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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 114882 Find in a Library
Title: Longtermers
Journal: Angolite  Volume:13  Issue:3  Dated:(May-June 1988)  Pages:19-58
Author(s): R Wikberg
Date Published: 1988
Page Count: 40
Type: Best Practice/State-of-the-Art Review
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Every prison has longtermers, usually those serving life sentences, who remain in prison many years awaiting their freedom while others with similar offenses and sentences are seemingly routinely released.
Abstract: Possible reasons contributing to this situation include lack of money, misconduct during confinement, lack of zeal in pursuing release, legal strategies pursued during the trial, and lack of legal assistance following incarceration. Other factors that may play a role include strong community and/or victim opposition to release, particularly from the law enforcement community; the perceived heinousness of the offense or aggravating circumstances; sentencing laws, and public attitudes toward crime and punishment in general. In Louisiana, numerous examples of longtermers continuing to be confined for such reasons can be found, although numerous studies have shown that recidivism rates among life-termers (generally first-degree murderers) are lower than for other offender subgroups. Further, the prospect of such offenders in Louisiana, is complicated in that they cannot be released until their sentences are personally addressed by the Governor. In Louisiana the lack of a rational release philosophy has led to dramatic increases in the number of of longtermers and elderly inmates, that have contributed to increased prison costs and overcrowding and raised questions about the fairness and equity of the administration of justice. Profiles of 31 longtermers are included. Photographs, 1 table, and supplemental information.
Main Term(s): Long-term imprisonment
Index Term(s): Life sentences; Louisiana; Sentence review; Sentencing disparity
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