In 1996 Georgia passed a House Bill 441 that addressed the problem they were having with crime. For the most part, the bill did a good thing. But it also made it impossible for anyone convicted of one of the serious violent offences of ever making parole. You could make parole if you got a life sentence, but if you got a number sentence you have to do the entire number with no chance of making parole. See O.C.G.A. title 17-10-6.1 section (c) paragraph 3.So a life sentence was better than a number sentence over 20 years in most cases.
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A SAD STORY
Demery Lewis was incarcerated in 1998 when he was 21 for armed robbery and kidnapping. He has been a model inmate his entire sentence. He turned 40 in 2017. He was in the military and just made a stupid and selfish decision. He has changed but he still has to do 15 more years regardless of how much he has changed for the better. No parole no matter what! If he had received a life sentence he could parole by now. If he had killed someone, he would be eligible for parole right now.