In June, the Supreme Court ruled that no minor should be handed a life sentence without the possibility of parole. However, as Salon.com explains, many underage prisoners still may never see the outside of jail.
“It is the (Alabama) Attorney General’s position that this rule does not apply retroactively,” Alabama Solicitor General John C. Neiman Jr. told us. “Ultimately whether it will apply retroactively is going to be a question that will be litigated in, and decided by, the courts.”
While the opinion didn’t impose a categorical ban on life without parole sentences for juveniles, it requires that authorities “take into account how children are different, and how those differences counsel against irrevocably sentencing them to a lifetime in prison.”
I don’t have a ton of sympathy for murderers, even if they’re 16 years old. There were a bunch of things I didn’t understand at 16. For example, the idea that sleeping until noon hampers productivity. Or the amount of household supplies an adult has to buy, and the effect on their budget. Paper towels sure are expensive! But even at 16, I understood that killing a person was wrong. If a teenager gets arrested for doing teenager things, like shooting a paintball gun at a donut shop, then he should get off a little easier than someone who’s 35. But murder is the same at any age, and a 16-year old murderer is just as much a menace to our society as a 40-year old murderer. Rest assured these kids would not have grown up to be nuclear physicists. I mean, true, Albert Einstein was a teenage Crip who iced four people in a drive-by, but he was the exception, not the rule.