In recent years, life without parole sentences have become increasingly common in the United States. According to a recent article published by the Tennessee Bar Association, this shift can be attributed to several factors, including public attitudes toward crime and punishment, ethical considerations, and scientific research. However, the article highlights the fact that many people do not fully understand the implications of imposing such sentences and the varying opinions surrounding them.
The TN legislature enacted a guideline that would require everyone convicted of a felony crime to serve 80-100% of their sentence with no parole. This increases sentencing guidelines for many crimes and has received Continue reading for more information.
Life Without Parole
According to a recent article published by the Tennessee Bar Association, life without parole sentences have become increasingly common in the United States. However, the article highlights the fact that many people do not fully understand the implications of these sentences and how they differ from traditional life sentences.
First and foremost, it is important to understand that a life without parole sentence means exactly what it sounds like – the defendant will spend the rest of their life in prison with no possibility of parole. In contrast, a traditional life sentence may allow for the possibility of parole after a certain number of years have been served.
Perceived Benefits and Actual Risks
While life without parole sentences are often viewed as a harsher punishment than traditional life sentences, they have some benefits. Specifically, they remove the uncertainty and inefficiency of the parole process. With a life without parole sentence, the defendant knows exactly what their future holds and the victim's family does not have to continuously worry that the perpetrator will be released.
Another one of the primary arguments made in favor of life without parole is that it provides certainty and closure for victims' families. Unlike traditional life sentences, which allow for the possibility of parole after a certain number of years, life without parole ensures that the perpetrator will never be released. This can bring a sense of justice to victims' families and provide them with some measure of comfort knowing that the offender will never pose a threat to society again.
However, there are also some potential downsides to life without parole sentences. For one, they can be incredibly expensive. Keeping someone in prison for the rest of their life requires a significant amount of resources and money from the state. Additionally, life without parole sentences can be seen as a "one size fits all" solution that does not consider the unique circumstances of each case.
There is also the fact that life without parole is a relatively new concept in the United States. While it has been used for several decades in some states, many others still do not have life without parole as a sentencing option. This lack of consistency can lead to confusion and frustration for both defendants and victims.
In the end, life without parole sentences are a controversial topic with both pros and cons. While they may provide closure and certainty for some victims' families, they also raise questions about the cost and effectiveness of our criminal justice system. As always, it is up to lawmakers and legal professionals to carefully consider the issues and make decisions that prioritize justice and fairness for all.
Eldridge & Blakney, PC has extensive experience handling a variety of criminal cases in and outside of the courtroom. Contact our firm today.