DOC Won't Say How Many Nevadans are Serving a "Living Death" for Nonviolent Offenses

Affiliate: ACLU of Nevada
November 13, 2013 12:00 am

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ACLU of Nevada
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LAS VEGAS, NV – In the first-ever study of people serving life without parole for nonviolent offenses in the United States, the ACLU 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% were convicted of nonviolent, drug-related crimes such as possession or distribution; 20% of nonviolent property crimes like theft.

“The crimes triggering these extreme sentences are not always serious, violent crimes. For example, in Nevada, a person facing a fourth felony conviction of any kind-nonviolent or otherwise-may be sentenced to die in prison,” said Vanessa Spinazola, Legislative and Advocacy Director for the ACLU of Nevada.

“In this ‘disposable society’ we’ve created, we must reconsider the way we deal with individuals serving life sentences for non-violent crimes. Rehabilitation should be our first priority in these instances, not throwing away lives by throwing away the key,” said Tod Story, Executive Director of the ACLU of Nevada.

The ACLU of Nevada’s complete press release is attached (PDF) and available at:

The report is available at:<

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