Why does the US allow children to face decades in prison? | TV Shows

On Monday, June 27 at 19:30 GMT:
Almeer Nance was 16 years outdated when he joined two different folks in an armed theft that ended within the homicide of a retailer supervisor within the US state of Tennessee.

However although he didn’t hearth the deadly shot through the assault in Knoxville in 1996, Nance was tried as an grownup, convicted of felony homicide, after which sentenced to a minimal of 51 years in jail. In marked distinction, one other teenage confederate obtained only a one-year time period.

Nance’s case is the main focus of Fault Traces’ new movie “51 Years Behind Bars“. The documentary examines Tennessee’s strict legal guidelines on necessary minimal sentencing for homicide – that are being challenged on the state’s supreme court docket – and follows Nance’s household and supporters as they struggle to convey him dwelling.

Whereas Tennessee has a number of the US’s most punitive sentencing legal guidelines, different US states additionally take a harsh line with regards to prosecuting juveniles – particularly kids and younger folks of color. 13 US states, together with Tennessee, haven’t any minimal age for attempting kids as adults. “Youngsters as younger as eight can nonetheless be charged as an grownup, held in an grownup jail, and sentenced to excessive sentences in an grownup jail,” the Equal Justice Initiative says.

The distinction between how kids and younger persons are handled by US courts and jail methods and another elements of the world is stark. In Germany, kids below 14 aren’t held criminally accountable, whereas within the Netherlands the age of prison duty is 12.

Just lately, some US states have adopted a extra progressive method. Massachusetts in 2018 raised the age of juvenile court docket jurisdiction from seven to 12 – a part of a wider overhaul of justice legal guidelines which have resulted in a drop in arrests and jail time for younger offenders. Advocates for US reform say that adopting restorative justice is an efficient technique to rehabilitate juvenile offenders and restore the injury attributable to the crime, whereas additionally tackling stubbornly excessive recidivism charges throughout the nation.Why does the US enable kids to face a long time in jail?

On this episode of The Stream we’ll have a look at “51 Years Behind Bars”, ask why so many kids and younger folks convicted of crimes within the US face such punitive sentences, and contemplate what reforms are doable.

On this episode of The Stream, we’re joined by:
Rahim Buford, @Rahimbuford
Director, Unheard Voices Outreach
unheardvoicesoutreach.org

Rafiah Muhammad-McCormick
Co-ordinator for Neighborhood Outreach, Tennesseans for Options to the Dying Penalty (TADP)
tennesseedeathpenalty.org/workers

Michael Bochenek, @MichaelBochenek
Senior counsel on kids’s rights, Human Rights Watch
hrw.org

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