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“False Hope: How Parole Systems Fail Youth Serving Extreme Sentences,” states that thousands of men and women are serving life sentences for crimes they committed under 18 and could be offered parole or shortened sentences—but are never given the option.
This report documents the failures of parole systems across the United States and how these systems fail prisoners who were young when convicted of serious crimes and are serving decades or their lives in prison.
According to figures obtained by the ACLU, in 12 states alone, over 8,300 juvenile offenders are serving sentences of parolable life or at least 40 years for offenses committed when they were under age 18.
The ACLU conducted interviews with 124 prisoners who committed serious crimes when they were between the ages of 12 and 26. The individuals selected were from Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Rhode Island, Texas and Utah.