Home > Editorial, The Industry Cosign > Dozens Of Children Serving Life In Prison—How Do We Let This Happen?

Dozens Of Children Serving Life In Prison—How Do We Let This Happen?


http://mybrownbaby.com/2012/04/dozens-of-children-serving-prison-death-sentences/

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By NICK CHILES

A report yesterday on CBS Sunday Morning revealed a factoid that stopped us in our tracks here at MyBrownBaby: There are more than 70 thirteen- and fourteen-year-olds in the United States serving sentences of life in prison—and nearly two-thirds of them are children of color.

We’ve written here about the American obsession with prisons and how shameful it is that our country has turned imprisonment into big business, using the incarceration of unprecedented numbers of black boys as a means of keeping afloat small towns all across the nation. As was reported in a recent expose in The New Yorker, more than half of all black men without a high school diploma go to prison at some time in their lives.

The CBS report added yet another shocking layer to this despicable American story: The treatment of our nation’s child criminals. As revealed by the nonprofit Equal Justice Initiative, most of the sentences imposed on the 73 children serving life in prison were mandatory: the court could not give any consideration to the child’s age or life history. Some of the crimes charged against them do not involve homicide or even injury. And, as you might expect, many of these children were convicted for offenses where older teenagers or adults were involved and primarily responsible for the crime.

Gandhi once said that the greatness of a nation is measured by how it treats its weakest members. What is there to say about a nation that will send children away for life to adult prisons, where they will be subjected to all manners of indecent, unthinkable treatment? These sentences are called “death in prison.” Indeed, the Equal Justice Initiative argued before the U.S. Supreme Court last month that giving life sentences to children constitutes “cruel and unusual punishment,” which is a violation of the Constitution. We are still awaiting the court’s decision—but knowing the extreme conservatism and questionable judgment of this court, we shouldn’t hold our breaths that the decision will contain even an iota of compassion or humanity.

A society that would send 73 children away for life sentences in adult prisons sounds to me like a society that has lost its soul. Maybe one of these days we might get it back—that is, if we ever had one.

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  1. April 24, 2012 at 1:52 PM | #1

    This society had to have a soul to lose in order to have lost it. You cite Gandhi; however, Gandhi cited history, and history cited the Bible. My black people love to quote the Bible, as if it’s some mystical book, but what we see before our very eyes tell us of the menacing cruelty that this unholy nation will commit against its weaker people. The government, the people walk around indignant because so many young, black men have committed crimes. Unfortunately, this nation failed to educate those young, black men in a manner in which they would love learning. Who will educate them? This was the question asked in “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” Who will educate the emancipated slaves, so they may become strong , caring people who will one day leave this nation, find a home in Liberia, and grow? However, the answers to that question came in the form of Klansman who tore through black communities, burning schools, and putting the fear into the hearts of blacks. Schools that instituted bias policies that threw black kids into the streets, and left them without the skills and mindset to make a better life for themselves. Government, who instituted stiffer punishments for certain drugs used more by blacks than whites, so they may spend their precious lives wasted. The list of atrocities this nation committed against blacks are deep and binding, and not even God can correct the damage done. Just look at Hip Hop.

  2. Flo Jo Mason
    May 4, 2012 at 12:29 AM | #2

    message IT IS NOW TIME, FOR THE PEOPLE TO HAVE THEIR SAY, AND THEIR DAY IN COURT!!!!!

    We want immediate investigation of Judicial and Officers Misconduct, once the claim has been made into those cases that can and have been proven by the preponderance of the evidence that such illegal actions has taken place within the Courts; and all criminal and civil proceedings enacted against those individuals to be immediately abrupted and put a stop! No pass go, don’t get $200.00.

    We want the Power to be given back to the people now! People Power = IMPEACHMENT POWER!!!!

    People are not aware that the Municipal Courts of the State of Pennsylvania and most like in other states are acting rules of court outside and absent of their jurisdiction. That State Municipal Court are enacting VOID JUDGMENTS that are outside the rules of court and law to victimize the people of the State, therefore, bring FRAUD UPON THE COURTS.

    We need legislation now that would immediate call to the table IMPEACHMENT POWERS OF JUDGES THAT ISSUES ORDER OF VOID JUDGMENTS AND CAUSED TORT CLAIMS WITHIN THEIR COURTS THAT HAS SEVERELY AFFECTED AND EFFECTED THE ILLEGAL OUTCOME OF ANY CASE WHERE FALSE AFFIDAVITS AND TAINTED EVIDENCE HAS BEEN EMPLOYED AND EVIDENCE ON THE ROLE OF THE COURT’S DOCKET.

    JUDICIAL ACCOUNTABILITY AS THE LAWS AND THE CONSTITUTION MEANT IT TO BE! IMPEACHMENT ACCESS NOW!

    We need 50 signatures

    To sign this Petition please go to: http://www.sign.org/sign/stop-the-mun icipal-court

  1. June 25, 2012 at 9:09 AM | #1

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