Novemebr 18, 4013
Taken from a Press Release from the ACLU: “In the first-ever study of people serving life without parole for nonviolent offenses in the United States, the American Civil Liberties Union found that at least 3,278 prisoners fit this category in federal and state prisons combined.”
“A Living Death: Life Without Parole for Nonviolent Offenses” features key statistics about these prisoners, an analysis of the laws that produced their sentences, and case studies of 110 men and women serving these sentences. Of the 3,278 prisoners, 79 percent were convicted of nonviolent, drug-related crimes such as possession or distribution, and 20 percent of nonviolent property crimes like theft.
The report goes on to state that the number of offenders sentence to life without parole has quadrupled over the last twenty years, with 65% African-American.
There are now important forces at work to reform this anomaly. Senators Rand Paul and Patrick Leahy, Attorney General Eric Holder and other influential policy makers are coming out for the reduction and /or elimination of the mandatory minimum laws that make these outrageous sentences possible. It’s important to remember the 3000+ offenders presently serving life terms, when we reform the mandatory minimum laws.