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In the United States, a teenager can face incarceration for life for committing a serious crime, such as a felony murder. While a June 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision ruled that juvenile life sentences must include the possibility of parole, such a sentence would still result in decades in prison. Many Americans believe that life in prison is too harsh for teens. Others argue that certain crimes warrant tough penalties, no matter the age of the offender.
At Luftman, Heck & Associates, we’ve handled numerous cases involving teenage offenses, and we aggressively fought to get their charges reduced or dismissed. We know how damaging a conviction for a teen can be, which is why we do everything in our power to keep juveniles from winding up behind bars.
Violent crimes committed by teens take place across the country in surprisingly high numbers each year. According to the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, over 157 juvenile arrests for violent crimes were made per 100,000 persons ages 10-17 in 2014. That is more than 500,000 violent crimes in 2014 alone.
While recent juvenile violent crime figures seem surprisingly high, they actually represent the lowest juvenile arrest rate since 1980. Still, with so many teens entering the criminal justice system due to violent crimes, many are facing harsh penalties including, in some cases, life in prison.
Those in favor of punishing teens with life in prison see the penalty as a fair form of deterrence that contributes to the safety of society and fosters a sense of justice for survivors. Proponents argue that the sentence of life in prison is a form of:
On the other hand, those against teenage life in prison see the punishment as unduly harsh, given developmental stages, potential for reform, and vulnerability within the prison system. Opponents of life in prison for teens argue that the sentence doesn’t consider a juvenile in terms of their:
At Luftman, Heck & Associates, we’ve seen countless teenagers unduly prosecuted or unfairly charged for an alleged crime. We know how damaging a conviction can be, which is why we’re committed to fighting to defend the rights of teens and working diligently to get their charges reduced or dismissed entirely.
When it comes to the question of life in prison, we are opposed to punishing teens with decades of incarceration. We believe that teens should NOT be sentenced to life in prison, as this punishment denies them the opportunity of reform. If you’re a teen facing criminal charges or know of a teen who might be seeking representation, call the experienced Columbus criminal defense attorneys at Luftman, Heck & Associates today for a free, initial consultation at .