"I Just Want to Give Back": The Reintegration of People Sentenced to Life Without Parole

Jun 28, 2023 | by
  • Description

In recent years, less than 4 percent of people sentenced to life without parole in California have been released due to changes in state law and executive power. At the time research began, there were only 143 people who fit this description. This report focuses on the historic release of these individuals and examines the positive contributions they have made with their second chances.

Using statistical data from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and qualitative data from a series of interviews conducted with individuals formerly sentenced to LWOP in the state of California, this report sheds light on the positive impact these people can have on society. Notably, the interviews were conducted with 110 out of the 143 individuals who had been released, representing approximately 77 percent of the total population. This comprehensive sample reinforces empirical research suggesting that LWOP sentences are unnecessary when it comes to promoting public safety. Moreover, it contends that LWOP sentences are counterproductive to public safety because they deprive communities of the unique and valuable contributions individuals with the sentence can make.