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Unlocking Justice: The Historic Rise in Life Sentences in America

December 11, 2013
This webinar provided an overview of The Sentencing Project's report, Life Goes On: The Historic Rise in Life Sentences in America, documenting the rise in life sentences over the last 20 years despite declining crime rates.

While serious crime rates in the U.S. have been declining for the last 20 years, the number of prisoners serving life sentences has more than quadrupled since 1984. As documented in The Sentencing Project’s report, Life Goes On: The Historic Rise in Life Sentences in America, by senior research analyst Ashley Nellis, over 159,000 people were serving life sentences in 2012, with nearly 50,000 serving life without parole.

In this webinar, Dr. Nellis presented key findings from the report, including:

  • One of every nine individuals in prison is serving a life sentence.
  • Approximately 10,000 lifers have been convicted of nonviolent offenses.
  • Nearly half of lifers are African American and 1 in 6 are Latino.

The webinar slides are available here, and a video recording can be viewed here.

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