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View Diary: CHILDREN Sentenced to LIFE IN PRISON (135 comments)

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  •  My home state's dubious distinction (4.00)
    Today's Detroit Free Press reported on this story. Michigan ranks third, behind only Louisiana and Pennsylvania, in the number of offenders serving life without parole for crimes committed before age 18. There are 306 such inmates in our prison system.

    How did this happen?

    Michigan ranks high on the list for a number of reasons. First, it's one of only 11 states that considers offenders age 17 and older as adults.

    Second, Michigan prosecutors can opt to charge any juvenile 14 years of age or older as an adult without any appearances in juvenile court.

    Finally, the state's mandatory sentence of life without parole for anyone convicted of first-degree murder plays a role, meaning that prosecutors who go after someone as an adult and win a conviction essentially guarantee he or she will remain in prison for life. The judge has no flexibility in sentencing.

    "I don't see any more serious division in our country than we had in the Civil War and at other times."--Richard J. Daley

    by Dump Terry McAuliffe on Wed Oct 12, 2005 at 01:27:27 PM PDT

    •  Prison Creative Arts Project (none)
      If you are in Michigan, I urge you to support the Prison Creative Arts Project at the University of Michigan.  They do great work with prisoners both on the inside and after release, helping them re-enter society.  The art show every March is really wonderful.

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