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.