Most western democracies have few or no people serving life sentences, yet here in the United States, over 200,000 people are serving life in prison. In The Sentencing Project’s new book, The Meaning of Life: The Casefor Abolishing Life Sentences,Executive Director Marc Mauer and Senior Research Analyst Ashley Nellis, highlight the expansion of life sentences in America and argue that such extreme punishments are in fact counterproductive for public safety. The book also features profiles of people affected by life sentences, which were written by Kerry Myers, who is a formerly incarcerated “lifer” and Deputy Executive Director of the Louisiana Parole Project.
In this webinar, Mauer and Nellis discuss the book and impact of life sentences in the U.S. They are joined in conversation with Myers and Sam Lewis, Director of Inside Programs at the Anti-Recidivism Coalition in California, whose story was profiled in The Meaning of Life.
African Americans are incarcerated in state prisons across the country at more than five times the rate of whites, and at least ten times the rate in five states. This report documents the rates of incarceration for whites, African Americans, and Hispanics in each state, identifies three contributors to racial and ethnic disparities in imprisonment, and provides recommendations for reform.
Justice organizations urge the Mayor and the Council of the District of Columbia to pass Bill 4-0338, the Redefinition of Child Amendment Act of 2021 as a necessary, common sense approach to juvenile justice reform that will create better outcomes for youth and communities, will treat children as children, and will make significant steps forward in advancing racial equity.