1 in 11 Serving Life in Prison

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1 in 11 Serving Life in Prison

Post  Yoke on Fri Aug 28, 2009 4:25 pm

A new report from the Sentencing Project examines the prevalence of life sentences in the United States, and manages to put a finger directly on one of the primary reasons our prisons are overflowing - often with people who don't need to be there.

The report finds that 140,610 people are serving life in the U.S. - nearly 10% of all state and federal prisoners.

And two-thirds of those prisoners are black or Latino.

In California, a bastion of three-strikes laws where an early-release proposal has met opposition, one in five prisoners are serving life.

In four other states - Alabama, Massachusetts, Nevada and New York - at least one in six prisoners are serving life.

In New York, only 16 percent of the lifers are white.

More than 40,000 people are serving life without parole in the U.S., and this population has grown four times faster than the parole-eligible population this decade.

The Sentencing Project opposes life without parole sentences.

“The expansion of life sentences suggests that we’re rapidly losing faith in the rehabilitation model,” Ashley Nellis, the report’s main author, told the New York Times.

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