Measure of Decency

The Courier-Journal Editorial Board

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that it is unconstitutional for juveniles convicted of crimes not involving homicide to be sentenced to life in prison with no possibility for parole. The ruling effectively strikes down laws in 37 states and the District of Columbia that allow such sentences.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, rightly called it cruel and unusual punishment, a violation of the Eighth Amendment, to impose sentences that do not offer juvenile offenders “some realistic opportunity to obtain release before the end of that term.”

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