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Life without parole (LWOP) gained attention soon after Furman v. Georgia (1972), whereby the U.S. Supreme Court essentially abolished the death penalty in the United States. It remained after Gregg v. Georgia (1976) reinstated the death penalty. LWOP is the most severe sentence in states without the death penalty. It is used as an alternative to death in death penalty states, although it has also been used for other serious crimes, such as being found guilty of being a drug kingpin. It is also used as punishment for a “third strike” in states with three strikes laws. A person sentenced to LWOP is sentenced to die in prison. The major difference between LWOP and death is the date on which the prisoner dies. Under a ...

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