Dear Friends,

We observed five years of successful work this 2014, and in some ways, this has been a turning-point year.

We saw three states eliminate life without parole as a sentencing option for children, bringing to six the number of states that have abolished the practice since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Miller v. Alabama that the sentence is unconstitutional when imposed automatically.

During the same period, the highest courts in nine states have ruled that Miller applies retroactively. Four have ruled against Miller retroactivity.

Our national coalition has continued to expand and diversity, as organizations such as the National Association of Counties and American Correctional Association passed resolutions urging an end to the practice of sentencing children to die in prison. And Pope Francis has called for an end to life sentences and all criminal penalties for children.

We also were excited to have what many have described as our best National Convening ever last month. As always, we brought together directly impacted individuals, policymakers, advocates, litigators and our national partners. We were excited to have a number of state legislators in attendance, including two from West Virginia, which last year eliminated JLWOP and made everyone sentenced as a child eligible for parole after serving no more than 15 years. We also dealt with other serious issues that are core to our movement, such as the impact of race and strategies for adopting the types of juvenile justice polices each of us would want for our own children.

Our annual Healing & Hope Awards reception was bigger than ever, as we honored three outstanding individuals and raised money that will help us continue to do our work.

As we end this year, we thank you for the role that you continue to play in the successes of our movement. The legislative session that begins in January is certain to bring both opportunities and challenges. We look forward to partnering with you as we move forward.

Onward!

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Jody Kent Lavy