Critics Charge U.S. Practice of Sentencing Youth to Life in Prison Without Parole is Inhumane
Interview with Ashley Nellis, senior researcher at the Sentencing Project, conducted by Melinda Tuhus
Among the more than 2.1 million Americans behind bars, more than 2,000 were convicted and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for crimes committed when they were under the age of 18. Some, but not all of these juveniles begin serving their sentences in youth facilities, but they will eventually be transferred to adult prisons. They are entitled to additional services because of their age, but often are treated the same as adults. These young prisoners face the additional risk of exploitation and rape.
Studies indicate a pronounced racial disparity for youths receiving harsh sentences. African Americans have been found to be over-represented in the juvenile, life without parole population in nearly every state.
Between The Lines' Melinda Tuhus spoke with Ashley Nellis, senior researcher at the Sentencing Project, who recently completed a survey of juveniles held around the country who have been sentenced to life without parole. She describes some of the conditions these inmates encounter inside prisons -- and explains how some youth receive harsh sentences even when they are convicted of being accessories to murder.
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