U.S. Life Sentences Have Nearly Quintupled Since 1984
U.S. Prison System
With violent crime and murders in particular falling drastically since the early 1990s, the continued growth in life sentences is nothing short of astonishing. In 1984, approximately 34,000 prisoners were serving life sentences and that went up nearly fivefold by 2016, hitting 161,957. The report claims that the U.S. incarcerates people for life at a rate of 50 per 100,000, roughly equivalent to the entire incarceration rates of Denmark, Finland and Sweden.
This chart shows the number of people serving life sentences in U.S. prisons.