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When a prison sentence becomes a death sentence
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of NPR


NPR, April 27, 2023
Posted: May 28th, 2023
https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2023/04/27/1172320...

At least 6,182 people died in state and federal prisons in 2020, a 46% jump from the previous year, according to data recently released by researchers from the UCLA Law Behind Bars Data Project. "During the pandemic, a lot of prison sentences became death sentences," says Wanda Bertram, a spokesperson for the Prison Policy Initiative. A Senate report last year found the U.S. Department of Justice failed to identify more than 900 deaths in prisons and local jails in fiscal year 2021. The report said the DOJ's poor data collection and reporting undermined transparency and congressional oversight of deaths in custody. A major reason the U.S. trails other developed countries in life expectancy is because it has more people behind bars and keeps them there far longer, says Chris Wildeman, a Duke University sociology professor who has researched the link between criminal justice and life expectancy. "It's a health strain on the population," Wildeman says. "The worse the prison conditions, the more likely it is incarceration can be tied to excess mortality." Over a 40-year span starting in the 1980s, the number of people in the nation's prisons and jails more than quadrupled, fueled by tough-on-crime policies and the war on drugs. The federal government can't definitively say how many people have died in prisons and jails since the covid-19 pandemic began, researchers say. "Without data, we are operating in the dark," says Andrea Armstrong, a professor ... who has testified before Congress on the issue.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on prison system corruption from reliable major media sources.


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