October 12, 2005
Makes you proud to be American:
The US must stop giving young offenders life sentences without the chance of parole, human rights groups have said.
A report by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said such prisoners - numbering at least 2,225 in the US - must have access to parole processes.
The report says no more than 12 young offenders are serving life without parole in the rest of the world, where the punishment is largely outlawed.
... It found that 42 US states have laws allowing for offenders under the age of 18 to be sentenced to jail for life with no possibility of parole.
Virginia, Louisiana and Michigan were found to be the most aggressive in imposing such sentences.
The practice is outlawed in many countries and by international law, under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The US and Somalia are the only two countries that have not ratified the treaty, the rights groups said.
… Across the US, black youth were found to be 10 times more likely to receive life without parole than white youth.
In Pennsylvania, Hispanic youth were found to be ten times more likely to receive the sentence than their white contemporaries.
America: twinned with Somalia. A fine testament to the Bush era.
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