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Cara Drinan



Professor Cara Drinan Decries Juvenile Justice System in Huffington Post Blog



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Catholic University law school Professor Cara Drinan’s first published blog in the Huffington Post was published on April 13. Her essay, “Juvenile Justice in America: We Can Do Better,” takes America’s system of juvenile justice to task for its slow acceptance of the need to sentence underage offenders differently than grown adults.
Drinan wrote: “Today the United States is an international outlier in the severity of its juvenile sentencing practices. Until 2005, the United States was the only developed country that subjected children to the death penalty, and today we are the only nation that employs juvenile life without parole. The Pope, U.N. officials and human rights organizations have universally condemned the way the American criminal justice system treats children -- the most vulnerable members of society.”
Two Supreme Court decisions in recent years, Graham v. Florida (2010) and Miller v. Alabama (2012), significantly curtailed the extent to which states may employ juvenile life without parole.
Drinan’s blog post calls the rulings a good start, but notes that there is much work to be done before all states’ sentencing guidelines take into account brain science that indicates that children are less culpable and more amenable to rehabilitation than many adult offenders.
Drinan is currently working on a book project related to the themes and ideas in her Huffington blog post.