SAN FERNANDO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — Today, U.S. Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-San Fernando Valley, Calif.) introduced a Congressional Resolution, calling on the United States to completely eliminate life sentences without the possibility of parole in juvenile cases.
The resolution is a legislative companion to an opinion column authored by Cárdenas that will be published in this Thursday’s Roll Call and to a panel Cárdenas will moderate this evening following a viewing of “15 to Life,” a film that discusses the use of life sentences for children in the United States.
The resolution notes that more than 2,500 children have been sentenced to die in prison for crimes they have committed.
The United States remains the only country in the world that allows life sentences without the possibility of parole.
“We are a nation built on second chances, and on the potential of human life,” said Cárdenas. “Yet, when it comes to our children, we have decided to be as punitive and destructive as possible. Even though we know that the brain of a child is different than that of an adult, and that therefore children are far less likely to understand the impact of their actions and far more likely to be rehabilitated, we still have thrown away thousands of lives, locking children in cages until they die.
“Sentencing an American child to die in prison is unacceptable and must end.”
Cárdenas has championed juvenile justice reform since his time in the California Legislature, where he authored the first effective, evidence-based gang intervention law in the nation. As a Congressman, he started the Crime Prevention and Youth Development Caucus, along with Rep. Dave Reichert, and has authored several pieces of legislation to help reform the way our nation treats incarcerated children.