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When life is too long: Debate over older prisoners
Lifers at NY prison deal with decades on the inside; sentences for aging inmates questioned
By The Associated Press

DANNEMORA, N.Y. (AP) ' Yohannes (yoh-HAH'-niss) Johnson is serving 75 years to life in remote Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York.

He's a convicted robber and killer. He's also president of the prison's Lifer's and Long-Termer's Organization, part of a growing club of inmates locked up for life nationwide.

With some research showing older prisoners less likely to commit new crimes, even corrections officials are rethinking what to do about this aging population.



Nationally, nearly 10 percent of more than 2.3 million inmates were serving life sentences in 2008, including more than 41,000 doing life without parole. That's an increase of 22 percent over five years.

The increase resulted from lawmakers expanding the types and repeat offenses that carry potential life terms.


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