Monday, September 27, 2004

This is a great article on Paula Cooper, a juvenile who was sentenced to death in Indiana in the 1980s. Her death sentence was later overturned by the state Supreme Court after the Indiana legislature passed a law preventing the execution of those who's crimes were committed as juveniles (Cooper was 15 at the time of her crime). The article discusses at length why the death penalty is not appropriate for juveniles and it tells the encouraging story of Cooper who appears to have rehabilitated. Cooper received a college degree and now works to train assistance dogs. She is eligible for parole in 2015, but her sentence is for 60 years and would not end until 2045.

This quote from Cooper is worth reading:

"Everybody has a responsibility to do right or wrong, and if you do wrong, you should be punished. Rehabilitation comes from you. If you're not ready to be rehabilitated, you won't be."

Incidentally, the authors of this article were all 15 years old--the same age Cooper was at the time of the murder. At one year older, Cooper was on death row.

Inmate has overcome anger while serving time

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