There are currently 63 people in prisons in Massachusetts who are serving life sentences without parole for crimes they committed before their 18th birthday, according to Joshua Dohan, director of the youth advocacy division of the Massachusetts Committee for Public Counsel Services. Massachusetts has continued to sentence juveniles as adults despite last June’s Supreme Court decision that ruled life sentences without parole are unconstitutional for juvenile offenders.
Dohan was one of several speakers at the “Journalism & Juvenile Justice: How Your Sentences Affect Theirs,” held at Northeastern University, April 17. In addition to Dohan, the panel, moderated by School of Journalism Professor Dan Kennedy, included former governor Michael Dukakis; Professor James Alan Fox, Criminal Justice Department; Professor Sarah J. Jackson, Communication Studies Department; Gail Garinger, child advocate for the state of Massachusetts; and Leslie E. Harris, juvenile court judge.
The event was hosted by the College of Arts, Media and Design and the School of Public Policy & Urban Affairs at Northeastern University, Young People For, Press Pass TV, and the New England Society of Professional Journalists.