Juveniles sentenced to life in Australia – empirical findings

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In Chapter 12 of this handbook, I argued that homicides committed by young people are rare, with the bulk of killings the result of spontaneous male-on-male attacks or fights that went well beyond their projected outcomes. Accordingly, many young “killers” come before the courts as first-time offenders, despite, in most cases, a long history of behavioral problems and deeply unsettled lives. This chapter outlines how avenues to a murder conviction ultimately converge and result in the kind of pain for juvenile homicide offenders that only a sentence of life imprisonment can levy. Essentially, this chapter is about 19 young people and their struggles within custodial facilities – where they have spent 100% of their days from middle adolescence – to build and claim a master status that breaks free of the murderer/ lifer dyad. Building on Chapter 12, this chapter relays the way that “life” curtails their futures, hurts their families, and frequently undermines their attempts to walk different paths.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge International Handbook on Juvenile Homicide
EditorsKathleen M. Heide
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor & Francis
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781003242833
ISBN (Print)9781032119243, 9781032151700
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Juveniles
  • Life Sentence
  • Australia

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