When you hear that a person is sent to jail, you expect that they have committed a crime that deserves jail time. But, unfortunately, many Americans are sent to jail for committing nonviolent crimes.
According to a recent news article, a report from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) revealed that in 2012 more than 3,000 Americans were serving life sentences in prison without parole for nonviolent crimes.
These crimes include siphoning gas, stealing bagged lunches, drug possession, and shoplifting. These petty crimes sometimes do not even deserve a criminal conviction, much less serious jail time.
Around 79% of those nonviolent life sentences without parole are for drug related crimes, and around 20% are for property crimes. Mississippi alone incarcerated 93 individuals for non-violent crimes.
According to the report, some of the most obscure offenses that resulted in a lifetime of imprisonment include shoplifting from a Walmart, possessing stolen wrenches, and shoplifting belts from a department store.
The people who committed these petty criminal offenses do not deserve a lifetime in jail. Although the ACLU is encouraging state and the federal government to revise sentencing laws that require life in prison, more needs to be done right now.
As criminal defense attorneys, we are committed to fighting for the rights of citizens who have been criminally charged and may face these types of consequences. We know that a criminal charge for something like shoplifting or drug possession is scary enough without the prospect of spending a lifetime in jail.
If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Mississippi or Tennessee, don’t let that fear take over or assume that you are guilty just because you have been charged. As this report indicates, the consequences of a criminal charge can be severe and you may not deserve to suffer them.
Arming yourself with a defense team that will fight for your rights through the entire legal process of a criminal charge can make all the difference. At Stroud, Flechas & Dalton, we will work tirelessly on your case to achieve the best possible outcome.
Photo Credit: Flickr contributor, miss_millions