The Champion

May 2006 , Page 4 

Search the Champion Looking for something specific?

Preview of Member Only Content

For full access: login or Become a Member Join Now

Shortsighted Sentencing

By Barbara Bergman

Read more President's Column columns.

Sentencing policies in the United States are in drastic need of reform for many reasons, but in this column I want to focus on the harshness of our sentencing policies and the need for innovative alternatives.

Many have complained about the draconian nature of our sentences. Few recognize, however, that almost 132,000 of those incarcerated in the United States are serving a life sentence.1 That means that one of every eleven inmates is now serving a life term. By 1997, the actual time served by those with life sentences had increased to 29 years.2 About a third of those prisoners between 1998 and 2001 were serving time for offenses other than murder — including burglary and drug offenses. Indeed, sixteen percent of people serving life were convicted of drug trafficking.3 The composition of the population serving life sentences has changed in large part because of the frequency of imposing life for drug offenses and the “three strikes” legislation in California and other states.4  

The h

Want to read more?

The Champion archive is reserved for NACDL members.

NACDL members, please login to read the rest of this article.
login

Not a member? Join now.
Join Now
Or click here to see an overview of NACDL Member benefits.

See what NACDL members say about us.

To read the current issue of The Champion in its entirety, click here.

  • Media inquiries: Contact NACDL's Director of Public Affairs & Communications Ivan J. Dominguez at 202-465-7662 or idominguez@nacdl.org
  • Academic Requests: Full articles of The Champion Magazine are available for academic and research purposes in the WestLaw and LexisNexis databases.

In This Section

Advertisement Advertise with Us
ad