Four Idaho youths are now serving life in prison without parole for murder convictions.
Although charged as adults, the prisons keep the children segregated from the rest of the adult population until they are legally considered adults.
Idaho State Appellate Public Defender Sara Thomas tells the Coeur d'Alene Press that courts throughout the nation are beginning to recognize the development of youths into adults when imposing life sentences.
In the 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruled that imposing mandatory life without parole sentences on minors was unconstitutional, with the exception of murder.
The Idaho Attorney General's office opposed the Supreme Court's decision.
Ada County District Judge Cheri Copsey has presided over cases involving child killers and says life without parole sentences are necessary to ensure society is protected.