U.S. Department of Justice, Office Of Justice Programs, Innovation - Partnerships - Safer Neighborhoods
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Working for Youth Justice and Safety
skip navigationAbout OJJDPE-NewsOJJDP resources organized topicallyFundingProgramsState representatives and organizations that administer OJJDP programsPublicationsOJJDP Research and Statistics OJJDP conferences, teleconferences, and juvenile justice-related eventsToolsHome


Supreme Court Bans Life Without Parole for Juveniles Convicted of Murder

June 26, 2012

On Monday, June 25, 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that state laws that mandatorily sentence juveniles convicted of murder to life in prison without parole are unconstitutional. Life without parole for juveniles violates the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment, the high court ruled in a 5-4 decision. The ruling could affect nearly 2,500 juvenile prisoners.

This decision reflects recent Supreme Court rulings on juvenile sentencing. The high court in 2010 declared juveniles found guilty of non-homicides could not receive life without parole, and in 2005 the court banned the death penalty for juveniles.


To view the decision, go to www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/10-9646g2i8.pdf.


Return to Archives