Sentencing Project Examines Life Sentences
A new report (pdf) by the Sentencing Project (summarized here) reveals a shocking rise in the number of inmates serving life sentences -- an increase that wasn't justified by rising crime rates, or by any other justification beyond the "get tough on crime" mindset that has gripped politicians for more than two decades.
The number of convicted felons serving some kind of life sentence has rocketed to 127,000 nationwide -- an 83 percent jump since 1992. More than a quarter of them are ineligible for parole.
The explosion in life sentences stems in part from three-strikes laws and their variants.
In California, almost 60 percent of the lifers in a three-strikes conviction are serving the time for a nonviolent offense.
Imposing life sentences on nonviolent offenders is a waste of society's resources, including the inmate's life.
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