Streams

Life Without Parole

Friday, August 03, 2012

Cells of the prison on Alcatraz Island, San Francisco Bay. (Marine Perez/Wikipedia Commons)

Charles Ogletree, professor and executive director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School and co-editor of Life Without Parole: America's New Death Penalty?, examines the social, political, cultural, and legal meanings of lifelong imprisonment.

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Charles Ogletree
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Comments [6]

Ed from New Jersey

Professor Ogletree is not addressing the issue of how to punish and protect the public from from those who commit the most horrific crimes. For example serial killers (John Wayne Gacy), mass murders (Anders Breivik and James Holmes)or contract killers. Examine Norway that does not have either life without parole or the death penalty, as a result Anders Breivik after killing 92 people will be released from jail in 25 years. Does anyone really feel that such a person will be reformed and ready to return to society? Do you want the same for the United States?

Aug. 03 2012 11:40 AM
john from office

First the death penalty was too harsh, so advocates called for life in prison as more humane. Now, that is being attacked as inhumane. Sounds to me like a plan.

This is a tough issue either way, with the recent cases whee people are found innnocent after trials. This is a tough issue.

Aug. 03 2012 10:56 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

It's why I believe in the death penalty, though not to be administered immediately unless the prisoner claims he (or she) is innocent. In that case I'd keep them on death row for 5 years to give a reasonable opportunity for new evidence that might exonerate the accused. Otherwise, putting them to death makes the most sense. It is more cruel to keep a person incarcerated for decade after decade, and certainly wildly more expensive for society.

The possibly that a murderer might change in the future pales into insignificance faced with the fact that the person he or she murdered cannot come alive again.

Aug. 03 2012 10:54 AM
RBC from NYC

Its good that these convicts that commit horrific crimes be incarcerated for long periods of time. But it also must be understood that prisons are a big business. Many prisons around the country have become privatized - and these corrections corporations are traded on the stock market. In order for these corporations to be profitable, they need long term prisoners. Therefore these companies lobby state legislatures to pass harsher sentences.

Aug. 03 2012 10:54 AM
names from nyc

yeah, but after 30-40 years in prison (even far less) they are so accustomed to the violenece in the prison life - they are probably MORE dangerous than they were in their youth.
The prison system must be updated in order to allow this to be over turned

Aug. 03 2012 10:52 AM

Professor Ogletree is a hero of mine, thank you for having him on today. His work on behalf of Anita Hill in 1992 was superhero-worthy and few people know what he, and others, did on Professor Hill's behalf.

Aug. 03 2012 10:51 AM

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