Garner v. Jones, 529 U.S. 244, 19 (2000)

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Souter, J., dissenting

violent criminals"); Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles, Violent-Crime Lifers Who Died in Prison (June 4, 1998), 98.html (quoting Chairman Walter Ray as stating that " 'obtaining parole on a life-sentence is increasingly rare' " and reporting that "[b]ecause of strict sentencing laws as well as the Board's conservative paroling policy, agency officials predict successive fiscal years will reflect a rising number of inmates for whom a life sentence does indeed mean just that").2 If respondent had ever been allowed to undertake discovery, further statements of punitive intent may well have been forthcoming. Although we have never decided that a purpose to increase punishment, absent a punitive effect, itself invalidates a retroactive policy change, see Lynce v. Mathis, 519 U. S. 433, 443 (1997), evidence of purpose certainly confirms the inference of substantial risk of longer sentences drawn above. It is, after all, reasonable to expect that members of a parole board acting with a purpose to get tough succeed in doing just that.

On the other side, there is no indication that the board adopted the new policy merely to obviate useless hearings or save administrative resources, the justification the Court accepted in Morales. See 514 U. S., at 511. Indeed, since a parole board review in Georgia means that one board member examines an inmate's file without a hearing and makes a decision, and no specific findings are required to deny parole, any interpretation of the rule change as a measure to conserve resources is weak at best, and insufficient to counter the inference of a substantial risk that the prisoners who will get subsequent mandatory parole considerations years after

2 As Georgia's punitiveness increased, the number of persons on parole decreased. See Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles, Georgia's Criminal Justice Population Increased by 9% in 1998; Only Decrease Was in Persons on Parole (Feb. 1, 1999), pr 99.html. News releases available in Clerk of Court's case file.

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