Re-printed from “The Michigan Lifers Report, Dec. 2018
This ground-breaking book by Marc Mauer and Ashley Nellis of the Sentencing Project (TSP) was released in December, 2018. They argue that there is no practical or moral justification for a sentence longer than 20 years. Shorter sentences are why most Western democracies have fewer or no people serving life sentences. Yet, in the U.S., over 200,000 people have received such sentences that are much longer than 20 years.
Also, these long sentences have little effect on crime rates, since people “age out” of crime. So a fortune is being spent on geriatric care for older prisoners who, if released, pose little threat to public safety. And by 2030, people over 50 will make up one-third of the U.S. prison population.
Furthermore, these life terms have an indirect effect, especially for the young. For example, incredibly, 13 states have no minimum age for prosecution in adult courts. (AK, DE, FL, HI, ID, ME, MD, MI, PA, RI, SC, TN, AND WV.)
Finally, this important book features six portraits of lifers by Kerry Myers. One of these is Willis X. Harris, who was found innocent after serving over 23 years in the Michigan prison system. Tragically, these wrongful convictions have stolen at least 20,000 years from innocent defendants like Harris. (Willis X. Harris is the publisher of the Michigan Lifers Report, a print newsletter that has been circulated in the prisons for decades, and President of the Michigan Lifers Association, Inc.)
The book is available for $25.99 from The NewPress, 120 Wall Street, 31st Floor, New York, N.Y. 10005. (212) 629-8802. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This book is very timely because there were many new governors and legislators elected to begin in early 2019.
Nicole Porter, Director of Advocacy for The Sentencing Project, is available now to assist with book events around the country. This will mobilize advocates, including families of those with life sentences, to bring the needed changes. Email email@example.com.
Recently, the lifers’ organization in Pennsylvania hosted the first ever legislative policy hearing about lifers. State legislators heard testimony from lifers and their loved ones, like Elizabeth Geyer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. [Pennsylvania State Senator Sharif Street introduced legislation last year to ban life without parole sentences, or “death by incarceration” as his broad group of supporters calls it.]
Participate in C.U.R.E.’s GET OUT LIFERS FREE CONFERENCE CALL AT 1-515-739-1033, then give the access code 663535# on the first Sunday of the month at 5 pm to 6 pm (EST) which is 4 pm (CST), 3 pm (MST), and 2pm (PST).
Source; NATIONAL CURE NEWSLETTER, Charlie Sullivan, President. (202) 789-2126.
Contact The Michigan Lifers Association, Inc. c/o Willis X. Harris, The Michigan Lifers Association, Inc. 675 W. Willis St. Suite B-1, Detroit, MI 48201-1641. Phone: 313-442-3629.