The United States is the only country in the world that sentences children to life in prison without the possibility of parole, but that horrifying practice is beginning to wane. Over the past five years, state and federal Supreme Courts have ruled that mandatory life sentences without parole for juveniles is unconstitutional, and California has enacted legislation that allows most of those sentenced to life as juveniles to petition for a new sentencing hearing. The hope generated by these efforts, giving a second chance to those who committed serious crimes at a young age, is transformational. This pendulum shift is the hard-won result of the organizing and advocacy efforts of passionate, resilient people who have lived with the ramifications of the gross failures of our justice system. In this essay, Stauring describes the work he’s done over the past quarter of a century to help bring these changes about.
Healing the Broken: Thoughts on serving 25 to life, side by side
Javier Stauring was the codirector of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ Office of Restorative Justice from 1996 to 2016. He won a World’s Children’s Prize in 2015 for his twenty years helping to rehabilitate imprisoned youth through means other than punishment. He is currently the executive director of Healing Dialogue and Action.
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Javier Stauring; Healing the Broken: Thoughts on serving 25 to life, side by side. Boom 1 June 2016; 6 (2): 57–59. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/boom.2016.6.2.57
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