Marc Maurer, the Executive Director of the Sentencing Project announced a new article, Tinkering with Life: A Look at the Inappropriateness of Life Without Parole as an Alternative to the Death Penalty, by Dr. Ashley Nellis, that organization’s senior research analyst.
According to the Sentencing Project there are 41,000 individuals serving life without parole in America, a 300% increase over the past 20 years. In announcing the article, which appears in the University of Miami Law Review, Mauer writes, “The article describes commonalities between death sentences and parole-ineligible life sentences including:
The terminal nature of both sentences that necessitates death in prison.
The extreme racial disparities among those who receive either of these sentences.
Nellis claims that life without parole sentences are problematic due to:
The mandatory nature with which they can be imposed;
The lack of heightened legal review required for life without parole cases in comparison to death sentences.
Mauer reports that Dr. Nellis “encourages careful consideration in promoting life without parole as an alternative to the death penalty, arguing that neither of these sentences allows for the possibility of reform or redemption.”