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NCJ Number: 221400 Find in a Library
Title: "When I Die, They'll Send Me Home"; Youth Sentenced to Life without Parole in California
Author(s): Christine Back; Elizabeth Calvin
Corporate Author: Human Rights Watch
United States of America
Date Published: January 2008
Page Count: 104
Sponsoring Agency: Human Rights Watch
New York, NY 10118-3299
Sale Source: Human Rights Watch
350 Fifth Avenue
34th Floor
New York, NY 10118-3299
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Overview Text
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This publication presents an overview of youth sentenced to life without parole in California.
Abstract: Approximately 227 youth have been sentenced to die in California's prisons. They have not been sentenced to death, because the death penalty was found unconstitutional for juveniles by the United States Supreme Court in 2005. Instead, these young people have been sentenced to prison for the rest of their lives, with no opportunity for parole and no chance for release for a crime committed while teenagers. Many of the adults who were codefendants received lower sentences and will one day be released from prison. In the United States, at least 2,380 people are serving life without parole for crimes they committed when they were under the age of 18. In the rest of the world, just seven people are known to be serving a sentence for crimes committed when they were juveniles. Although 10 other countries have laws permitting life without parole, in practice, most do not use a sentence for those under age 18. International law prohibits the use of life without parole for those who are not yet 18 years old. This report provides recommendations, narrative on teenagers sentenced to die in California prisons and why youth are serving life without parole in California; summaries of actual cases called unjust results; psychological portraits of inmates in their late teens and early 20s; a section describing life inside prison; the financial cost of sentencing youth to life without parole; the perspectives of victims; and what those serving life without parole want to say to the families of the victims. This report is based on data from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation obtained in April 2007, as well as Human Rights Watch's media and court records searches, in-person interviews, and a survey of people in California serving life without parole for crimes committed under the age of 18. Tables, appendices
Main Term(s): Juvenile offenders; Juvenile sentencing; Life sentence without parole; Sentence review; Young juvenile offenders
Index Term(s): California; Law reform; Legislation; Sentencing reform; Social reform
Note: Human Rights Watch, V 20, No. 1 (G), January 2008
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