More than two-thirds of the people serving life without parole in state and federal prisons are minorities, and three-fourths of the juveniles locked away for life are minorities, most of them black, according to a study released Wednesday by The Sentencing Project based in Washington, D.C.
The numbers reflect startling disparities in America’s justice and prison systems, the report’s authors said. They hope extensive research presented in “No Exit: The Expanding Use of Life Sentences in America” will help lead to change.
“We know that because there is a disparate representation of blacks in the prison population, they are also disproportionately represented among those receiving life sentences and life sentences without the possibility of parole,” said Ashley Nellis, one of the authors of “No Exit.”
Blacks comprise 12 percent of the general population in America, but represent 28 percent of total arrests and 38 percent of persons convicted of a felony in a state court and in state prison, the report stated.