Question Before Court: How Long Is Too Long for Sentencing Youthful Offenders?
Marsha Levick, chief counsel for the Pennsylvania-based Juvenile Law Center which has advocated for shorter sentences for juveniles, said that across the nation this issue is still brewing, and that courts continue to struggle with how to answer the question of which sentences are too long.
There has been some movement on the issue. Some states have now passed laws introducing parole opportunities to juveniles convicted of crimes to look at cases at an individual level, she said.
“The more that we see states moving in that direction I think it does give us a better opportunity of having a different conversation around the country,” Levick said, noting that it was not long ago that juveniles could still be sentenced to death.