What's at Stake
Whether the Eighth Amendment requires a judge or jury to make a finding that a juvenile is “permanently incorrigible” before imposing a sentence of life without parole.
The ACLU filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court case of Jones v. Mississippi on behalf of organizations from across the ideological spectrum united on the notion that sentencing children to die in prison runs counter to our constitutional traditions. The amicus brief was filed on behalf of the ACLU, ACLU of Mississippi, American Conservative Union Foundation, R Street Institute, and the Rutherford Institute. Under Supreme Court precedent, life without parole for juvenile offenders violates the Eighth Amendment, with the possibility of “rare” exceptions of youthful offenders who are “permanently incorrigible.” We argue that unless a sentencing authority holds a hearing and makes an express determination that a particular juvenile offender is “permanently incorrigible,” a life-without-parole sentence is unconstitutional.
The ACLU opposes life without parole sentences for all children.