Tell California to Stop Sentencing Minors to Life Without Parole

Target: California State Government, Gov. Jerry Brown

Goal: Persuade California state officials to stop sentencing youth to life without parole—a sentence that amounts to a human rights violation

A crisis is forming among youth in the national prison system, and in California in particular. In the state, more than 300 convicted minors have been sentenced to “life without parole”–meaning these young people will live and die in prison.

In the United States today, there are more than 2,500 minors with the same sentencing. And according to the Human Rights Watch, the U.S. is the only country left in the world where youth under the age of 18 are sentenced to serve life in prison without the possibility of parole. This is outdated, scientifically proven to be detrimental, and an inhumane approach to sentencing. It is time for a change.

Drawing on extensive research, interviews and observation, the Human Rights Watch published a report entitled, “When I Die, They’ll Send Me Home: An Update.” As the author of this report, Elizabeth Calvin, believes, “No one can predict who a teen will be at age 40. When California sentences a 16-year-old to die in prison, the state ignores what science, parents, and teachers have long known: young people have tremendous potential to change, grow, and mature.”

But now there is an opportunity for change, to amend this fault in the system. The California Senate Bill 9, known as SB 9, would allow a judge to decide whether a 25 to life sentence would be more appropriate on a case-by-case basis. This would give minor offenders under the age of 18 the chance of parole. In order for this bill to be passed, Governor Jerry Brown must support it.

Currently, Gov. Brown is experiencing pressure from various law enforcement groups to reject the bill. It is more important now than ever to express your support for the bill, and urge Gov. Brown to do the same. Please sign below to ask Governor of California Jerry Brown to pass Senate Bill 9, and give reformed minors a second chance.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Governor Jerry Brown,

Passing Senate Bill 9 (SB 9) would be a progressive step forward for the prison and correctional system of California. As you already know, California now has 300 convicted minors sentenced to life without parole. To deny these youth the chance to reform and redeem themselves is simply wrong.

There are countless studies and statistics supporting Senate Bill 9. The Human Rights Watch published a report analyzing six years of compiled research and observational data, interviews and communication with correctional officers and the convicted youth themselves. The conclusions of this report were undoubtedly in favor of updating this archaic sentencing.

Now, you can do this by passing SB 9. Can you honestly say that you are the same person you were at the age of 16? Please take into account the ability of the people to transform, evolve and grow throughout their lifetimes.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

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Signatures

  • Alper Arslan
  • Stefano Serpico
  • Lisa Seitz
  • Lisa Seitz
  • Clara Cowley
  • Sofie Løve Forsberg
  • Maria F.
  • Garry Yin
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