'470512616_58406dcb1d_b' found at  by  () used under  ()
'470512616_58406dcb1d_b' found at  by  () used under  ()
'470512616_58406dcb1d_b' found at  by  () used under  ()

Today the Supreme Court ruled in the matters of Miller v. Arkansas and Jackson v. Arkansas that "mandatory life without parole for those under the age of 18 at the time of their crimes violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of  'cruel and unusual punishments'."  The Court noted in its decision that juveniles have "diminished culpability and heightened capacity for change."  In order for the punishment for a juvenile to be proportional to the crime that he/she committed, the judge must have the discretion to factor in youth in imposing a sentence on the juvenile. This decision is a positive step towards recognizing the increasing body of research demonstrating the diminished mental capacity of juveniles due to developmental delays in our criminal courts.

Image credit: Us Supreme Court by kjetil_r, on Flickr Used under Creative Commons.