The NACDL Task Force on Risk Assessment Tools commissioned Dr. Melissa Hamilton to produce a comprehensive analysis of how risk assessment tools are developed and applied. This report is a significant contribution to the body of scholarship and resources concerning risk assessment tools. It is an in-depth and accessible resource for practitioners, policymakers, advocates, and indeed all system actors in the nation’s criminal legal apparatus. It is designed to provide the information and guidance necessary to properly assess various risk assessment tools. [Released November 2020]
Brief for Amici Curiae Citizens for Juvenile Justice, Committee for Public Counsel Services, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, National Juvenile Defender Center, and National Juvenile Justice Network in Support of Petitioner (on Petition for Writ of Certiorari).
Argument: The individualized-sentencing requirement for juvenile offenders facing a life sentence protects against unconstitutional sentences. Parole does not resolve the constitutional violation caused by mandatory life sentences for juvenile offenders. Parole boards were originally intended to base release decisions on demonstrated rehabilitation. The modern parole system does not provide a meaningful opportunity for juvenile offenders serving mandatory life sentences to demonstrate rehabilitation.