In recent years, the sentence of the death penalty for individuals who are responsible for murder has decreased a great deal in favor of a life penalty in prison. Individuals who have committed a serious offense may be sentenced to spend life in prison. This is a common punishment for offenders who have murdered another person or for individuals who are responsible for sexual battery.
A life penalty is also a punishment that is often inflicted upon repeat offenders or career criminals. However, the term “life in prison” does not necessarily imply that a criminal will spend the rest of their life in prison. In many cases, it is possible for a criminal to receive parole after they have served a certain portion of their sentence. In general, an individual who has been sentenced to a life penalty in prison must remain in jail for at least twenty years before they can be considered for parole.
The parole board takes into account a wide variety of factors when considering parole, including how long the offender has been in prison, whether the criminal has displayed good behavior throughout their time in prison, and whether they have taken advantage of the programs and services that are offered by the correctional facility. However, not all individuals who are sentenced to a life penalty will be eligible for parole. Many criminals, both juvenile and adult, are sentenced to life without parole.
Very few countries permit the sentence of life without parole. In the United States, this is a common sentence that is often handed down when it is not warranted. Next to the death penalty, life without parole is the most severe punishment that a criminal may receive. This sentence may be justified in cases of high treason or serial murder. Individuals who are responsible for carrying out multiple murders have planned and carried out this heinous crime numerous times without remorse for their actions.
However, life without parole is often handed to individuals who could be rehabilitated. For example, an individual who kills someone in the process of robbing a store may be sentenced to a life penalty without the chance of release. The offender’s crimes were atrocious and appalling, and for the rest of their life they will be required to live with the knowledge that they ended another person’s life. This does not mean that they cannot change or reform their ways, though.
If an individual is given a life penalty with the opportunity for parole, they will still be required to serve twenty years for the crimes that they have committed before they are considered for parole. The parole board will only grant parole if they feel that the criminal is not likely to repeat their crimes. A person can change a great deal over the course of twenty years. Denying an individual the opportunity for parole is the same thing as stating that humans are incapable of learning, converting, and improving.
Most individuals do not maintain the same beliefs, morals, and principles that they did ten years ago. Therefore, some would say it is ridiculous to assume that twenty years after an individual has committed a crime that they will still be the same dangerous person that they were twenty years prior. A criminal can change, just like all other individuals. There are many educational and treatment programs that are offered in correctional facilities.
An individual who is provided with access to an education, counseling, and substance abuse treatment are given the tools that they need to succeed in life. Spending twenty years in prison gives a criminal the opportunity to reflect on their actions and to discover who they are. Due to the Eighth Amendment, it seems unconstitutional to take away an individual’s life and providing them with no hope for a future. Many criminals would consider life without parole to be a more harsh and severe punishment then the death penalty.
At least execution would not require the convict to remain in prison with no hope of ever returning to a community. Life without parole places an individual behind bars with no prospect of ever attaining a future or returning to their life. A life penalty without the possibility of release is especially harsh and cruel in instances in which the offender was under the age of eighteen at the time of the crime. Research indicates that the brain continues to develop and mature throughout childhood and adolescence.
Therefore, a teenager does not have the cognitive ability to fully understand the consequences and the effects of their actions. They also do not have the ability to effectively control impulses and emotions, or to think critically about their actions. There is a very good chance that children can be rehabilitated and can return to society as a productive and helpful individual. Currently there are over 2,000 juvenile offenders serving life sentences without the chance of parole.
Over seventy of these individuals were under the age of fifteen at the time the crime was committed. Quantel Lotts received life without parole for stabbing his stepbrother to death when he was fourteen. The incident began as horseplay utilizing toy weapons, but it escalated and became fatal when a knife was introduced into the play.
Sara Kruzan was also sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of release for murdering an abusive pimp who began sexually assaulting her and using her for prostitution when she was only thirteen years old. After three years of being subjected to this abuse Kruzan snapped and killed her tormentor. She was sixteen when the crime occurred. Despite the conditions surrounding the murder, the judge sentenced her to die in a correctional facility without the hope of ever being released.