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Legislative Reform

17 states have banned juvenile life without parole – Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Deleware, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming.

Five states have banned it in most cases – California, Washington D.C., New Jersey, New York and Florida.

updated September 2016

Legislative Reform – Straight Abolition Map

Facts about the sentence

The majority of sentences to life without parole for youth have been imposed in states where judges are obligated to impose it as a mandatory sentence, without consideration of any factors relating to a child’s age or life circumstances.

More than 25% of people serving life without parole after being sentenced as children were convicted of felony murder or accomplice liability, meaning they were not the primary perpetrators of the crime, and may not have even been present at the time someone was killed.

The majority of youth sentenced to life without parole are concentrated in just five states: California, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

Children sentence to life in prison without parole are often the most vulnerable members of our society. Nearly 80 percent of juvenile lifers reported witnessing violence in their homes; more than half (54.1%) witnessed weekly violence in their neighborhoods.

Find out more

To find out what legislators are doing in your state, get in touch with The Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth.

To hear from formerly incarcerated youth who are changing the narrative around youth crime and rehabilitation visit ICAN.

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