Why a Jail or Prison Sentence is Increasingly Like a Death Sentence
Contemporary Justice Review, Vol. 15, No. 3, January 2012, pp. 309-322.
Posted: 24 Apr 2014 Last revised: 28 Apr 2014
Date Written: January 1, 2012
Because of current conditions inside American jails and prisons, a sentence to a correctional facility routinely compromises the health, safety, and life of inmates. Four environmental factors can make a jail and prison sentence appear like a death sentence: poor health care, unsanitary living conditions, high levels of violence, and an increased number of people with chronic diseases living in close proximity. Thus, a de facto death penalty, the most controversial sanction of the criminal justice system, is the result for some inmates, and a misapplication of the criminal law is thus achieved. In order to present this argument, the author reviews research which increases the likelihood that a person will die behind bars.
Keywords: sentencing; death sentence; prisons; chronically and terminally ill behind bars; jails; penitentiaries; correctional facilities
JEL Classification: D73, J18, K14, K19, K32, K49
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