Skip to main content
News

Iowa Court Rejects Life Without Parole for Juveniles

May 27, 2016
The Iowa Supreme Court has banned sentencing youth under age 18 to life without parole, saying the sentence is unconstitutional because it amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.

The Iowa Supreme Court has banned sentencing youth under age 18 to life without parole, saying the sentence is unconstitutional because it amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.

The New York Times reports that Iowa’s ruling is the latest in a national trend toward criminal justice reform for youth. In recent years, the U.S. Supreme Court has banned the death penalty for youth and ruled that sentences of life without parole for juvenile cases must be determined on an individual basis. At the state level, Iowa is now the 19th state to ban juvenile life without parole.

“The courts and state legislatures alike have agreed that life without any chance of parole is an inappropriate sentence for a child,” said Joshua Rovner, who focuses on juvenile crime for The Sentencing Project, a Washington-based nonprofit group that lobbies for reduced sentences in juvenile and drug cases. “There is a widespread understanding now, with scientific research backing up our own common sense, that juveniles are not adults, and shouldn’t be treated that way. Adolescence is not a permanent condition, and the courts are recognizing this.”

Read the full article on the New York Times.

 
Related Posts
publications
June 14, 2016

The Color of Justice 2016 Report

African Americans are incarcerated in state prisons across the country at more than five times the rate of whites, and at least ten times the rate in five states. This report documents the rates of incarceration for whites, African Americans, and Hispanics in each state, identifies three contributors to racial and ethnic disparities in imprisonment, and provides recommendations for reform.
publications
October 07, 2021

Sign-on Letter: Pass the Redefinition of Child Amendment Act of 2021

Justice organizations urge the Mayor and the Council of the District of Columbia to pass Bill 4-0338, the Redefinition of Child Amendment Act of 2021 as a necessary, common sense approach to juvenile justice reform that will create better outcomes for youth and communities, will treat children as children, and will make significant steps forward in advancing racial equity.