Friday, September 23, 2011

Life Doesn’t Mean Life in California

Inmates serving life with the possibility of parole in California, mostly convicted murderers, spend an average of 20 years in prison and almost never commit new crimes after being released, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
A report by the Stanford Criminal Justice Center at the university's law school, issued last week, also found that the state Board of Parole Hearings has become increasingly willing to set release dates for "lifers" in the last few years. But those dates have often been vetoed by the governor, under a voter-approved law that has parallels in only three other states, the report said.
Release rates are likely to increase, however, under Governor Jerry Brown. Through April, Brown had overruled fewer than 20 percent of the parole dates approved by the board, which is composed mostly of former law enforcement officers and prison officials. The comparable veto rates were 70 percent for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and 98 percent for Governor Gray Davis.
Life in Pennsylvania means life.  An offender sentenced to life in prison after a conviction of first or second degree murder is not eligible for parole in Pennsylvania.

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