October 3, 2012
The Youth Justice Coalition, an NJJN member, celebrated an enormous victory on Sept. 30, when Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 9 into law. The new law allows youth sentenced to die in prison the chance to petition for reconsideration of the sentences after they have served 15 years; at that point, judges will have the option to change a sentence from life without parole to 25 years to life.
The law is in line with recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions that recognize that youth are capable of significant growth and change. It creates the opportunity for meaningful periodic reviews, consistent with international human rights law, that will assess at multiple stages in people's sentences if they have changed enough to be reintegrated into society. The Youth Justice Coalition worked with many other advocates (including the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth, an NJJN partner) to ensure the law passed.
Congratulations to everyone who worked on this campaign!
Illustration: "Celebration;" free for commericial use.