Supreme Court hears opening arguments for 14-year-olds jailed for murder

Opening arguments in two Supreme Court cases dealing with giving 14-year-olds a life sentence were heard Tuesday in Miller vs. Alabama and Jackson vs. Hobbs.

The court will decide if life sentences for those who were 14 years old when they committed capital murder "constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment," according to the Supreme Court website.

On Monday, NCR featured an op-ed by Fr. Gregory J. Boyle, executive director and founder of Homeboy Industries, the largest gang-intervention and re-entry program in the country. He argues that 14-year-olds are "irresponsible, immature, impulsive and vulnerable in ways adults simply are not" (and who wasn't, at 14?) and that they should be given the chance to make something of their lives outside of prison.

This week, we celebrate the first anniversary of the launch of our podcast, NCR in Conversation. Catch the latest episode here.

Boyle tells the story of Louis Perez, whom he met when Perez was 14 in probation camp, but who now runs things for Boyle at Homeboy Industries. The comments Boyle received on the article are insightful and thought-provoking.

For those interested in the court cases, check out the transcripts of Tuesday's opening statements for Miller vs. Alabama and Jackson vs. Hobbs.

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