You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Letters | RETHINKING HARSH SENTENCES FOR JUVENILE OFFENDERS

Bay State must relax youth punishments

I WAS pleased to read the Globe’s story highlighting some of the injustices in the practice of sentencing children to life in prison without the possibility of release in Massachusetts (“For teens guilty of murder, penalties can vary widely; Review finds no pattern in young killers’ terms since Mass. law change,’’ Page A1, Dec. 27).

Massachusetts has one of the strictest sentencing schemes for juveniles in the country: children as young as 14 charged with murder must be transferred to adult court and receive a mandatory life without parole sentence, if convicted. There is no opportunity to consider the influence of older co-defendants, history of abuse or neglect, or any other mitigating factors.

Continue reading below

As a native of Newton, I find it particularly horrific that, had I been convicted of murder as a kid, I would have received a mandatory life in prison sentence with a guarantee that I would die in prison, while a kid convicted of an identical crime growing up in the Bronx would have been spared that punishment. Policymakers should pass the legislation introduced by State Senator Harriett Chandler to bring Massachusetts in line with its neighboring states, Texas, and the rest of the world.

Jody Kent Lavy

Director & National Coordinator

Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth, Washington
Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.