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The iNews Network

The Student News Site of NYC iSchool

The iNews Network

The Student News Site of NYC iSchool

The iNews Network

Prison without parole of juveniles in the United States

Prison without parole of juveniles in the United States

Brett Jones had recently begun letting his significant other stay with him at his grandfather’s house,  he fed and took care of her. However, when she began living in the Jones household after recently becoming homeless, Brett’s grandfather was unaware of the fact. 

When Mr. Jones’ partner was discovered, Jones’s grandfather grew extremely angry. 

He found Brett making a sandwich in the kitchen and began to assault Brett physically. 

Matters quickly escalated while Brett and his grandfather continued to fight. After this, things abruptly came to a stop after Brett got the knife that he was using to make his sandwich with prior, and stabbed his grandfather. 

Whether we are referring to the Case of Mr. Jones or other juveniles, children deserve a chance to improve and mature mentally. However, when not given exposure to the outside world, it very harshly affects this. If a crime is committed that is worthy of a life sentence and are immediately sentenced to life behind bars. It becomes a continuous cycle that many can never get out of. 

According to the Juvenile Law Center’s article Juvenile Life Without Parole“Research shows that most youth will naturally grow out of criminal behavior by their mid-twenties. Life without parole and other extremely lengthy sentences keep youth in prison well past the point at which they have been rehabilitated and well beyond any reasonable risk of re-offending.”

Illustrating that for something as minor as helping as truly showing an act of care for a juvenile living on the streets, Brett’s grandfather felt the need to threaten Brett. Yet as a 15-year-old, Brett had to serve the rest of his life in prison for basically defending himself. 

The case of Mr. Jones soon got sent to the Supreme Court where it was named the Jones v. Mississippi case. 

Mississippi was in favor of Brett being given a life sentence in prison, and Jones was in favor of Brett. Those in favor of Jones were justices Sotomayor, Kagan, and Breyer meaning that the side of Missipsi won with a majority of votes in their favor. 

In court, Brett was recorded saying, “I was stabbing him because I was afraid, I didn’t know anything else to do because he was so huge.  He’s not really a big-looking man until he gets in your face with his hands up and swinging at you, and then he turns into a giant.  And you just feel like there’s no way out, no way to get away from him.” 

The case concluded with the message that “Jones should know that, despite the Court’s decision today, what he does in life matters. So, too, do the efforts of the almost 1,500 other juvenile offenders like Jones who are serving LWOP sentences. Of course, nothing can repair the damage their crimes caused. But that is not the question,” states the Justia (the US Supreme Court).

While doing a good amount of research to find interesting cases, Jones v. Mississippi stood out to me since I believe that it is a perfect example in which a juvenile committed a terrible crime yet it was not considered self-defense which concluded with the minor having to serve a life in prison, behind bars.

I believe that it is important to realize and acknowledge that children have a lot to learn and grow. People can improve their life within adulthood and in becoming an adult. 

Although the topic is controversial, I am not at all saying that Jones should not have been sent to jail, however, I do think that it can be argued.

However, I do believe that Mr. Jones and other juveniles like him should be able to show improvements for their future, mentally and physically without having the restriction of being behind bars. 

They should be given the chance of a normal life.

For this case, I am not talking only about Brett Jones but the many other juveniles that go through this same process of being charged as an adult with a life sentence and no parole.

To commit an act as serious as murder as a juvenile something extremely problematic has to have happened in your life, this is important to remember this when deciding the outcome for cases such as these.

Research on individual risk factors often focuses on how certain mental health problems may be associated with delinquency, violence, and justice system involvement. Researchers have found that some externalizing disorders”

As teens at the NYC iSchool, it is important for us to continuously recognize that many juveniles just like us are not as fortunate to have an amazing source of education  and community. Which is why I believe that it is essential and extremely significant to acknowledge how lucky we are and support those that are not. 

For example, I am not always going to have the same mindset as I do now. Of course, I did not, have not, and will not do anything worthy of a life sentence. However, it goes to show that for all juveniles criminal or not, mental health matters, and when behind bars, the healing process lengthens and delays the process of maturing mentally.  


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