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Ashley Nellis will present a paper at the American Society of Criminology Annual Meeting examining states’ increasing reliance on decades-long incapacitation, sometimes lasting to the end of life, as a favored public safety tool for serious offenders. This paper updates calculations from 2012 on the prevalence of life sentences (both with parole and without parole) around the country, and incorporates a first-ever comprehensive estimate of “virtual life sentences” to measure the use of sentences amounting to 50 years or more. The paper concludes with recommendations for scaling back the overuse of life and virtual life sentences in the U.S.