Life Without Parole

States Using Life Without Parole

Years That States Adopted LWOP

LWOP Laws in States That Recently Repealed Death Penalty

Related Issues


Life Without Parole News and Developments - Current Year

Life Without Parole News and Developments - Previous Years

2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013  2012  2011  2010  2009  2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003

Death Penalty States
offering Life Without Parole*
(30/30 states)
Alabama Kentucky Oregon
Arizona Louisiana Pennsylvania
Arkansas Mississippi South Carolina
California Missouri South Dakota
Colorado Montana Tennessee
Florida Nevada Texas
Georgia New Hampshire Utah
Idaho North Carolina Virginia
Indiana Ohio Wyoming
Kansas Oklahoma plus-
    Federal Statute
    Military Statute

* Note that "three strikes" laws in some states may make life without parole available for at least some offenders in those states.
Non-Death Penalty States offering Life Without Parole (19/20 states)
Connecticut Massachusetts New York
Hawaii Michigan North Dakota
Illinois Minnesota Rhode Island
Iowa Nebraska Vermont
Maine New Jersey West Virginia
Maryland New Mexico Wisconsin
Delaware   Washington

plus District of Columbia

[Alaska does not have life without parole]

Serving Life - Trailer

Serving Life documents an extraordinary hospice program where hardened criminals care for dying fellow inmates. Narrated by executive producer and Academy Award®-winner Forest Whitaker, the film takes viewers inside Louisiana's maximum security prison at Angola, where the average sentence is more than 90 years.  Premiered on OWN Thursday, July 28, 2011.  Read more here.


  Related Issues:

Fact Sheet on prison killings from Equal Justice USA

"Death Penalty Not Needed to Prevent Prison Murder," Death Penalty Focus


A. Nellis, "Life Goes On: The Historic Rise in Life Sentences in America," The Sentencing Project (2013).

M. Mauer and K. Epstein, editors, "To Build a Better Criminal Justice System," The Sentencing Project (2012). Features 25 essays on the future of America's criminal justice system, written by academics, advocates, and other experts.

A. Nellis and R. King, No Exit: The Expanding Use of Life Sentences In America, The Sentencing Project (2009). Read a summary by DPIC.

R. Johnson and A. Dobrzanska, "Mature coping among life-sentenced inmates: an exploratory study of adjustment dynamics," Corrections Compendium. (November 2005).

A. Liptak, "To More Inmates, Life Term Means Dying Behind Bars," New York Times, October 2, 2005.

DPIC Summary: The Sentencing Project's Report, "The Meaning of 'Life': Long Prison Sentences in Context" (2004).

Sentencing for Life: Americans Embrace Alternatives to the Death Penalty (DPIC Report 1993).

M. Lane, "Is there life without parole? A capital defendant's right to a meaningful alternative sentence," 26 Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review 327 (1993).