A new film documentary will be premiered in Washing DC later this month that focused on both sides of the dialogue concerning life and virtual life prison sentences for juvenile offenders. This film takes an objective viewpoint of this topic and then leaves you with the question....Could You Forgive?
As a minister and person of strong convictions, I have witnessed the devastation that comes on all who are involved. The offender, the victim, the victim's family, the offenders family, their communities and even the officers of the court. There is no "winning" in these situations. That is why I have always been a proponent of restorative justice. Yes juvenile offenders should be accountable for their actions and the cost of those actions but they are not beyond rehabilitation or redemption....they are just kids who take miscalculated risks, who cannot think through the reasoning of cause and effect and are easily persuaded. I also know that a victim of crime who cannot come to terms with the loss can become bitter, angry and vengeful which effects health, families, relationships and jobs. So I work and hope for healing....otherwise we as a society will continue to degrade into hopelessness, despair and anguish. Join the conversation, join the movement towards healing and restoration. If we will do that for a park or an animal, can we not do it for the broken?
Lost For Life By Joshua Rofe'
Lost for Life, a new film from director Joshua Rofé, produced by Ted Leonsis, Rick Allen, Mark Jonathan Harris (director of three Academy Award-winning films) and Peter Landesman, is a searing documentary about individuals who have been sentenced to life without parole for crimes they committed as juveniles. The film tackles this contentious issue from multiple perspectives and explores the complexity of the lives of the affected individuals. Lost for Life refuses to give easy answers, but prompts many questions, and forces us to consider what we mean by justice, punishment, mercy, redemption and forgiveness.
And this conversation is vitally important. As many of you know, on June 25, 2012, the Supreme Court issued an historic ruling in the companion cases of Jackson v. Hobbs and Miller v. Alabama, holding that mandatory life-without-parole sentences for juveniles constitute cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Moreover, because the Court made no specific recommendations concerning how those serving automatic life-without-parole sentences would be resentenced, relief has been hard to divine. For example, in an apparent attempt to circumvent Miller, a number of Governors have indicated their intention to replace mandatory life-without-parole sentences with mandatory prison terms of 65 or 70 years.
Despite the recent Supreme Court decisions, most people are unaware of how we treat juveniles who have been convicted of serious crimes. While this difficult topic is easy to ignore, justice can only be based on common societal answers to key moral questions. For this reason, Lost for Life is an essential film. It is our responsibility to determine the standards of decency for our society. After watching this film, that responsibility becomes impossible to ignore.
We hope that you will join us at the premiere and in raising the profile of this incredibly important issue. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion on the issue moderated by Professor Steven H. Goldblatt, Director of the Supreme Court Institute at Georgetown University Law Center. For more information and promotional materials for the film, please visit http://www.snagfilms.com/lostforlife.
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