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Sentenced to life imprisonment at 16, now 36
October 25 , 2012

Jacqueline Montanez is now 36 years old. 

20 years ago, at age 16, she was convicted of murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. The hearing was done under an adult court despite the fact that Jacqueline was a juvenile.

According to, "At the time of the crime, she was a teenager emerging from a childhood of physical, sexual and psychological abuse. She was raised by her step-father, a feared and brutal gang ’enforcer’, who groomed Jacqueline to be his ’little soldier.’

By imprisoning children for life without the possibility of release, the USA is violating international law. This includes the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) which the USA has signed, thereby binding itself not to defeat its object and purpose pending its ratification decision. The Obama administration said in 2010 that it favours US ratification of the CRC. 

However, the USA has not yet ratified this treaty (Somalia being the only other in the world to have done this).” 

USA Researcher at Amnesty International, Rob Freer, stated that, "Sentencing children to die in prison contradicts fundamental human rights principles recognizing the immaturity of children and their special capacity for growth and change,” said Rob Freer, USA Researcher at Amnesty International. “The USA should join the rest of the world in ending this sentence against children."


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