The executive director and policy analyst of The Sentencing Project, which advocates for criminal justice reform, make an argument for eliminating life sentences, profiling six people directly affected by life sentences.
Marc Mauer and Ashley Nellis ... expose grave injustices in a broken system and advance the discussion by adding new insights addressing reform, not just for nonviolent drug offenders, but for all prisoners ... Roth [and] Mauer...expose the excessive nature of punishment in the criminal justice system and how this cripples the most vulnerable in the United States. Even more significant...[they] open a dialogue for including violent offenders in prison reform efforts ... The prisoner accounts...lay bare the consequences of a system that illogically sees value and futurity in locking up generations of people for life ... propose compelling policy and alternatives to prison, and...move an important discourse on prison reform forward in a time when both sides of the political aisle are poised to act ... thoroughly outlined and argued ... [this book]...add[s] to a discourse of prison reform that we should not be ready to forfeit.
Mauer and Nellis, who work to promote criminal justice reform, have crafted an impressive blend of statistical analysis and personal experiences to reveal the story of life sentencing in the U.S. While the figures are troubling and should set off alarms, it is the stories that invoke emotional responses ... It will likely not be surprising to see the manner in which race, class, and gender play roles in sentencing, with the harshly incarcerated female victims of domestic violence marking yet another realm of which the #MeToo movement must take notice. Finally, the degree of detail in this well-titled book makes it an excellent resource and of great value to those seeking a way to effect positive social change.
...this book is convincingly and meticulously researched while also balanced in its acknowledgement that the issue remains complex and highly controversial. Mauer and Nellis not only build a compelling argument for ending life imprisonment; they also provide strategic public-policy groundwork for enacting a maximum 20-year sentence ... Readers on both sides of the argument will surely find this book fodder for inspired debate and proactive discussion. A riveting, passionate case against lifetime incarceration and a plea for criminal justice reform.