In a new blog post on the Department of Justice website, OJJDP Administrator Robert L. Listenbee and Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) Director Joye E. Frost discuss the importance of reforming juvenile life sentences. In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court in Miller v. Alabama ruled that mandatory life sentences without the possibility of parole for juveniles are unconstitutional. Earlier this year, in Montgomery v. Louisiana, the Court ruled that states must apply the findings in Miller retroactively, and juveniles sentenced to mandatory life without parole can seek to be resentenced. Listenbee and Frost note that recent Court decisions have established that children are constitutionally different from adults for sentencing purposes. The blog underscores the Office of Justice Programs' work to support states and local stakeholders in implementing reforms for juvenile life sentences, including two OJJDP studies and OVC efforts to meet victims’ postconviction needs. In addition, they emphasize the need for collaboration at the state and local levels, and highlight a resource for victims by Pennsylvania’s Office of Victim Advocate, Department of Corrections, and Board of Probation and Parole that explains the parole process and role of various stakeholders within the state.
The OJJDP-commissioned studies, Reforming Juvenile Justice: A Developmental Approach and
Implementing Juvenile Justice Reform: The Federal Role, are available online.