Phillips Black is at the forefront of compiling and analyzing the transformation of juvenile life without parole sentencing (JLWOP) resulting from the seminal Eighth Amendment decisions of Graham v. Florida, 560 U.S. 48 (2010), and Miller v. Alabama, 132 S. Ct. 2455 (2012). Phillips Black is a leading producer of JLWOP legal scholarship examining the rapid changes across the country, identifying the jurisdictions that have already abandoned or are decidedly moving away from this sentence, and explicating the law and actual practices in counties and states that continue to countenance sentencing individuals to die in prison for crimes they committed before reaching age eighteen.


In recent years, Phillips Black has produced two studies covering this area.

Juvenile Life Without Parole After Miller

No Hope: Re-examining Lifetime Sentences for Juvenile Offenders

The first provides a comprehensive accounting of each U.S. jurisdiction’s response to Miller.  It catalogues the judicial and legislative responses in all fifty states, and serves as a resource to practitioners litigating JLWOP cases.

The second, released on September 22, 2015, analyzes JLWOP in practice. Drawing on a data set from each state’s department of corrections, the report establishes that JLWOP arose in the midst of hysteria over the race-based myth of a coming wave of the Superpredator, a pseudo-scientific theory propagated in articles such as My Black Crime Problem, And Ours.  Superpredator youth never arrived, but, as we report, the overwhelming majority of JLWOP sentences are premised on that myth and are disproportionately imposed on non-whites.


Burying Our Mistakes

Mandating Discretion: Juvenile Sentencing Schemes after Miller v. Alabama

No Room for Redemption: Clemency in Missouri 

Capital Punishment in Missouri

Juvenile Life Without Parole in Law and Practice: The End of Superpredator Era Sentencing

The Death Penalty