women behind bars: serving life without parole and death sentences
Over 6,600 women are serving a sentence of life without parole in America, according to a new report from The Sentencing Project
We go to The Sentencing Project for this week’s study, “In the Extreme Women Serving Life without Parole and Death-Sentences in the United States” by Ashley Nellis
One of every 15 women in prison — over 6,600 women — are serving a sentence of life without parole (LWOP).
Death sentences are permitted by 27 states and the federal government, and currently 52 women sit on death row.
One of every 39 Black women in prison is serving LWOP compared with one of every 59 imprisoned white women.
Latinx women comprise 6% of the total number of LWOP sentences being served by women.
Among the 52 women serving death sentences, 58% are white, 25% are Black, and 11% are Latinx
42% of women on death row are women of color
32 women serving LWOP sentences were under 18 at the time of their crime
From the Sentencing Project sample, 20% were under 25 at the time of the crime
16 states we find that Black women were on average 4.5 years younger at sentencing compared to white women.
The average current age of women serving LWOP is 52.
27% of people serving LWOP are at least 55 years old.
44% are currently at least 55 years old.
Approximately half of victims killed by women between 2000 and 2015 were family members or intimate partners.
Death sentences imposed on women reached their highest level to date in 1990 and have declined since.
A seminal study of 42 survivors of intimate partner abuse convicted of murder in California found that all but two had received life sentences
6 were sentenced to life without parole
The rest received life sentences with minimums that ranged from 7 to 15 years
Read the whole study here.
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