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More Than 3,000 U.S. Prisoners Locked Up for Life Without Parole for Non-Violent Crimes

More Than 3,000 U.S. Prisoners Locked Up for Life Without Parole for Non-Violent Crimes

November 13, 2013 |

At about 12.40pm on 2 January 1996, Timothy Jackson took a jacket from the Maison Blanche department store in New Orleans, draped it over his arm, and walked out of the store without paying for it. When he was accosted by a security guard, Jackson said: “I just needed another jacket, man.”

A few months later Jackson was convicted of shoplifting and sent to Angola prison in Louisiana. That was 16 years ago. Today he is still incarcerated in Angola, and will stay there for the rest of his natural life having been condemned to die in jail. All for the theft of a jacket, worth $159.

Jackson, 53, is one of 3,281 prisoners in America serving life sentences with no chance of parole for non-violent crimes. Some, like him, were given the most extreme punishment short of execution for shoplifting; one was condemned to die in prison for siphoning petrol from a truck; another for stealing tools from a tool shed; yet another for attempting to cash a stolen cheque.


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Any Governors

who are of any merit should quickly look into these cases imo.

What the heck is this?

Heck even the Saudis remove a hand and no prison.


Same thing happened to some

Same thing happened to some guy in California a few years ago after he stole a slice of pizza from a kid walking on the beach. I recall that incident, or rather the penalty, being discussed here at the DP.

All these seemingly small crimes resulting in life imprisonment are probably the result of 3 strikes and you're out type laws.

Life in prison for many of these people, or most, is probably cruel and unusual punishment. Society really needs to figure out a better way to deal with people like this in order to enable proper restitution as well as reform so their crimes end.


prison industrial complex

wackenhut and correctional Corporation at your service putting lifers to work so the USA can compete with China, Pakistan, India, Veitnam, Cambodia, Mexico, Japan....

stealing is not a victim less

stealing is not a victim less crime. Thieves belong in jail. The world is better off without them roaming loose.

If it meant a thief spending his life behind bars,

I wouldn't report the jacket stolen. A justice system without proportional punishment offers little value for an honest man wanting protection from it.

Do you think that is the

Do you think that is the first thing he stole. He may steal every day to get cash for booze, drugs, or just to eat. He should get a job.

A government job?

Thievery is despicable but it doesn't detract from matching the punishment with the crime.

If it is his first offense,

If it is his first offense, cut him some slack. If he is a career criminal, lock him up and throw away the key.


but something feels wrong about it. To what extent should justice be about punishment and to what extent should it be about reconciliation.

For a DUI with no victim you

For a DUI with no victim you can be thrown in jail and your life is ruined or severely damaged.

I got pulled over for a close encounter passing a school bus with zero prior tickets in 20 years. The seat belt and passing school bus tickets cost me over $400.

Sentences do not fit the crimes in America and are unjust.


Tragic also when imagining how much different things could be with a liberty oriented leader

Government makes taxpayer pay big for jail-time

It lowers unemployment and creates jobs for bulls.

It's not restitution for the store it it robs the community.

The system is broken. Only federal reserve members get away with murder, theft and fraud.

Free includes debt-free!