Miller’s Children is a passionate and comprehensive look at the human consequences of the US Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Miller v. Alabama, which outlaws mandatory life-without-parole sentences for juvenile murderers. The decision to apply the law retroactively to other cases has provided hope to those convicted of murders as teenagers and had been incarcerated with the expectation that they would never leave prison until their own death as incarcerated adults.
Psychological expert witness James Garbarino shares his fieldwork in more than forty resentencing cases of juveniles affected by the Miller decision. Providing a wide-ranging review of current research on human development in adolescence and early adulthood, he shows how studies reveal the adolescent mind’s keen ability for malleability, suggesting the true potential for rehabilitation.
Garbarino focuses on how and why some convicted teenage murderers have been able to accomplish dramatic rehabilitation and transformation, emphasizing the role of education, reflection, mentoring, and spiritual development. With a deft hand, he shows us the prisoners’ world that is filled, first and foremost, with stories of hope amid despair, and moral and psychological recovery in the face of developmental insult and damage.
About the Author
James Garbarino holds the Maude C. Clarke Chair in Humanistic Psychology and is Senior Faculty Fellow with the Center for the Human Rights of Children at Loyola University Chicago. He has served as an adviser to the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse, the National Institute for Mental Health, the American Medical Association, the U.S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect, and the FBI. He is the author of Listening to Killers: Lessons Learned from My Twenty Years as a Psychological Expert Witness in Murder Cases and Lost Boys: Why Our Sons Turn Violent and How We Can Save Them.
"Miller’s Children reflects the depth of [Garbarino's] expertise and the hope he has come to have in the power of human transformation... [the book] offers readers a rich understanding of the psychology behind adolescent homicide, while also giving us reason to believe in the possibility of transformation and redemption for all youth."
“Garbarino has written previously on adolescent violence, and in recent years he has served as a psychological expert witness in post-Miller resentencing hearings. Miller’s Children reflects the depth of his expertise and the hope he has come to have in the power of human transformation.”
“A compelling and compassionate text that explores the impact of the 2012 US Supreme Court’s decision in Miller v. Alabama. . . . Weaving individual stories together with human development research, he builds a compelling argument that rehabilitation can give these youths a second chance in society. He emphasizes the role of education, reflection, mentoring, and spiritual development in rehabilitation. An eloquent reflection on the value of hope in the face of despair.”