While we absolutely agree that the crimes committed in these circumstances were horrible and the impact on families lasting, we also have to ask ourselves is this all we can do?
In the video I posted, many are asking the question if our current criminal justice practices make sense. As one officer put it, how many times do you want me to arrest these people before you find a better way to solve the problem.
Alan Prendergast from Westword has published another article concerning the issue of JWOP and the fate of a man, Jeff Johnson (pictured left), who has been sentenced to Juvenile Life Without Parole. This article gives a face to the criminal that has been given such an extreme sentence.
What benefit, if any, do we as citizens of this state receive by keeping Jeff Johnson and others like him in prison for their natural life? Wouldn't we, as citizens, be better served by the rehabilitation and release of Mr. Johnson so that he can pay his own way versus paying for his life long incarceration? Does incarcerating Mr. Johnson make our community better, safer or healthier?
Not only do we have to look at the law that caused Mr. Johnson to be condemned for life and see what can and should be done to address the change of said law; we also have to look at the social impact that such laws have had on our society, our mindset and our nature as human beings. Is Jeff Johnson's life the sum of his worst day and worst mistake or is his life to be evaluated on his ability to overcome? Before you answer that question for him, ask the same question of yourself. Do you want your life to be judged by the worst mistake you ever made or are you thankful that you are given the opportunity to correct your course and prove that you are more than your last greatest mistake.
Here is the story: Will Juvenile Lifers Get A Second Chance?