Black People : Life-without-parole for youths hits minorities hardest

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by oldsoul, Feb 13, 2008.

  1. OldSoul

    OldSoul Permanent Black Man PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Life-without-parole for youths hits minorities hardest

    February 13, 2008 FROM THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Illinois law that allows youth offenders to be sentenced to life without parole most often affects black and Hispanic minors, a new study suggests.
    The Illinois Coalition for the Fair Sentencing of Children found the state has 103 youth offenders serving life in prison without the possibility of parole. Of them, 72 are black and 10 are Hispanic.
    In a report released Wednesday, the coalition is urging officials to require the possibility of parole when minors receive life sentences and to make it retroactive, so that it would apply to youths already behind bars.
    ''Each of these people deserve an opportunity to be heard again before they die ... and have a board review their sentence to determine, in fact, if they do deserve to be serving a life sentence,'' said Simmie Baer, an assistant professor at Northwestern Law School who interviewed some of the inmates for the report.
    Baer said class, more than race, determines who ends up in prison for life.
    ''I think poverty is a major issue,'' she said. ''Poverty affects children's and adolescents' lives in many ways.''
    The recommendations brought sharp disagreement from at least one relative of a murder victim.
    Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins' pregnant sister, Nancy, and brother-in-law were murdered in their Winnetka home in 1990 by a 16-year-old, who was sentenced to life without parole.
    She said that penalty is reserved for the most horrible offenses -- crimes that would get even more severe punishment under other circumstances.
    ''These are cases, in every single one of them, if they were a few months or a year older, they would gotten the death penalty,'' Bishop-Jenkins said, while adding that parole reviews might be appropriate in a few cases.
    The report comes as legislation has been introduced in the Illinois House to give youths serving life without parole an opportunity to have their cases reviewed after 10 years.
    Although she doubts the law will be changed, Bishop-Jenkins worries about the prospect of her family having to attend parole hearings for the rest of their lives to keep her sister's killer behind bars. She also expressed dismay that the coalition released its study without discussing it with her or other victims' relatives.
    Illinois ranks sixth in the nation in youths serving life without parole, trailing California, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania, according to Baer.
    American courts traditionally had been more lenient on juvenile offenders but that changed in the late 1980s with growing alarm over violent youth crime. State legislators responded by introducing stiffer laws and requiring youths accused of first-degree murder to be tried as adults.
    Now, nearly 2,400 people are serving life without parole in U.S. prisons for crimes committed as minors.
    The coalition argues that should be changed because children are fundamentally different from adults, pointing to recent research indicating adolescent brains have not fully developed and are ''more likely to engage in behavior without evaluating consequences.''
    The group adds that younger minds also are more susceptible to rehabilitation.

    The rest: http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/791352,youths021308.article
     
  2. Ms Drea

    Ms Drea STAFF STAFF

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    The prison industry in the United Snakkkes continues to thrive from the large Black inmate population. Until we make an effort to make our youngsters realize that they must not follow that path of violence that is so prevalent in their environment this trend will continue. The job to make this serious problem come to a end will be a real task.
    Love & Blessings,
    Drea
     
  3. Desert Storm

    Desert Storm Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    You know what? There are grown men who have committed all of the above crimes and probably then some than those minors. Don't studies show that your brain isn't fully developed until 21? or something like that? That grieves me trully to know that a young brother or sistah or latino or latina is sitting in prison that long. Come on now. And then again this is what we are spending are money on to fund the prison system. Now surely we can find better ways to spend the money than on prison guards and earmarks.

    Desert Storm
     
  4. oldiesman

    oldiesman Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    life without parole...

    let me ask a question if i may...does anyone ask the VICTIMS of these crimes committed by these poor little children if they deserve to be locked up for life?because they're black that makes them victims give me a break alot of these kids are crazy and guilty and let me say something else,i wouldn't waste my tax dollars keeping some of em in prison if they've committed a vicious i'd fry em,you see nobody thinks about the victims[ask the grandmother who just buried her grandson only to have the young punks walk into the funeral home,look into the casket and say-oh my bad we shot the wrong one] or how about when they're caught and sitting in the courtroom LAUGHING AS IF TALKING SOMEONE'S LIFE IS A JOKE,there are are thousand tradgedies like that everyday across the country and more in the black community,but all we hear about is these poor black and latino babies sitting in prison..TALK TO THE VICTIMS!
     
  5. Zulile

    Zulile Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Keep chopping of branches, never looking at the root cause - why are there child thugs anyway?

    It's an urban war zone - not unlike child soldiers in Africa. But the world spends millions trying to 'rescue' and rehabilitate these children - they dont round them up and lock them up! So... who is taking care of our child street soldiers?

    No child should be imprisoned. There is chance at recovery/rehabilitation of a young mind. Yes, they need to be removed from the poisonous environment that created them - but not left to rot in jail for LIFE for a crime they can not even fully comprehend the depth or magnitude of - through no fault of their own, but the failing of their community/society.

    Oldiesman - I too would want the strongest fist of the law to smack darn hard on any (child or not) who would harm my child. Absolutely. Driven by pure emotion.

    The only way to prevent adding even more victims to the every growing list, is to address the environment which is producing more and more of these street soldiers.
     
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