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)

 

DOJ Spied On Associated Press’s Telephone Records To Track Down Whistleblowers

DOJ Spied On Associated Press’s Telephone Records To Track Down Whistleblowers

Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department secretly obtained two months worth of telephone records of the Associated Press, reports the Associated Press.

The AP calls the DOJ’s action an “unprecedented intrusion.”

Here is what news agency Reuters reported.

According to the Guardian, the Obama administration wanted to find out the source of an “alleged Yemen terrorist plot story.”

Here is a report by Think Progress on the background of the DOJ’s action. According to them, the AP’s reporting on a foiled terrorist plot in Yemen “put AQAP [Al-Quida in the Arabic Peninsula] on notice that the CIA had a window into their activities.”

Here is the ACLU’s statement on the matter.

Ben Wizner, director of the ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project said the following:

Obtaining a broad range of telephone records in order to ferret out a government leaker is an unacceptable abuse of power. Freedom of the press is a pillar of our democracy, and that freedom often depends on confidential communications between reporters and their sources.

Read more:

The Law Behind the A.P. Phone-Record Scandal.” (Lynn Oberlander, New Yorker, 2013/05/14)

Outrage Grows Over Justice Department Seizure of Associated Press Phone Records.” (Greg Mitchell, The Nation via Alternet, 2013/05/14)