In 1989 Bryan Stevenson founded the Equal Justice Initiative to provide legal representation to those denied proper representation. In the ensuing years, Stevenson has defended death row inmates and had over 75 death sentences overturned. His most recent victory, in a Supreme Court hearing this past June, resulted in the banning mandatory life without parole sentences for juveniles. Stevenson was recently awarded the Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award in social action. This piece, by Chris Hedges, allows a glance into Stevenson’s life defending the condemned.
via the NY Times: “Juvenile Injustice and the States.”
Since Stevenson’s victory and the supreme court’s ruling to ban mandatory juvenile life without parole sentence, the pressure is now on states to implement the ruling, and deal with juvenile offenders with sentences other than life without parole. Although this ruling is a historic leap towards juvenile justice reform, this editorial reports that states are still choosing to treat juvenile offenders with punitive, rather than rehabilitative, measures. For example, the author writes, “In Iowa… the governor commuted the life sentences of 38 people convicted of committing murder when they were juveniles, but offered instead only the possibility of parole after 60 years in prison.” In many ways, these sentences, although not life sentences, are not in accordance with the court’s ruling belief that children can and will change.
via the National Juvenile Justice Network: “Cost of Arrest: Fiscal policy center and toolkit webinar.”
How much does it cost to arrest a youth in your town? In D.C it costs $1,000, just to arrest and detain. Find out numbers for your community using NJJN’s new cost of youth arrest toolkit.