On March 11, 2012, the IWHR Clinic participated in a hearing before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Washington, D.C., on the incarceration of youth in adult prisons in the United States. IWHR Director Cynthia Soohoo and Deborah LaBelle, Director of the Juvenile Life Without Parole Initiative of the ACLU of Michigan, presented evidence that state laws routinely allow or require that youth under 18 be tried and sentenced as adults, resulting in the incarceration of thousands of children in adult prisons and jails each year.
The Commission expressed grave concern about the issue and underscored that incarcerating anyone under 18 in an adult prison is a violation of international human rights law. It emphasized that the U.S. has an immediate responsibility to address this issue.
IWHR interns Bianca Cappellini, Cassie Fleming, and Mik Kinkead drafted the hearing requests and materials.
The U.S. government was represented by senior officials from the State Department and the Department of Justice.
Watch the hearing: