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A 17-year-old high school student has been sentenced to 11 years in federal prison for using social media accounts to assist supporters of the Islamic State. U.S. officials have declared the militant group, also referred to as ISIL or ISIS, a terrorist organization.

Ali Shukri Amin admitted to using his Twitter account to provide advice on how to travel to Syria to join ISIL and how to use Bitcoin to funnel money to the group.

Aurora, Colorado shooter James Holmes was recently sentenced to over 3,000 years in prison on top of 12 life terms. That could sound lenient (he did avoid the death penalty) or needlessly excessive (he'll never serve that many years). But his is only the fourth-longest prison sentence in United States history.

Who's gotten a longer prison sentence? Here are the top five:

Potential uses for risk assessment tools can sound like something out of Tom Cruise's "Minority Report": the tools can potentially punish people based on crimes they may commit in the future. But using risk assessments to aid in sentencing isn't quite as extreme as arresting people based on the predictions of three psychic children.

So how do risk assessments work, and how are they used in criminal sentencing?

Hate crimes gained national attention following the church shootings by Dylan Roof, which left nine people killed in a Charleston, South Carolina. From statements he made, we know that the attack was racially motivated.

In most states, Roof would be charged with a hate crime. However, South Carolina is one of the few states to not have a hate crime law. The Department of Justice is investigating the shooting as a hate crime, but has not announced yet whether or not they'll charge Roof with a hate crime under federal law.

When criminals such as Roof are charged with hate crimes, what penalties could they face?

What Are Good Time Credits?

For all but the worst offenders, most convicted prisoners don't spend their whole sentence in prison. Many are released early because of good time credits for good behavior or for working.

What are good time credits?

Although a jury handed down the death penalty last month, a judge formally sentenced Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death today for his role in the Boston Marathon bombing that killed three and injured hundreds more.

While the sentencing in some ways felt like a mere formality, it was noteworthy for those who spoke during the nearly four hour hearing. Two dozen survivors and family members of the victims were allowed to give victim impact statements, and Tsarnaev himself addressed the court and the victims for the first time.

Nebraska became the 18th state to ban capital punishment, overcoming a veto by Governor Pete Ricketts. Known as a conservative state with a Republican governor who lobbied against the ban, the legislature voted 30-to-19 to repeal the state's death penalty law.

Nebraska hadn't executed a prisoner since 1997, and was one of many states having trouble procuring lethal injection drugs. It's the first time in 40 years that a Republican-controlled state has abolished the death penalty.

Even though Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was sentenced to death last week, it could be another decade before he is executed. Tsarnaev was convicted in federal court, and the last federal execution took place in 2003.

There are a number of factors that contribute to the average time spent on death row, without taking into account the 152 exonerations of prisoners on death row since 1973. So how long will Tsarnaev's wait be?

The Boston Marathon bomber was sentenced to death last week, and much was made of his reaction (or lack thereof) to the verdict:

That was one of many reactions to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's demeanor during and after the verdict. Which makes you wonder what people were expecting to see. Did they want to see him show remorse? And when does showing remorse matter, legally speaking?

Even the hardest, most jaded juvenile offender looks out of place in a jail. Juveniles are children. Their minds don't mature properly until their early twenties. So, why do we put children in jail? An Arkansas study found that youths who were previously incarcerated for a crime were 13.5 times more likely to commit another crime.

A better method of dealing with young offenders is juvenile probation. According to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 61% of cases involving delinquent youths were granted probation instead of detention.

Here is what you need to know about juvenile probation: