APA signs statement of principles opposing life without parole for youths

The Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth has received broad support for its reform efforts.

APA has joined more than 100 legal, advocacy and social science groups in signing the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth statement of principles that oppose sentencing defendants younger than 18 to life without parole.

This position is a natural outgrowth of APA’s amicus brief on the topic, cited in the Miller v. Alabama Supreme Court decision that eliminated mandatory life without parole sentences for juveniles in homicide cases. “Many adolescents developmentally do not have the same control over their actions as mature adults and should be treated differently,” said Laurence Steinberg, PhD, in a presentation at APA’s 2012 Annual Convention. Experts agree that teens mature intellectually before they mature emotionally, but “policymakers face the question of when teenagers are responsible for their actions or can make reasoned decisions,” noted Steinberg, a professor of psychology at Temple University.

The Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit guided by an advisory committee of experts in the field. Learn more about the campaign’s work on its website.