lifers | KALW


Yesterday, we heard how politics have shaped California’s prison system, and about the push and pull between rehabilitation and punishment. “At the end of the day, corrections was about the bumping of heads of those people that think prison should be for punishment and those people that think that prison should be for rehabilitation,” says JB Wells, who spent almost three decades stuck between the two ideologies.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user MikeCogh/

A life sentence with the possibility of parole is one of the only sentences in California designed to encourage the convicted to reform. Lindsey Bolar, who served 23 years in prison before receiving parole, believes “lifers make up your best population in prison.” After serving between 20 and 25 years, Bolar says, “you know that the mad stupid stuff doesn’t go anymore, then all of a sudden you are trying to find a meaning for your life and you want to go home.”

When you look at the numbers, many long held truths about crime crumble. Like this one: who do you think is more likely to become a life-long criminal: a rapist or a car thief?