Juvenile Life Without Parole
Enacted: Feb 2015
Whereas, The United States Supreme Court in Graham v. Florida, 130 S.Ct. 2011 (2010) and Miller v. Alabama 132 S.Ct.2455 (2012) drew on brain and behavioral development research and ruled that children are constitutionally different from adults and should not be subject to our nation’s most punitive penalties; and
Whereas, In Graham the Court struck down life without parole sentences for non-homicide offenders holding that states must give children a “realistic opportunity to obtain release;” and
Whereas, In Miller the Court struck down mandatory life without parole sentences for homicide offenses; and
Whereas, Youthful offenders are considered those individuals under the age of eighteen years at the time of their offense.
BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED, That the Board of Directors of the American Probation and Parole Association urges federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial governments to adopt sentencing laws and procedures that appropriately acknowledge the mitigating factors of age and maturity of youthful offenders who are subject to adult penalties upon conviction, by enacting laws and rules of procedure that will:
- Prospectively and retroactively eliminate life without the possibility of release or parole for youthful offenders;
- Based on demonstrated maturity and rehabilitation and beginning at a reasonable point into their incarceration provide youthful offenders with meaningful periodic opportunities for release, considering the needs of the victims of their crime.