treasure.
3. Bob got this one right ... as seen from the length of his answer this is not a simple question that can be answered with a quick quip (Eaglerider)
4. Lastly and I do not want to scare or offend the religious nuts that hate science, BUT ... the human brain does not really stop growing until around age 28 .....

Bob95490

March 28, 2012 - 12:25am

Thanks for the compliment, I find many questions require more than one-line answers while others do not. Now in answer to your other questions and observations:

First, I believe you will find youth and service to youth is one of the Four Pillars of the American Legion. I believe the question about LWP for child offenders should be viewed as American Legion oriented and a manner of polling member opinion on a subject within the organization’s purview.

Next, I’m not as quick to assume Joe or those that agree with him have anger issues as much as they seem to feel a heavy-handed approach might gain better results without regard for anything other than their belief that this would best benefit society. While I may not agree with them on their approach I’m not prepared, nor informed enough, to discount their sincerity as “anger issues”.

Also, I’m not convinced the death penalty, when applied to adults for certain heinous offenses is a waste of time or any more expensive than housing and caring for them for the rest of their lives. I too favor a “one appeal process” for those convicted of these offenses, especially so with the current state of the art DNA evidence provided during criminal trials. In short, while I firmly believe no community should allow its government to capriciously kill its citizens, I do believe that the government should be enabled to execute certain members of the community whom, by the rabid nature of their adult actions, do not deserve to live.

Finally, attacking people for their religious beliefs, or lack thereof, is usually counterproductive to acquiring a hearing for one’s point of view. I might have missed it but I didn’t see anyone present a point of view on the question based upon god would do it this way or that way. Thus, while your observation that the brain doesn’t stop growing until age 28 may be valid, you’ve already alienated those you seem to have wished to enlighten. I’m not judging, I’m just saying…

Robert Ireland (PUFL) Post 174 Willits, CA

jkruege

March 27, 2012 - 10:26pm

I think young adults know what they are doing. We just had a cab get robbed by a 18 year old kid. If they can do the crime they should do the time. We have a lot of young gang members arround that do a lot of crime. My real reason for writing is after I finished my voting on the next page my IP address and everyone else's was listed. It would be very easy for a hacker to get into your computer since he now knows your IP address. WE should be calling the Legion headquarters and report this. I think it is a real privacy issue.

Thanks....

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