At least 59 inmates are currently serving mandatory life sentences in Massachusetts for crimes they committed before their 18th birthday. In many states, trying a juvenile as an adult requires a transfer hearing. Under current Massachusetts law, adult courts are given jurisdiction over murder cases for children as young as 14. In the nearest comparative urban states, New York and New Jersey, no juvenile offenders are serving this sentence.
Read more about youth sentenced to life without parole in Massachusetts in Until They Die a Natural Death, a study published by the Children’s Law Center of Massachusetts.