<< Are Mental Health Courts Good Policy? | Main | Blog Scan >>

LWOP and Incapacitation

No, friends, not even a sentence of life without parole and confinement in a maximum security prison guarantees a killer will not kill again. AP reports,

Officials say an inmate at Pelican [Bay] State Prison is under investigation for the death of his cellmate.

Officials at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced Tuesday that they believe 41-year-old David Martinez killed his cellmate, 51-year-old James Lambert. Lambert was found unconscious in his cell on April 19, and died on May 1.

Lambert was serving a 41-years-to-life third-strike sentence from Los Angeles County for assault with force.

Martinez is serving a life sentence without parole from Los Angeles County for first-degree murder.


Funny, if it were permissible for the state to have a mandatory death penalty for such murderers, we'd likely see less murders (or we'd be able to spend less resources on security within the prison walls). I guess liberal solicitude for incarcerated criminals only goes so far. They'll let the incarcerated go after the public fisc, but god forbid we have a mandatory death penalty in such cases.

But who said they wouldn't ever kill again? Inmates are killed by other inmates every day in some prison somewhere in this country. The sentence doesn't make a difference. These are two grown men, one decided to make the choice of killing the other, BUT, that doesn't mean that all sentences of LWOP are really valid.

Opponents of the death penalty say almost nonstop that life-without-parole is sufficient to ensure the killer never kills again.

Lambert was no angel, to be sure, but he wasn't a murderer (as far as we know) and therefore did not deserve death. Martinez did previously commit premeditated murder. The one who deserved death is still alive, and the one who did not is dead.

Leave a comment

Monthly Archives