The supreme court and the sentencing of juveniles in the United States: reaffirming the distinctiveness of youth

Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am. 2011 Jul;20(3):431-45. doi: 10.1016/j.chc.2011.03.011.


The US Supreme Court has set 2 key constitutionally based limits to punishment of juveniles; a bar on the imposition of the death penalty for crimes committed by juveniles and of life imprisonment without possibility of parole for juveniles who commit nonhomicide offenses. Both decisions held that these penalties were disproportionate given juveniles' distinctive characteristics. The Court's adoption of a developmental model of culpability may produce future challenges to lengthy juvenile sentences, broad provisions allowing transfer of juveniles for trial as adults, and even possibly to younger juveniles'competence to stand trial.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / diagnosis
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / rehabilitation
  • Capital Punishment / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Child
  • Expert Testimony / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Female
  • Forensic Psychiatry*
  • Homicide / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Humans
  • Juvenile Delinquency / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Juvenile Delinquency / rehabilitation
  • Male
  • Mental Competency / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Minors / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Punishment
  • Supreme Court Decisions*
  • Theft / legislation & jurisprudence
  • United States