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The Hustler Files Ep. 49- Prison Reform Takes One Step Forward and One Step Back

In January 2024, the criminal justice system progressed for many in Massachusetts and digressed for those on death row in Alabama. In Massachusetts, Attorney Ryan Schiff and others ligated a landmark decision where it is now unconstitutional to sentence any adult, under the age of 21, to life without parole. This new law, in Massachusetts, currently affects 200 incarcerated individuals. The door is now open for them to apply for parole and show that they’ve rehabilitated. This reversal of the current law is based on the advancements in scientific research that the brains of emerging adults, up to age 21, are not yet fully developed. Only one other state, Louisiana, still has a life without parole sentencing for those under the age of 21, for first degree murder. Within 2 weeks of this landmark decision, the State of Alabama executed 58-year-old Kenneth Smith, for murder, with the use of Nitrogen Gas. As David Hoose, a long time Criminal Defense Attorney notes, ‘there is never a good way to kill someone, and right now Nitrogen Gas is the flavor of the month”. So, as we know, once again, how you live or die depends on where you serve your time.

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