Why Does the US Sentence People to Hundreds of Years in Prison?
UVA Law Faculty Affiliations
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.