Monday, 23 May 2011

10/11 - When Kids Get Life (in Jail)

In When Kids Get Life, FRONTLINE producer Ofra Bikel (The O.J. Verdict, Innocence Lost) travels to Colorado to profile five individuals sentenced to life without parole as juveniles.

Colorado was an early pioneer in juvenile justice, focusing on rehabilitation rather than punishment. But in the late 1980s and 1990s, when a sharp increase in violent crimes by young offenders attracted enormous press coverage, legislators nationwide clamped down. In Colorado, the General Assembly eliminated the possibility of parole for life sentences and expanded the power of district attorneys to treat juveniles as adults.

In 1992, the United States ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which requires that juvenile imprisonment focus on rehabilitation, but the U.S. reserved the right to sentence juveniles to life without parole in extreme cases involving the most hardened of criminals -- the worst of the worst.

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