serious crime rates have been declining in the united states for the last 20 years, yet the number of prisoners serving life sentences has more than quadrupled since 1984. senior research analyst ashley nellis documents in her powerful new report, life goes on: the historic rise in life sentences in america, over 159,000 people were serving life sentences in 2012, with nearly 50,000 serving life without parole.
some of the key findings in her report include: one of every nine people in prison is serving a life sentence. approximately 10,000 lifers have been convicted of nonviolent offenses. nearly half of lifers are black and one in six are latino. more than 5,300 (3.4%) of the life-sentenced are female.
more than 10,000 life-sentenced people have been convicted of crimes which occurred before they turned 18 and nearly one in four of them were sentenced to life without parole. the population of prisoners serving life without parole has risen more sharply than those with the possibility of parole: there has been a 22.2% increase in life without parole since 2008.
the report recommends eliminating life without parole, increasing the use of executive clemency, preparing prisoners sentenced to life for release from prison and restoring the role of parole in prisoner release. these progressive initiatives are intended to promote public safety, reduce the high cost of mass incarceration and reshape our crime policies to facilitate rehabilitation.
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. firstname.lastname@example.org.