Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cruel and Unusual Punishment?

The US Supreme Court is currently considering a case about whether juveniles who are convicted of murder should be eligilbe for parole. Currently, most states do not allow those who were minors when convicted of murder any opportunity for parole. In recent years the Supreme Court has already abolished the death penalty for minors (2005) and ruled out death sentences without parole except in cases of homicide (2010).

The state of California is also considering a bill that would make it possible for juveniles convicted of murder to have access to parole.

All of this is coming from this case. Elizabeth Lozano was sentenced to life in prison while a minor for a gang-related murder. She is now working with fellow inmates who are teenagers, trying to counsel them to shape up their lives. Her work in prison is raising awareness about why she can never be released from prison.

The linked article gives reasons why the current policy is wrong-headed: "The attorneys for the 14-year-olds point to forensic evidence that a teenager's brain is not fully developed and that youths consequently take too many risks. The research comes from Laurence Steinberg, a psychology professor at Temple University in Philadelphia. "Adolescents, because of their immaturity, should not be deemed as culpable as adults," Steinberg said. "But they also are not innocent children whose crimes should be excused."

Where do you stand on the issue of juvenile crimes? Should these minors be given a second chance after serving a certain amount of time on good behavior? Is this a form of "cruel and unusual punishment" as banned in the 8th amendment? Or are they still too much of a menace to society?


  1. Hey Mr. Bauer its Olivia...
    first of all, a person who purposely murdered a minor at the age of fourteen is COUNSELING people???? are you kidding me! and i don't really believe minors convicted of serious crimes, like murder, should be eligible for most they should be eligible for parole at the age of 80 . however, other teens who haven't exactly committed murder, but are instead felons or evaders of the law, should be eligible for parole. one main reason is because you can change your mind and put back the things you were going steal, but you can't bring a life back.the grief a family feels versus a stolen car is not the same. i don't believe that young felons should be eligible for parole either until at least after the first three years depending on how long their term is.
    -Olivia French =P

  2. Alex Abbott

    Two years ago in honors english 10 we had to write an essay on if we believed if minors should be tried as adults.
    I believe that they are able to do the same crime that adults are doing then they should be able to do the times as well.
    The Minors brain is not fully developed, that is a fact but should it be looked over that these minors committing these adult crimes, they do know right from wrong. They are picking the wrong action on purpose, and most likely to just get attention.

    i do not believe young murders, criminals should be eligible for parole. i believe they should be locked away for a long time.This is not cruel and unusual, it is fair. and any person to think other wise is just plain naive.

  3. I think minors guilty of murder should not have the right to parole. they MURDERED someone it would be a different story if they were found guilty of stealing or something not as serious. those kids knew what they were doing when they shot someone or stabbed a person repeatedly they may act immature but they are not stupid they are aware of their actions. I would understand if they got on parole for manslaughter because that means it was proven accidental. - Manny Ramirez

  4. -Janett Gomez
    Minors convicted of murder should be trialed as adults ,only imagining what they could do with a conscious mind. Of course they are not thinking at the age of 14, but they are to under the law of crimes and should be punished for that behavior.No crime should be passed without true justice.As of for the counselling i don't think that will ever help minors that are in juvy, their there because they want to be. As said don't be around bad people or wrong situations unless you want to be put behind the gate of the law.

  5. its theresa cervantess
    in my opnion, i think that no one should get parole for murdering another person. 10 or 100 years old, they took someones life. so they owe the government, or what ever, theirs!!they should not be given a second chance. . . no on should. putting a murderer away for life is not cruel and unusual punishment.

  6. I believe that if someone is consciously able to watch somebody die at their hands, they deserve to sit in prison for life. People who get a taste for blood will usually act on it again, and should not be allowed to get another chance. Trying minors as adults or sentencing them to life is not cruel or unusual punishment.

    -Brandon Martin

  7. Jose Jimenez Per.2March 9, 2012 at 8:09 PM

    I dont think that minors who commit crimes as serious as murder should not be given the ability to get on parole. Killing a person is not the same thing as drinking as a minor, it is serious. If a person thinks that they have the power to decide if someone lives they should not have the privilage to get out of jail sooner than an adult. They thought that they were adult enough to take a life so I think they should be adult enough to face the consequences.


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