Life Sentences for Teens

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Bryan Stevenson

The United States is the only country that convicts young adolescents as adults and sentences them to life in prison without parole. A new report from the Alabama-based Equal Justice Initiative identifies dozens of prisoners serving life sentences for crimes committed when they were 13 or 14. Many were sentenced under mandatory sentencing laws that don’t let judges consider prior history. And the group’s Executive Director Bryan Stevenson tells WBHM’s Tanya Ott.that some of the convictions were for crimes that didn’t involve homicide.


In December, the United Nations voted on a resolution to abolish life imprisonment without parole for children and young teenagers. 185 countries voted for it. The U-S was the lone dissenter.