Florida has the third largest prison system, but has the largest number of prisoners serving life without parole, (LWOP), in the United States. Nearly 10,000. More than California and Texas. I’m one of them. One of the reasons that Florida is the LWOP capital, is that between 1983 and 1995 the Florida Lawmakers deemed crimes like robbery, burglary and attempted murder more serious crimes than first degree murder. It’s true. In Florida, between 1983 and 1995 offenders committing crimes like robbery, burglary and attempted murder received LWOP sentences, while offenders committing first degree murder received the lesser life sentence, life with the eligibility of parole after 25 years. And, infact started being paroled in 2007. Like several other States in 1995 Florida adopted the “Truth in Sentencing Act” making all life sentences, LWOP sentences. Imagine abetting in a robbery no victim injury, but receiving a sentence more severe than had the crime been first degree murder. That’s my plight. The epitome of my situation is that, had my crime been first degree murder, instead of robbery no victim injury, I’d be eligible for parole in August of this year.
Categories: Gerald Bates