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Vox: New Zealand may impose impose a life without parole sentence for first time

April 10, 2019
Vox's German Lopez highlights how life sentences are a rarity outside of the United States criminal justice system.

The longest prison sentence without parole in New Zealand’s history was 30 years, but following the mass shooting at mosques in Christchurch, the country may impose a life without parole (LWOP) sentence for the first time in its history, reports Vox’s German Lopez.

In most developed countries, the lengthiest prison sentences tend to fall within 20 to 30 years. By contrast, the United States regularly sentences people to LWOP and accounts for 40 percent of the world’s total life sentences.

While the US often hands down harsh punishments, there is no evidence that they increase public safety. Citing The Meaning of Life by Marc Mauer and Ashley Nellis of The Sentencing Project, Lopez notes that life sentences are unnecessary as people tend to age out of crime. “In their mid-to late teens and early 20s, people are much, much likelier to commit a crime than they are in their 30s and especially 40s and on,” says Lopez.

Read German Lopez’s full article here.

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