As we take one step forward to become a more civilized and enlightened American nation, the dregs of society pull us two steps backwards.
I’m speaking of the U.S. Supreme Court taking a huge step forward by using the cases Roper v. Simmons, Graham v. Florida, and Miller v. Alabama to end death penalty sentences and mandatory Life-Without-Parole (LWOP) sentencing of Child offenders under the age of 18, to bring the U.S. into conformity with international human rights agreement, like the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The two steps backwards is how States’ Legislatures and District Attorneys Associations have been working overtime to keep the legal practice of “Life sentencing” intact by taking advantage of the loopholes left open in the Miller case by the Supreme Court Justices for that very purpose.
Let me make it plain. America is a master of deception. The Supreme Court Justices never intended to outright abolish Life imprisonment sentencing of Children entirely. The Justices could have abolished sentencing Children to Life imprisonment in the Miller case, but they didn’t Instead, the Justices simply held that “mandatory LWOP sentencing schemes” for Child offenders is unlawful. The Justices have implied that State Courts and Legislatures can keep their barbaric legal practice of sentencing Children to Life With or Without Parole imprisonment, so long as they don’t impose such sentences on Children in a mandatory sentencing fashion. And there we go people, two steps backwards!
The U.S. Supreme Court is attempting to fool the American people and the United Nations into believing that America has finally joined the rest of the World’s nations into conforming to international human rights agreements and norms, so that the domestic and international pressure they are under to abolish sentencing Children to Life imprisonment (until they Die) will now end. Meanwhile, State Courts continue to sentence Children to Death By-Incarceration via LWOP imprisonment.
From the Belly of the Beast, at Prison Radio, I am Shakaboona.
Thank you for listening.
Kerry “Shakaboona” Marshall is Co-Founder at Editor of THE MOVEMENT magazine, founding member of the Human Rights Coalition (HRC), Prison Radio Correspondent, and Child Lifer prisoner, and can be reached at SCI Rockview.