Honors College Theses

Publication Date



Criminal Justice and Criminology (B.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Caitlin Brady


In 2012 a Supreme Court ruling (Miller v. Alabama) determined that life without parole for juveniles was unconstitutional based on the eighth amendment. However, the Supreme Court decision only applied to ongoing and future cases. The objective of this thesis was to conduct a policy analysis on new sentencing laws (i.e., state level) and subsequent Supreme Court decisions (i.e., federal level) that impacted the juvenile court after Miller v. Alabama (2012). Furthermore, it examined differences across states as a result of newly implemented legislative actions. A search of all 50 states and federal actions was conducted to gather information to assess similarities and differences in responses across the United States. Findings showed that while policies regarding life without parole for youth were implemented additional reforms are still needed.