In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized — for the third time in the past decade — that adolescents are not fully formed adults. Teenagers can be immature and impetuous, and fail to appreciate risks and consequences, the court rightly observed in Miller v. Alabama. But they can and do change, mature, grow up.
So, a majority of justices reasoned, adolescents should not be automatically thrown in jail for the rest of their lives for crimes committed before 18. At some point they should have “some meaningful opportunity to obtain release based on demonstrated maturity and rehabilitation.”