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The New Yorker: The Meaning of Life Without Parole

Clint Smith '10Clint Smith '10 questions whether the United States can move toward meaningful decarceration without addressing inmates who've been sentenced to life without parole for crimes they committed as children or young adults. He writes:

"This is becoming increasingly relevant because, at present, about ten per cent of incarcerated people are fifty-five or older, and by 2030, according to a report by the A.C.L.U., that percentage will grow to a third of our prison population. This demographic's average likelihood of committing another crime is ever-diminishing...

"Is someone who committed a crime at twenty-five the same person he or she is at sixty-five? We must ask ourselves these questions because mass incarceration is not merely the result of putting away too many people for nonviolent drug offenses; it is the result of putting people who committed violent offenses away for longer than is necessary to promote public safety."

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