African Americans populate prisons in the country more than any other ethnic group, and according to a recent report released by the Sentencing Project, the number of inmates serving life sentences is on the rise.

From The Huffington Post:

Last year, 159,520 people were serving life sentences in American prisons, according to figures the Sentencing Project collected from state corrections departments. The total is a 12 percent increase from 2008, the report says. The number of individuals serving life without parole has increased even more dramatically, from 40,174 in 2008 to 49,081 in 2012 — a 22 percent rise, according to the report.

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Most of those serving life sentences were convicted of homicide or sexual assault, but the use of life sentences has extended to include a broader range of offenses such as property and drug crimes.

Idaho has the highest number of inmates serving life sentences who have not been convicted of homicide in the country. That’s more than half of the state’s “lifers.”

Thoughts on the report’s findings?

Should inmates who did not commit murder be sentenced to life?

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