Court bars mandatory life without parole for kids

By The Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. – Fifty-six inmates sentenced when they were 18 or younger are serving capital murder sentences in which there is no parole, according to the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

The U.S. Supreme Court threw out mandatory life in prison without parole for juveniles. The ruling continued its trend of holding that children cannot be automatically punished the same way as criminal adults without considering their age and other factors.

It is unclear how the ruling affects the Mississippi cases.

Monday’s decision left open the possibility that individual judges could sentence juveniles to life without parole in individual cases of murder, but said state and federal laws cannot automatically impose such a sentence.

The court’s ruling was based on the Constitution’s Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

Click video to hear audio