Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Congress Introduces JWLOP Bill

The Sentencing Project

Read the bill

To establish a meaningful opportunity for parole or similar
release for child offenders sentenced to life in prison,
and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representa2
tives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Juvenile Justice Ac5
countability and Improvement Act of 2009’’.

Congress finds the following:
(1) Historically, courts in the United States
have recognized the undeniable differences between
adult and youth offenders.

•HR 2289 IH
(2) While writing for the majority in Roper v. Simmons (125 S. Ct. 1183), a recent Supreme3 Court decision abolishing use of the death penalty for juveniles, Justice Kennedy declared such differences to be ‘‘marked and well understood’’.

(3) Notwithstanding such edicts, many youth
are being sentenced in a manner that has typically been reserved for adults. These sentences include a term of imprisonment of life without the possibility of parole.

(4) The decision to sentence youthful offenders to life without parole is an issue of growing national concern.

(5) While there are no youth serving such sentences in the rest of the world, research indicates
that there are over 2,500 youth offenders serving life without parole in the United States.

(6) The estimated rate at which the sentence of life without parole is imposed on children nationwide remains at least 3 times higher today than it was 15 years ago.