Some may wonder about the point of a centuries-long sentence – far longer than a human could serve.

As a criminal justice scholar and formerly an attorney in state criminal courts, I see their purpose as entirely symbolic.

A 400-year sentence doesn’t prevent the possibility of the defendant being released on parole. However, Virginia abolished parole in 1995. About 20 states have abolished parole for some or all offenses.

Darryl K. Brown, Why Does the US Sentence People to Hundreds of Years in Prison?, Conversation (July 22, 2019).
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