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Why a jail or prison sentence is increasingly like a death sentence

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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: chronically and terminally ill behind bars; death sentence; prisons; sentencing

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: School of Criminal Justice,College of Public Affairs, University of Baltimore, Baltimore,MD,21201, USA

Publication date: 2012-09-01

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