DJCAE 100 Justice and Civic life
November 16, 2014
Life Without Parole: The New Death Penalty Life without parole, the judge shouted. There Jennifer Pruitt stood, heartbroken when she heard the news both because of all the bad things that happened in her life, and for the fact that she now faced life in prison without parole for something that was based on bad things that happened to her, and for something she didn’t even do herself. Pruitt grew up in a home full of abuse, where her father beat her until her eyes were black just when she was 10 years old. When she told her mom, her mom would deny it and call her a “lying bitch.” It was because of these things that she met Donnell, a 23-year-old drunk. She would tell Donnell of all the bad things that happened to her, until finally one day he could not take it anymore and killed her parents. They were both convicted for homicide, which was for Pruitt a felony murder, which means she didn’t kill them, but was there with Donnell when it happened. She is now sentenced to life without any possibility of parole at the age of 15 (Schwartzap). This sentence is wrong because she did not do anything herself, and by not doing anything she will now be in jail until she dies. This is wrong and needs to stop because that is not what the US stands for, which is being the land of the free. Life without parole is a very serious thing, which can decide a person’s life and how it is going to be lived. Taking into consideration children and the foundations of the constitution, no matter the case, children should never receive life without parole.
People make mistakes all the time because everyone is human and is bound to make mistakes in their life. A famous quote by author Steve Maraboli says, “We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past. But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here now with the power to shape your day and your future.” (Life, the truth, and being free). This quote applies to a lot of life without parole cases for juveniles, like Pruitt’s. Just like her story, Kenneth’s is the same when referred to wronged life without parole sentence. Kenneth committed the crimes he did just because he wanted to protect his mother, and he felt threated by a superior person. This gets shown in the movie when Kenneth and the mother both admit that she was in trouble with the dealer, and would be in more if Kenneth didn’t help the dealer (15 to life). This is also a sentence where life without parole is wrong, because he did what he had to for the safety of his loved ones, and didn’t want to see them get hurt, and given the state he was living in he did not have much choice. This proofs that Kenneth did not commit these crimes alone, just as most juvenile life sentences were ones not committed alone, but rather by a much older accomplish that manipulates teens to commit crimes and do bad things.
Most juvenile life without parole cases, an adult has accompanied the minors. In fact, 70% of children serving life committed their crimes with an adult (15 to life). This suggests that for the most part, just like Kenneth, it was not their own idea of committing crimes and doing bad things, but rather by the ideologies of older, existing criminals. When making decisions, the law needs to take this into account, because if under influence and under threat by older, existing criminals it is clear that the juvenile’s crimes cannot be tantamount to those of the criminals, just because of the fact that children are different from adults. Adults have lived their life, and if they are existing criminals they are not likely to change. This can be seen in an article from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, which says, “3 in 4 former prisoners in 30 states were arrested within 5 years of release” (Cooper). But children who have committed crimes should get treated differently because the possibility of them changing is much…