California hit a milestone this month with the first release under new laws of a man sentenced as a teenager to life without parole. Edel Gonzalez was 16 at the time of his crime and spent nearly 24 years in prison.
A Florida Senate subcommittee voted on April 8, 2015 to approve a bill that would allow judges rather than prosecutors to determine when a child should be charged as an adult. Senate Bill (SB) 1082, which would greatly reduce the number of youth under 18 sent into the adult criminal justice system, deserves a vote before Florida’s full Senate and House.
When I first visited the Baltimore City Detention Center in 1999, I found an archaic, decaying facility that held people in grim cells with no direct natural light. The detention center held many children who were charged as adults, and they suffered some of the worst abuses — including extended periods of confinement in cells punctuated by brutal acts of violence, often encouraged by guards.
The first person to be resentenced under recently enacted laws in California relating to child offenders is due to be released the week of March 16, 2015, Human Rights Watch, the University of Southern California (USC) Post-Conviction Project, and the law firm of Irell & Manella LLP said today. Enforcement of the new laws is an indication that the United States is moving closer to the rest of the world in its approach to sentencing for youth, the groups said.