Title

Reform Md. Parole to Offer a 'Meaningful Opportunity for Release'

Document Type

Letter to the Editor

Journal Title

The Baltimore Sun

Publication Date

2-19-2017

Abstract

About a year ago, I started the Juvenile Justice Project at the University of Baltimore School of Law. The clinic represents clients who are serving life sentences for crimes that occurred when they were children. Most of our clients had been in prison for over 20 years when the Supreme Court issued a series of decisions acknowledging what common sense and neuroscience make clear: Children are different. Because adolescent brains are not fully developed, young people do not appreciate risks, resist peer pressure or understand the consequences of their actions in the same way adults do. On the positive side, that developing brain makes juveniles more likely than adults to mature and change over time —to become, in penological terms, "rehabilitated."