This is William A. Noguera calling from San Quentin’s Death Row. This piece is entitled “Second Chances.” By today’s standards based on science, a teenager’s brain’s underdeveloped. That teenager is prone to emotional outbursts. It’s easily manipulated by both peers and environmental pressures. They make decisions that are not well processed through logic or maturity.
If these teens are being sentenced to the harshest penalties the traditional system has to offer: life without the possibility of parole and the death penalty, these teens, whom by every study and research don’t have the ability to fully understand the consequences of their actions or how those actions will affect others, are being unfairly discriminated against based on emotional and political knee-jerk reactions to satisfy those few who refuse to look at them fairly and judge them as teens based on true science, not fake news. What is fair? That’s a good question. Isn’t it? Well, we have the answer: laws already in place to assure fair treatment of all persons who are teens. However, the legislation has ignored these laws. A person under 20 should never be charged with a special circumstance making them eligible for the death penalty.
It goes against everything the science tells us, logic, not to mention common sense. Science and research tells us teens are unable to think through actions with their brains because they’re underdeveloped and don’t understand what exactly they’re doing. Therefore, all teams should be treated equal because the brain is the center of behavior.
What is equal treatment? A teen should never be given these types of sentences because we understand that there is no coming back from them. They deserve a second chance. They must be given the opportunity to go before a parole hearing after 25 years straight in prison where his behavior, rehabilitation, acceptance of responsibility, and his overall understanding of the crime he committed will be evaluated by experts. On top of that, the governor would ultimately rule on whether that teen is ready for a second chance, a second chance he or she has control of based on their behavior and the science of rehabilitation.
I am William A. Noguera, and I believe in fair treatment and justice for all, not for a few who can afford the price of the system.