Supreme Court Rules No Life Without Parole for Juveniles
The United States Supreme Court has ruled in a 5-4 decision that it is unconstitutional to sentence juvenile offenders to life without the possibility of parole (LWOP) for murder. Under the new ruling, the most severe possible sentence that can be handed down in a juvenile case is life with the possibility of parole.
The primary objective in juvenile cases is rehabilitation over punitive actions. It makes sense that the Supreme Court would eliminate the possibility of an LWOP sentence in juvenile matters because delivering an LWOP sentence would send the message that if a juvenile offender commits a murder they are beyond rehabilitation. Juveniles are young enough that there is always a possibility of rehabilitation. The Supreme Court in its ruling conveyed the message that there are no juveniles that are beyond rehabilitation.