If you haven’t been following the story of Genarlow Wilson, the young man who was sentenced to ten years in prison for having presumably consensual oral sex with a fifteen year old girl when he was seventeen, check out these pieces: CNN , NPR , Think Outside the Cage. He was released from a Georgia prison last week after the Georgia Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that his sentence constituted “cruel and unusual punishment.”
Justices Hines, Melton, and Carley opposed the ruling and substantiated their opinion in the final pages of the Court’s Ruling, a very interesting document, particularly if you have never read a Supreme Court Ruling until now.
FYI – check out the Justices’ biographies
Great critical inquiry for teens, teachers, and families…
What laws are on the books in your state that could change the lives of teens engaging in various kinds of sexual acts if they were to be convicted? What other crimes are teens serving time for?
How many teens are in state and federal prisons (yes, juveniles are sometimes incarcerated in adult prisons)?
Are there differences in incarceration rates related to geography (north vs. south vs. west U.S.), race, gender, social class?
Do you find anything wrong with the picture of justice for teens in the U.S.? If so, what can you do?
Who benefits from incarcerating teens (and, if you want to extend it, people in general)?
What are the differences between state funding for education and state funding for jails and prisons?
Interesting websites for inquiring into issues of incarceration and probation: