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Sentencing of Juveniles in the Us
Should minors be sentenced to life?
America as I understand it is the only country in the world that convicts minors; that is, those under the age of eighteen to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. This was challenged in court a decade ago, with the Supreme Court ruling that it is unconstitutional to sentence minors to life without the possibility of parole.
Teenagers are basically the same all over the world. They have the same kind of social, physical, and emotional issues to deal with, but their environment can make or break them. It is this environment that can be the determining factor of their destination. Given the right encouragement and the right tools, they can do amazing things that put their lives on the right track, however, things happen that see their hopes and dreams derailed.
Teenagers around the world are appearing in court for a variety of reasons, with murder being the most extreme charge, but after serving a sentence of a number of years, they are released under certain conditions. One of them is that the authorities are satisfied that there is no risk to the public. Except on rare occasions, they value their freedom and live their lives as law-abiding human beings.
People can transform their lives, and they do, because at the age of thirty they are completely different from what they were at fifteen. I read that the human brain does not fully develop until the age of twenty-five. American justice does not seem to take this into consideration and charge them as adults when they are for all intents and purposes minors; even US law classifies them as minors.
Keeping people locked up serves no purpose and the motivation for wanting another human being to be kept in prison can only be revenge, which is the mindset of revenge. “I want him to pay for what he did.” I think a person with that kind of mindset chooses to be a victim and it’s kind of sad that they’ve been known to influence the judge to keep an offender locked up.
There’s a case in Florida where a fourteen-year-old boy killed an eight-year-old girl. He appeared before the judge for re-sentence after the Supreme Court ruled that life was unconstitutional, but after pressure from relatives of the deceased, the judge ruled he should remain in jail. The young man was now in his thirties and was a completely different person than fourteen.
Just question the mindset of people who see the worst in another human being.
A young woman, also from Florida, killed a sixty-eight-year-old man and stole his van when he was fifteen. She received a life sentence but do you know what was the most pathetic aspect of this case?
It’s because she committed this crime with her twenty-one-year-old boyfriend.
Pathetic because nothing was ever mentioned that she was misled by her so-called adult co-defendant. Justice never seems to take this factor into account, whereas according to the law, a person under the age of eighteen is considered a minor.
In 2007, a young woman named Erin Caffey, then sixteen, plotted to kill her family because her parents did not approve of her then-boyfriend, Charlie, who was nineteen. It wasn’t just the age that was different, it was the stuff Erin was doing. His family was a godly church-going family, all of whom were on the worship team at the church they attended in Texas. Charlie’s friend and his girlfriend all took part in a barbaric massacre in which Erin’s mother, Penny Caffey, her two brothers all died, while her father Terry survived to tell the tale.
The two guys who killed received life sentences, Erin’s friend got twenty years, while Erin herself isn’t eligible for parole until 2038.
My opinion is that Erin should have been treated more fairly given her young age; I mean the fact that Erin planned all the murders should have been treated differently than if she did all the murder herself. Erin was the only minor in this foursome so who is responsible for the actions of the other three? Certainly not Erin.
I first became aware of this case in 2017 after watching a crime investigation TV show. I started a letter writing campaign for Erin the next day and it continued throughout 2018 and into 2019 but I received no response to any letters I posted to the White House about it, but I got a letter from Erin herself. She appears as a bubbly young woman who receives visits from her father; yes you read correctly, her Dad who forgave his daughter.
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