Locking up children for life in the US

Domiciliary Prisonoriginally by: Amnesty International USA
published: 30th November 2011

While their peers are finding dates for prom, submitting college applications, and starting families, over 2,500 prisoners sit behind bars in the US without the possibility of parole.

What makes these prisoners unique is that they were all sentenced for crimes committed while they were children.

The US is the only country in the world that pursues life imprisonment without parole against children – and it does so regularly. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child expressly prohibits life imprisonment without the possibility of release committed by people under 18 years old.

All countries except the USA and Somalia have ratified the Convention.

Americans under the age of 18 are barred from many activities including voting, buying alcohol, gambling, or consenting to most forms of medical treatment, yet children as young as 11 at the time of the crime have faced life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. This needs to change.

Amnesty’s new report “This is where I’m going to be when I die” illuminates this often neglected issue through the stories of three individuals who will spend the entirety of their adult life behind bars – Jacqueline Montanez, David Young, and Christi Cheramie.

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