The PEEPSHOW presents HARD (eye)CANDY / Day 2



On Monday, the Supreme Court handed down a decision that will affect the lives of over 3000 individuals who are serving life terms without parole.  The court's ruling (Miller v. Alabama and Jackson v. Hobbs) barred the mandatory sentencing of juvenile offenders to life without parole, and stated that it was unconstitutional under international human rights and constitutional law.  Human Rights Watch noted that prior to this ruling, the US was the only country in the world which sentenced persons to life without parole for offenses committed before the age of 18, even for homicide offenses. 'With this landmark ruling, the United States is no longer an egregious outlier among nations in requiring judges to put kids in prison until they die there. The court did not go far enough, still allowing the sentence in rare cases, but it recognized that it is nearly impossible to be certain that any child is beyond redemption – and that the US criminal justice system needs to change to reflect this fact,' wrote Alison Parker, US Program Director at Human Rights Watch.

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In sharp contrast to today's visual treat (a creative photographic narrative by the late Luke Smalley), black youth serving life without parole are sentenced at a per capita rate that is 10 times the rate of white youth.  According to ChildTrendsDataBank , the estimated total number of young adults ages 18 to 29 in prison or jails increased steadily from 745,200 in 1999, to 813,600 in 2002. It rose to a high of 865,400 in 2006, then began to decline, most markedly in 2009. As of 2010, the population is 779,700.  A much higher percentage of male youth are in prison or jail than are female youth. Among youth ages 18 to 19 in 2010, men were almost 16 times more likely than women to be in jail or prison (1.5 percent of men, and 0.1 percent of women).  There are stark racial disparities in the population of incarcerated youth. Among the estimated 717,800 men ages 18 to 29 who were incarcerated at midyear 2010, 37 percent (290,100) were black and 23 percent (180,400) were Hispanic. Among men, a higher proportion of blacks are incarcerated at any age than are men of other races. For example, in 2010, among men ages 20 to 24, 8.0 percent of blacks were incarcerated, followed by 3.3 percent of Hispanics and 1.3 percent of whites.  Human Rights Watch also estimates that 59 percent of the youth serving life without parole in the United States received this sentence for their very first offense – they had no juvenile or adult criminal record prior to the offense that resulted in their life sentence.

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In January 2012, Human Rights Watch released Against All Odds:  Prison Conditions for Youth Offenders Serving Life Without Parole Sentences in the United States.  This 47-page report draws on six years of research, and interviews and correspondence with correctional officials and hundreds of youth offenders serving life without parole. Human Rights Watch found that nearly every youth offender serving life without parole reported physical violence or sexual abuse by other inmates or corrections officers. Nationwide statistics indicate that young prisoners serving any type of sentence in adult prison, as well as those with a slight build and low body weight, are most vulnerable to attack.  The report may be read via the link attached:  

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PS:  Today's soundtrack is PUBLIC LOVER's I Try


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