/ Séminaire « Enfermement »

[Les longues peines] - Marion Vannier : « Le cas américain des "life without parole" »

11 octobre 2018, 16h-18h, à l’ENS de Lyon, site Descartes, salle D2.110


Marion Vannier, Université de Manchester

During my short presentation, I will discuss how and why life without parole (LWOP) first emerged in the United States, drawing on California as a case study. Attending to LWOP in the United States is significant because similar punishments are emerging in France and the UK for instance. There are thus lessons to be learnt from the Californian example.

With reliance on a unique set of letters written by men and women serving LWOP, we will explore the extent of the punishment’s severity and discuss the following questions : in what ways, if at all, does LWOP amount to a death sentence ? What are the pains associated with being incarcerated with no possibility of release ? Under what carceral conditions are LWOP inmates held ? In comparison to other prison sentences, what makes LWOP so extreme ? What does the ‘denial of hope’ entail ? To what extent should LWOP be compared to the death penalty (i.e. what’s the point) ? What are the main practical issues that might arise ? (i.e. in terms of space, medical treatment, training and education, and for the prison staff) ?

The seminar will be interactive and delivered in English.

Bibliographie :

  • Vannier, Marion. « Women Serving Life without the Possibility of Parole : The Different Meanings of Death as Punishment ». The Howard Journal of Crime and Justice 55, no 3 (2016) : 328–344.
  • Nellis, Ashley « Still Life : America’s Increasing Use of Life and Long-Term Sentences” [Online], The Sentencing Project (2017),
  • Chauvenet Antoinette, « Les longues peines : le « principe » de la peur », Champ pénal/Penal field [En ligne], Séminaire du GERN "Longues peines et peines indéfinies. Punir la dangerosité" (2008-2009)
/ Séminaire « Enfermement »