Prisoner Advocates Turn To The UN To End Extreme Prison Sentences

The United States is an outlier for such excessive sentences. Of the 193 United Nations member states, 155 prohibit life-without-parole sentences. In Europe, only 10 countries permit sentences of life without parole; in Latin America, only four countries still mete out life without parole.

Now, US advocates are turning to the United Nations.

On September 15, seven organizations from around the country submitted a complaint to several UN special rapporteurs (human rights experts) charging that the United States’ extreme sentencing, including life without parole (LWOP), and other sentences that exceed life expectancy “effectively condemn individuals to death by incarceration (DBI), violate the prohibition against racial discrimination; violate individuals’ right to life; violate the prohibition against torture, and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment; and are an arbitrary deprivation of liberty.”

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