Life Without Parole

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Hope, At Last, for Some Federal Prisoners

Hope, At Last, for Some Federal Prisoners

By Jennifer Turner, Human Rights Researcher, Human Rights Program, ACLU at 4:53pm
Here's some truth for you: many federal prisoners would receive substantially shorter sentences for the exact same crime if they were sentenced today under the current law. Many would have already served their time and paid their debt to society. Instead, because of outdated laws that are now recognized as unjust, they remain in prison at a cost of millions of taxpayer dollars each year.
Sisters in the sun

After 17 Years, I'm Bringing My Little Sister Home from Prison

By Wendy George, Sister of commuted life-without-parole prisoner, Stephanie George at 3:17pm

When we were little, we used to tell our mama she had good ears. My little sister and I would whisper under the covers in our bed after lights out, and somehow mom could always hear us. She'd tell us to quit talking and go to sleep.

Tomorrow…

It's Like You're Sold a Dream

It's Like You're Sold a Dream

By Lance White at 2:01pm

I lost my drive after my older brother Rufus was sentenced. I didn't care. I didn't trust. That was my attitude. Rufus was the father figure I looked up to. When he went to jail for the rest of his life, I started looking up to his buddies. A lot of…

Finally Headed Home

Finally Headed Home

By Jennifer Turner, Human Rights Researcher, Human Rights Program, ACLU at 7:46pm

Jason Hernandez says he is still shaking from the news that he will be released from prison in five years. Yesterday, his life without parole sentence was commuted to 20 years.

Before yesterday, President Obama had received over 8,700 commutation…

I Will Die Here, Unless President Obama Helps

I Will Die Here, Unless President Obama Helps

By Reynolds Wintersmith, Federal Life-Without-Parole Prisoner at 1:22pm

I joined a drug ring when I was 17 years old and, for just over a year, sold crack and powder cocaine in Rockford, Ill. I was arrested when I was 19 years old.

I am now 39 years old. I have spent over half of my life in federal prison. I have…

Extreme Sentencing – the "New Normal?"

Extreme Sentencing – the "New Normal?"

By Vanita Gupta, Center for Justice & Chloe Cockburn, Advocacy and Policy Counsel, ACLU at 1:33pm

It should outrage us that a homeless man will be in prison for the rest of his life because he was the middleman in the sale of $10 worth of marijuana. We can all pretty much agree that the punishment of growing old and dying behind bars for such offenses…

My Dad Will Never Come Home

My Dad Will Never Come Home

By April Anderson, Daughter of Dicky Joe Jackson at 1:23pm

Dad usually suggests we leave a little early because leaving is the 'elephant in the room' that we're all trying to avoid. "Ya'll go on and head home and get some rest. Don't worry about me, I'm fine." It's the same stuff every time.

My dad…

What a Waste

What a Waste

By Jennifer Turner, Human Rights Researcher, Human Rights Program, ACLU at 9:51am

It's time to abandon the mindset that our criminal justice system should only be about extreme, one-size-fits-all punishment – particularly when the skyrocketing number of these sentences being meted out is grossly out of proportion with crime rates, which are falling.

Gov. Jindal Signs Parole Reform in Louisiana

Gov. Jindal Signs Parole Reform in Louisiana

By Marjorie Esman, ACLU of Louisiana at 5:52pm

Louisiana's prison crisis has been much in the news recently. Just a few days ago I posted about the terrible conditions and what the ACLU is doing to help alleviate the overcrowding and over-sentencing.

In that post I mentioned an ACLU-sponsored…

States Take Sizeable Steps in 2012 to End Overincarceration

States Take Sizeable Steps in 2012 to End Overincarceration

By Inimai Chettiar, ACLU & Alex Stamm, ACLU Center for Justice at 3:48pm

As states begin to realize that they can reduce their prison populations safely, the pace of reform has begun to pick up a bit this year. State legislative sessions are coming to a close, which makes it a good time to review the actions lawmakers…

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