For Immediate Release:  January 29, 2009

Contact: Allison Conyers,  757-870-8749 or aconyers@fairsentencingofyouth.org

Note:  A hearing will be held Friday, January 29 to determine whether Jordan Brown–accused of killing his father’s girlfriend at age 11–will  be tried as an adult.  If tried as an adult and found guilty Jordan Brown will be the youngest person in the world sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

Statement by Jody Kent, Director and National Coordinator of the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth

“The murder of Kenzie Marie Houk was tragic, and the person who is responsible for it should be held accountable and punished in an age appropriate way.

If the currently accused Jordan Brown is tried and convicted in adult court, he will receive a mandatory life without parole sentence. This means he will be sent to prison for the rest of his life for a crime committed at the age of 11- no judge or jury will have the discretion to modify this irrevocable sentence.  He will become the youngest person in the nation, and the world to receive this sentence.”

This case provides an example of the tremendously irrational approach to juvenile crime our nation has adopted.  The practice of sentencing youth to die in prison ignores what science, and common sense, tells us– children, by definition, are still growing and changing.  Children, even those convicted of serious crimes, are not simply adults in smaller form.  Their brains are not fully developed and therefore, they are more impressionable and more impulsive than adults.  They have less capacity to consider the consequences of their actions, but greater capacity to reform their behavior.

It is irresponsible and immoral to simply give up on them for life.  Instead, youth convicted of serious crimes should have incentives to improve their behavior and reform themselves so that they may, one day, return to our communities as productive citizens.”

-###-

The Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth is a national campaign dedicated to ending the practice of sentencing youth to life in prison without the opportunity to prove remorse and rehabilitation.