• The Guardian

U.S. Civil Rights Groups Request UN to Investigate 'Death by Incarceration' as a Violation of Rights

September 16, 2022

[Image Source: Seth Wenig/AP]

Cited article by Edwin Rios, The Guardian


HRRC supports rehabilitation rather than life sentences for incarcerated individuals. The United Nations is presented an opportunity to investigate and issue a statement condemning the practice in the United States as a violation of the rights of those being sentenced. Prison should be about rehabilitation, and the act of imprisonment without possibility of release is equal to torture.


Article Summary


A Coalition of U.S.-based Civil and Human Rights organizations filed an official request that UN special rapporteurs declare the U.S.'s practice of issued life sentences as "cruel, racially discriminatory", "an arbitrary deprivation of liberty", and ultimately a violation of the rights of those incarcerated. The term proposed by The Right to Redemption Committee, "death by incarceration" describes prison life sentences including those that are sentenced to life without parole. It is argued that this sentencing amounts to torture.


It is argued that life sentences aren't addressing harm, violence, or the root causes of the criminal act, but instead are performed out of political pressure to be "tough on crime". Those given life sentences describe their experiences as “irreparably [damaging] without hope of redemption” and state that the “extreme sentences affect the kids who grow up without [their parents]". These sentences often disproportionately affect minorities and people of color.


The U.S. is the only country that sentences children under 18 to life without parole. The U.S. also accounts for over 80% of people worldwide serving life sentences.