By Kevin Johnson and USA Today
A record 140,610 inmates in state and federal prisons are serving life sentences and nearly one-third of those have no possibility of parole, according to a criminal justice research group that supports alternatives to incarceration.
The Sentencing Project, whose reports are regularly cited in academic and government reviews examining criminal justice policy, concluded that the number of inmates sentenced to life without parole has more than tripled to 41,095 since 1992. The report, citing in part the rising cost of incarceration, urges that life without parole be abolished.
The recommendation was met with strong opposition from some law enforcement officials who said life sentences, including life without parole, help drive down violent crime.
Joseph Cassilly, past president of the National District Attorneys Association, acknowledged that long prison terms are a “huge drain on resources.”
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