8 Shocking Facts From the ACLU’z Report on Life Without Parole | Moorbey’z Blog

Inmates are escorted by a guard through San Quentin state prison in San Quentin, Calif., on June 8, 2012.

Lucy Nicholson / REUTERS

Inmates are escorted by a guard through San  Quentin state prison in San Quentin, Calif., on June 8,  2012.

A sentence of life in prison without the possibility parole seems like it  would be a punishment reserved only for the most heinous criminals, those deemed  unfit for reintroduction into society. That’s not always the case, according to  a new report from the American Civil Liberties Union, which advocates for more  lenient sentencing.

The cases documented in A Living Death are not necessarily typical, and  many are the result of mandatory minimum sentencing laws, not the  discretion of a judge or jury. But some of the stories of the 3,278  people the ACLU counts serving life without parole in federal prisons and the  nine states that provided them with data are nonetheless shocking.

The number of U.S. prisoners who received life sentences  without parole quadrupled between 1992 and 2012.

More than 18 percent of nonviolent offenders serving life  without parole in the federal system are in for their first offense.

Lance Saltzman, of Florida, removed a gun from his home that  belonged to an abusive stepfather who had used the weapon to threaten his mother  repeatedly, he said. He was convicted of armed burglary and, due to a previous  burglary conviction when he was 16, sentenced to mandatory life without  parole.

In the state of Illinois, a black person is 33.25 times more  likely than a white person to be sentenced to life without parole for a  non-violent crime.

Clarence Aaron, a college student with no prior criminal  record, was given three life-without-parole sentences for his minor role in two  planned large drug deals, one of which never took place. He received longer  sentences than his co-conspirators and has spent the past 20 years in  prison.

Black prisoners comprise 91.4 percent of the non-violent  life-without-parole population in the state of Louisiana.

Vincent Winslow was homeless when he acted as a  go-between in the sale of two $10 bags of marijuana to an undercover cop. The  seller was not arrested. Based on decade old drug possession conviction and  unarmed burglaries committed 14 and 24 years earlier, Winslow was sentenced to  life without parole.

The crimes for which people have been sentenced to life  without parole (when combined with prior convictions) include stealing: small  change from a parked car, a pair of socks, nine children’s videotapes, a pair of  work gloves from a department store, a leaf blower, three golf clubs, chocolate  chip cookies and a slice of pizza.

Read the full report here.

8 Shocking Facts From the ACLU’z Report on Life Without Parole | Moorbey’z Blog.


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