New York Times: Life behind bars often means death

Of the 132,000 people serving life sentences in U.S. prisons, 1 percent are Native American, The New York Times reports.

The paper surveyed all 50 states and found that almost 10 percent of the prison population is serving a life sentence. This is double the rate in the last decade, the paper said. Of the 40 states where data is available, nearly two-thirds saw their lifer population increase by 50 percent or more over the past decade.

But a "life" sentence didn't always mean life. In the past, lifers had a shot at parole but due to tougher laws, political pressure and other causes, they are staying behind bars for longer periods, leading to overcrowding, the paper reports.

Get the Story:
To More Inmates, Life Term Means Dying Behind Bars (The New York Times 10/2)
Locked Away Forever After Crimes as Teenagers (The New York Times 10/3)

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Interim Indian Country jail report released (7/2)
Overcrowding in Indian Country jails the norm (12/02)
Indian Country jails see record growth (09/05)
Indian Country jails see increased numbers (8/13)
Behind Bars: Native incarceration rates increase (7/13)