End the automatic transfer of children 15 years and older to Adult Criminal Court. Restore authority over whether a child under 18 should be tried as an adult to juvenile court judges.
This petition made change with 77 supporters!
"More than 30 years’ of studies have consistently demonstrated that categorical treatment of children as adults prevents rehabilitation and positive development, fails to protect public safety and yields profound racial, ethnic and geographic disparities," (Juvenile Justice Initiative, 2014).
Children are biologically different than adults in that the brain is not fully developed until approximately the age of 24. These laws fail to take into account natural child development and maturation, or the innate impairments in judgment, decision making, and cognition that exist in children under the age of 24. Further, they fail to recognize the capacity of children to be rehabilitated through meaningful and developmentally appropriate programs.
"The U.S. stands alone in the widespread prosecution of juveniles in adult court. In March of 2014, the UN Human Rights Committee urged the U.S. to end adult court prosecution of juveniles - to end juvenile life without parole, separate all juveniles from adults, and end the practice of transferring juveniles to adult courts," (Juvenile Justice Initiative, 2014).
A statement from the American Bar Association President, William C. Hubbard, states, "With the adoption of Resolution 107C, the American Bar Association has sent a clear message to the legal community and policymakers across the country that children should never be sentenced to die in prison. As the world's foremost leader and defender of human rights, the United States should ban life without parole sentences for children - a severe violation of human rights. The ABA applauds those states that have already taken steps to reform their laws and urges other states to pass similar reforms as soon as practicable."
The automatic transfer law subjects children, aged 15 and older, to adult mandatory minimum sentencing laws and promotes the sentencing of children to life without the opportunity for parole. This law is in direct conflict with the statements of the United Nations and the American Bar Association. The United States is the last country in the world to rectify their current legislation in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child treaty.
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