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Chicago Sun-Times Opinion This Week
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Victims of gun violence in Chicago this month have included a 7-year-old, a 13-year-old and a 14-year-old who were injured in separate incidents. One died and two are in critical condition.
Mary Mitchell writes about the sad reality that young Black and Brown teens are growing up in a world where too many of them become victims or perpetrators of violence. And in instances where there is nothing police could do to prevent crime, only the village can reduce the risks for young teens growing up in gun-infested neighborhoods.
If any group deserves a second chance to make good after committing even the worst of crimes, it’s teenagers. Research has found that the adolescent brain isn’t fully developed — able to make rational decisions and weigh the long-term consequences of actions — until the mid-20’s. Our laws should reflect that complicated reality. The state Senate should quickly pass a bill that would pave a pathway towards redemption for juveniles sentenced to life in prison for murder, the Editorial Board writes.
In Letters to the Editor, a reader weighs in on the redrawing of voting district lines in Illinois and the nation. John Powers of Rolling Meadows writes that until there is a national law that requires fairly drawn legislative districts, blue states must provide a counterbalance to Republican efforts in other states to thwart the voting will of the majority of Americans.
— Ismael Pérez, editorial board member

The U.S. Supreme Court last week reined in an important limit on life sentences for juveniles. Illinois legislators can take a step forward with a bill that would set parole requirements for most juveniles serving life sentences. J. Scott Applewhite | AP Photos
The U.S. Supreme Court last week reined in an important limit on life sentences for juveniles. Illinois legislators can take a step forward with a bill that would set parole requirements for most juveniles serving life sentences. J. Scott Applewhite | AP Photos
As an editorial board, we have long believed that if any group deserves a second chance to make good after committing even the worst of crimes, it’s teenagers.
Granting a second chance at redemption to an impressionable, impulsive 15-year-old whose crime came maybe after years of abuse or living amid violence and poverty, is the decent thing to do. And it’s a view supported by the science of adolescent brain development, which has found through ample research that our brains are not fully developed — able to rein in rash behavior, make rational decisions and weigh the long-term consequences of actions — until our mid-20s.
A 15-year-old, then, is less culpable than a 25-year-old for stealing a car and going on a joyride, committing an armed robbery or fatally shooting someone in a fit of anger.
Less culpable, yet still responsible.
And our laws should reflect that complicated reality.
The Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board is the opinion voice of the hardest-working newspaper in America. It is headed by editorial page editor Tom McNamee and includes Thomas FrisbieLorraine ForteLee BeyIsmael Pérez and Mary Mitchell as members.
What others have to say
Mary Mitchell on the recent gun violence in Chicago:
These teens are not on a battlefield like young urban males were in 1968, risking their lives to protect the lives of the privileged class during the Vietnam War.
They are on street corners or in cars, firing powerful weapons at other young people who look like them as if “Black Lives Matter” is a fad and not a movement.
More editorials we published this week
Mayor and aldermen: Read the room and get behind a database for police misconduct
Calling on the Justice Department and corporate America to stand up for honest elections
A smart way to save for retirement in Illinois could get even smarter
In your words
“As a nation, we increasingly are ruled by a minority of Republican voters.”
— John Powers, Rolling Meadows
Every day we publish submissions from Chicago Sun-Times readers weighing in on issues facing the city and its residents. Send letters to letters@suntimes.com or reply to this email to share your perspective.
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Chicago Sun-Times Opinion This Week

A weekly overview of opinions, analysis and commentary on issues affecting Chicago, Illinois and our nation by outside contributors, Sun-Times readers and the CST Editorial Board.

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