The Buried Alive Project works to eliminate life without parole sentences handed down under federal drug law through transformative litigation, legislation, and humanization.

Life without the possibility of parole is, short of execution, the harshest imaginable punishment permitted by law in America. It screams a person is beyond hope, beyond redemption. It rips away any chance of reconciliation with society and gives no chance of fulfillment outside of prison walls.

Life without parole suffocates mass potential as it buries people alive.

Of the approximately 183,000 people in federal prison today, 46.2% of them are there for drug offenses and approximately 3,800 men and women are serving life without parole. Among those serving life without parole sentences almost half (49.1%) have been convicted of a drug crime and 80% of them are people of color.

While the statistics are astonishing, to truly understand the issue, we must look beyond the numbers and see the heartbeats.

We use statistics and stories to educate the public and amplify the voices of those directly impacted. The human element is rarely addressed but necessary to drive change needed to reform the criminal justice system. By engaging people across the country, this project will harness America’s collective interest, passion, and direct experience of this issue into concrete change.

GOAL

Eliminate the profoundly inhumane punishment of life without parole sentences handed down under federal drug laws.

STRATEGY

Litigation

Represent individuals in courts for a second chance while helping to shape the law.

Legislation

Educate policymakers in Congress on the need for legislative reform.

Humanization

Share stories with the community to help shatter the stigma of incarceration.