Juvenile Life Without Parole

In the United States each year, children as young as 13 are sentenced to spend the rest of their lives in prison without any opportunity for release. Approximately 2,570 children are sentenced to juvenile life without parole or "JLWOP" in the United States. Despite a global consensus that children cannot be held to the same standards of responsibility as adults and recognition that children are entitled to special protection and treatment, the United States allows children to be treated and punished as adults.

  • 1
  • 2
  • Next Page
Juwan Wickware being interrogated

Only in America: 16-Year-Old Locked Up for the Rest of His Life

By Steven M. Watt, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Human Rights Program & Allison Frankel, Criminal Law Reform Project, ACLU at 4:37pm
Juwan Wickware wasn't the shooter. But he and more than 2,500 others nationwide will enter prison as teenagers, grow into adults, and die – all behind bars.
15-Year-Old Gets Six Life Sentences?

15-Year-Old Gets Six Life Sentences?

By Alex Stamm, ACLU Center for Justice at 1:27pm

At gunpoint, two 18-year-olds and a 15-year-old robbed a dozen other teenagers at a house party, taking money, phones, and marijuana. No shots were fired, but one of the 18-year-olds struck someone with the butt of his gun.

The crime is unquestionably…

50 Years after the Dream: Why Are We Filling our Jails with Kids of Color?

50 Years after the Dream: Why Are We Filling our Jails with Kids of Color?

By Mishi Faruqee, Juvenile Justice Policy Strategist, ACLU at 2:22pm

This week, fifty years after the March on Washington, President Obama stood on the National Mall and listed out some of the unfinished business of the civil rights movement. High up on the list: not letting our criminal justice system become "simply…

New Pope Washes the Feet of 12 Kids in Prison: An Easter Reminder for the U.S.

New Pope Washes the Feet of 12 Kids in Prison: An Easter Reminder for the U.S.

By Ajmel Quereshi, Staff Counsel, ACLU at 10:34am

Last week, while Christians around the world were preparing to celebrate Easter, the newly elected Pope Francis visited Casal Del Marmo...

California Gives Hope to Child Offenders Sentenced to Die in Prison

California Gives Hope to Child Offenders Sentenced to Die in Prison

By Jennifer Turner, Human Rights Researcher, Human Rights Program, ACLU at 6:43pm

Yesterday, Governor Jerry Brown signed California’s Senate Bill 9, the Fair Sentencing for Youth Act, giving California youth sentenced to die in prison a second chance at life. There are 309 child offenders serving life-without-parole sentences…

Gingrich Argues States Should Abandon Life Imprisonment without Parole for Juveniles

Gingrich Argues States Should Abandon Life Imprisonment without Parole for Juveniles

By Brandon Buskey, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 10:16am

Prominent conservative leaders Newt Gingrich and Pat Nolan penned a forceful editorial last week in the San Diego Union-Tribune advocating that states such as California abandon the draconian practice of sentencing children to life imprisonment without…

Seeking a Second Chance: Children Sentenced to Life Without Parole Seek Justice Before International Tribunal

Seeking a Second Chance: Children Sentenced to Life Without Parole Seek Justice Before International Tribunal

By Allison Frankel, Criminal Law Reform Project, ACLU & Katie Haas, Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 12:47pm

By her thirteenth birthday, Barbara Hernandez had lived with an abusive, alcoholic father and been molested by her mother’s second husband.  At fifteen, Barbara dropped out of school and moved in with her boyfriend James, who beat her and…

Breaking the Addiction to Incarceration: Weekly Highlights

By Alex Stamm, ACLU Center for Justice at 2:26pm

Today, the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world. With over 2.3 million men and women living behind bars, our imprisonment rate is the highest it’s ever been in U.S. history. And yet, our criminal justice system…

ACLU Lens: Supreme Court Rules Against Mandatory Life Without Parole for Children

ACLU Lens: Supreme Court Rules Against Mandatory Life Without Parole for Children

By Tanya Greene, Advocacy and Policy Counsel, ACLU at 1:56pm

A message for Alabama, Arkansas, and the entire United States: a sentencing scheme of mandatory life in prison without the possibility of parole for juvenile homicide offenders (JLWOP) is cruel and unusual punishment. That’s what the Supreme…

Out of Step With the World: Juvenile Life Without Parole in the United States

Out of Step With the World: Juvenile Life Without Parole in the United States

By Steven M. Watt, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Human Rights Program at 5:02pm

In the United States, there are over 3,000 people serving life sentences without the possibility of parole for offenses committed when they were children. Among them is Matthew Bentley from Michigan who committed his crime when he was 14 years-old,…

  • 1
  • 2
  • Next Page
Statistics image