AACAP, Advocacy Groups Laud Juvenile Death Penalty Ban
The AACAP applauds the United States Supreme Court's ruling banning the juvenile death penalty. Along with leading medical associations including the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and the American Medical Association (AMA), the AACAP has been a longstanding advocate for juvenile justice reform.
For immediate release:
Mar 01, 2005
Jim Wood, Director Development and Communications
202.966.7300, ext. 120, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kristin Kroeger Ptakowski, AACAP Director of Government Affairs and Clinical Practice
202.966.7300, ext. 108, email@example.com
WASHINGTON, DC- The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) expressed support for the U.S. Supreme Court ruling today in Roper v. Simmons that sentencing juveniles to death is unconstitutional.
The Court’s (5-4) decision, in favor of Christopher Simmons, who was 17 at the time of his conviction, forbids states from executing anyone who was younger than eighteen at the time of their crime. The Supreme Court confirmed the Missouri Supreme Court’s ruling that the original death sentence imposed on Simmons violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of “cruel and unusual punishment.”
AACAP President Richard Sarles, M.D. noted that, “This decision does not diminish the crimes that place juveniles on death row, but it does recognize that there are considerations to be made because of their age. Research has given us clear evidence that brain development is not complete until after adolescence and that the limitations on thinking and acting in an adolescent brain are different than in an adult brain.”
Currently, 73 juvenile offenders will now be removed from the death rows of 12 states.
The AACAP’s policy on Juvenile Death Sentences:
has been used to support state bills banning executions for crimes committed as a juvenile, and the organization is part of a coalition of medical and advocacy groups who filed an amicus curiae brief calling for an end to the juvenile death penalty in July, 2004. Click here to view this brief from the American Bar Association’s website.
Also, the AACAP’s recommendations on juvenile justice reform can be accessed on its website *PDF document.
Representing over 7,500 child and adolescent psychiatrists nationwide, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) is the leading authority on children’s mental health. AACAP members actively research, diagnose, and treat psychiatric disorders affecting children, adolescents, and their families.
The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) is the leading authority on children’s mental health. AACAP members actively research, diagnose, and treat psychiatric disorders affecting children, adolescents, and their families.
Our Facts for Families, available free of charge on the AACAP website, provide concise and up-to-date information on a wide array of issues relating to children’s mental health. Written in a simple, straightforward manner, these 88 one-page fact sheets are valuable to anyone raising or working with children. In addition, the AACAP routinely refers the media to expert spokespeople on child and adolescent issues, and sponsors The Campaign for America’s Kids – an initiative designed to fund an Advocacy Institute for Child and Adolescent Mental Health, with the goal of mental health for all children.
AACAP Mission: The Mission of the AACAP is the promotion of mentally healthy children, adolescents and families through research, training, advocacy, prevention, comprehensive diagnosis and treatment, peer support and collaboration.