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Should violent offenders get the chance for parole?

When you think of a violent offender, you probably don't want to see him or her back in your neighborhood. The problem with that is that painting all offenders with one brush makes it hard for them to change (or want to change). The prison system already makes it difficult for prisoners to reenter society, and the conditions of some prisons makes people less likely to improve during their sentences.

It's been agreed that the current American system doesn't work well. The United States houses 25 percent of the world's prisoners but only has 5 percent of the population. If that doesn't point out at least one flaw in the system, there's more. Many of these individuals have no choice but to spend their lives in prison with no chance of parole. That could mean 60, 70 or even 80 years for some people who will spend their lives behind bars.

Does this system work? No. It's costly, and it doesn't give anyone a reason to become a better person behind bars. Even people who have been convicted of violent crimes can change and should have the right to discretionary parole given obvious progress and good behavior. In other countries, prisoners often have the right to conditional releases or reduced sentences based on their actions in prison. In America, it's only those who have served their maximum sentences who can be placed on mandatory parole. For some, that's only likely long after they've passed away.

If you're facing a charge that could result in life without parole, you know you don't deserve to live without a second chance. Your attorney can help protect you by fighting for a lesser penalty.

Source: The New York Times, "The Practical Case for Parole for Violent Offenders," Marc Morje Howard, accessed Sep. 20, 2017

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