The Supreme Court and the Transformation of Juvenile Sentencing

The Supreme Court and the Transformation of Juvenile Sentencing

Recent opinions handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court which hold that imposing harsh sentences such as life without the possibility of parole on juvenile offenders violates the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment have transformed the landscape of juvenile sentencing, a report from , an initiative of the , finds. The report, The Supreme Court and the Transformation of Juvenile Sentencing (40 pages, PDF), explains the constitutional framework; examines how courts and legislatures have — or have not — reformed state laws in response; provides guidance for structuring sentencing hearings that incorporate sound developmental research and other evidence supporting or negating mitigation; examines the broader implications for juvenile sentencing and parole; and cautions that constitutionally sound policies based on developmental frameworks may still be vulnerable to political and other pressures.