Thousands jailed for life without parole for non-violent crimes

Kyla Herrmannsen

Photograph by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Photograph by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

 

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) recently published a report entitled ‘A Living Dead’, looking at life without parole for non-violent offenders. The report revealed that over 3000 people are currently serving life without parole in America for having committed a non-violent crime.

The crimes range from drug offences such as possessing a crack pipe, selling small amounts of LSD at a music concert, possessing 32 grams of marijuana with the intent to sell it to more petty crimes like shoplifting a jacket, attempting to cash a stolen cheque, stealing tools from a tool shed, breaking into a closed liquor store in to the middle of the night and making a drunken threat to a policeman while in the back of a police van. The United State of America has the highest incarceration rate in the world, with 2.3 million people currently behind bars. One case even detailed how a slice of stolen pizza has resulted in a lifetime behind bars.

This piece, featured in The Guardian, hints at solutions being posed by those critical of life without parole for non-violent crimes: “The ACLU concludes that it does not have to be this way – suitable alternatives are readily at hand, including shorter prison terms and the provision of drug treatment and mental health services. The organisation calls on Congress, the Obama administration and state legislatures to end the imposition of mandatory life without parole for non-violent offenders and to require re-sentencing hearings for all those already caught in this judicial black hole”.

Read more on thousands jailed for life without parole for non-violent crimes here:

23 Petty Crimes That Have Landed People in Prison for Life Without Parole

8 Shocking Facts From the ACLU’s Report on Life Without Parole

5 Senior Citizens Serving Life Without Parole for Pot

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About witsjusticeproject
The Wits Justice Project combines journalism, advocacy, law and education to make the criminal justice system work better for all.

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