The American Civil Liberties Union published a report showing approximately 3,200 inmates are serving life without parole for non-violent offenses. The report was based on information provided by federal prisons and only nine state prison systems. The number of inmates in prison for life for petty crimes would be much higher if the other states were included in the review.
The crimes that resulted in life without parole included stealing tools from a shed, shoplifting two jerseys, siphoning gas from a truck, and other such horrific crimes. An example of this insanity was Teresa Griffin presently incarcerated Teresa Griffin, now 47, has served 21 years so far for being a drug mule for her abusive boyfriend. She was 26 and seven months pregnant when she was arrested. It was her first offense.
The ACLU report noted that a substantial number of the imprisoned individuals had mental health issues and were financially indigent at the time they committed their minor crimes. Almost two-thirds of the inmates incarcerated for life on nonviolent crimes are African Americans. Many of the inmates have drug addictions.
Mandatory sentencing and “Three Strike Laws” are two main reasons for the unjust sentences of individuals for petty crimes in the United States. This Orwellian environment has contributed to our dangerously overcrowded prisons.