ACLU Report: More Than 3,200 Serving Life Without Parole for Nonviolent Offenses in American Prisons

A new report by the ACLU finds that over 3,200 people in the U.S. are serving life sentences in prison without parole for nonviolent offenses.

Racial Disparities

The report highlights very pronounced racial disparities among that part of the incarcerated population.

A modern prison cell at the Brecksville Police Department, Brecksville, Ohio. Image by Andrew Bardwell. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cela.jpg
A modern prison cell at the Brecksville Police Department, Brecksville, Ohio. Image by Andrew Bardwell. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cela.jpg

Blacks were three times as likely than whites (65 percent vs. 18 percent) to serve life in prison without parole for nonviolent offenses, while Latinos were slightly less likely than whites (16 percent).

Harsh sentences in the Deep South

Overall, the states accounting for the most life sentences for nonviolent offences lie in the Deep South. States like Louisiana, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, or South Carolina are notable outliers.

Costs, moral and financial

Notwithstanding the human cost and the pressing questions about the morality of such legal designs, the report notes that American taxpayers are paying $1.8 billion to keep these nonviolent offenders in prison.

Read and see more:

More Than 3,200 Serving Life Without Parole for Nonviolent Offenses, Finds ACLU.” (ACLU, 2013/11/13)

[Video] “Shocking ACLU Report On Life Without Parole Sentences For Nonviolent Crimes.” The Young Turks, 2013/11/14)

 

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