A lot has changed when it comes to the way we approach juvenile justice in the past couple of decades. In the mid 1990s, Michigan was one of a number of states that took a “tough on youth crime” stance, enacting laws that locked up more kids, even for non-violent crimes. Activists and academics alike challenged harsh sentences in favor of community based alternatives.
“Michigan’s outdated approach to youth justice does little to rehabilitate children, protect public safety or wisely invest taxpayer dollars.” This quote is among the provocative conclusions of a new report, co-authored by Michelle Weemhoff and her organization the Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency.
The Michigan Supreme Court will hear arguments today on what should be done with more than 350 prison inmates sentenced to life with no chance of parole as juveniles. The Michigan case follows a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision declaring life without parole sentences for minors violates the U.S. constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is against holding re-sentencing hearings for hundreds of inmates sentenced to life with no chance of parole as juveniles. That’s despite a U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down mandatory life-without-parole sentences for juveniles.
A ruling last week by the U.S. Supreme Court has confusing repercussions for a recent court decision in Lansing. The high court ruled that laws like Michigan’s that sometimes mandate life sentences for juveniles found guilty of serious crimes are unconstitutional.
In January, a jury found 15-year old Charles Lewis Junior of Lansing guilty of accomplice to murder, a felony. WKAR’ Mark Bashore spoke with Ingham County Judge George Economy to clarify how the ruling impacts Lewis’ sentence.
The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down state laws that allow juveniles to be sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole. Michigan is one of several states that allowed juveniles to be sentenced to life without parole.