More than 5,000 prisoners, 11 percent of the population, are serving either parolable or non-parolable life. This aging population is generally very low risk and is becoming increasingly expensive to care for as health problems increase. Although they became eligible for release after serving 10 years, hundreds of lifers who were caught by changed parole policies have now served 25-35 years or longer. CAPPS has proposed several reforms to address the issues facing these lifers (see also: Special Populations for information on litigation regarding “juvenile life without parole”, or JLWOP).
These two charts show the important differences between the non-lifer and lifer parole processes and provide helpful background to CAPPS’s reform recommendations. (NOTE: For additional information, see CAPPS Consensus, especially Fall and Winter 2010.)