Life Without Parole for Marijuana

Nov 15, 2013 Kate Zawidzki

ACLU, Anthony Kelly, nonviolent, parole, prison, sentencing

[caption id="attachment_7073" align="alignright" width="141"]Anthony Kelly Anthony Kelly, sentenced to life without parole, with his mother[/caption]

Many recent victories towards ending marijuana prohibition give hope that our justice system will stop incarcerating nonviolent adults who choose to use a substance safer than alcohol. However, even though there are now fewer people serving long prison terms for marijuana, our justice system still permits these sentences, and there are many being victimized by these harsh policies across the country.

The ACLU recently released a report called “A Living Death: Life without Parole for Nonviolent Offenses,” including stories of people who have been sentenced to serve life sentences without parole for non-violent marijuana offenses. States are able to pursue a sentence of life without parole if a person has multiple offenses on his or her record, even if those are also nonviolent. As a result, nonviolent, productive members of society are locked away for their entire lives for being associated with a substance that is safer than alcohol.

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