There Is Talk of Prison Reform, But for the 150,000 People in Jail for Life, There Is No Reform on the Horizon
July 15, 2016

“Almost 160,000 prisoners are currently serving life sentences in the United States; nearly 50,000 incarcerated people serving terms of life without parole. While mass incarceration has become a frequent national talking point across the board, with even previous tough-on-crime hardliners acknowledging the devastating consequences of overincarceration, “lifers” are often left out of the conversation. This omission—as with so many issues of advocacy, justice and picking battles—is based on a certain perceived practicality. Within the context of the already hard-fought movement for prison reform, it’s easier to gain support for those whose sentences are not associated in the public mind with the most egregious crimes. The fear is that expanding the reform vision to include lifers—particularly those charged with violent crimes—may turn people off and potentially erode strides made in recent years.”

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