August 21, 2017
Race & Justice News: A Visual Double Standard in Media Coverage of Opioid and Crack Epidemics
Media coverage of the opioid epidemic—which largely affects suburban and rural whites—portrays it as an outside threat and focuses on treatment and recovery, while stories of heroin in the 1970s, crack-cocaine in the 1980s, and other drug problems that impact urban people of color today have focused on the drug user’s morality.
August 04, 2017
Life Sentences, Long Sentences Imposed on Youth Need 2nd Look
As young people age and mature they develop the capacity to make different choices, writes Ashley Nellis in the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange.
Theresa McIntyre Smith
In 1999, Theresa Smith was arrested at an airport after she met a drug courier in Roy Mercer’s network and according to the government, identified a suitcase containing eleven kilograms of cocaine for the courier. Smith said she had been told by Mercer that the suitcase contained his nieces’ clothes. For this first-time non-violent offense, Smith was sentenced to a ten-year mandatory prison term.
August 01, 2017
Juvenile Life Without Parole: An Overview
The United States stands alone as the only nation that sentences people to life without parole for crimes committed before turning 18. This briefing paper reviews the Supreme Court precedents that limited the use of JLWOP and the challenges that remain.
July 27, 2017
The Sentencing Project's Comments to U.S. Sentencing Commission on 2018 Policy Priorities
The Sentencing Project asks the Commission to take a fresh look at the guidelines structure to determine if sentence lengths are sufficient, but not greater than necessary, to achieve the goals of sentencing.
July 21, 2017
Texas should stop spending billions to incarcerate so many people for life
It costs $1 million to incarcerate someone for life. Texans must ask themselves whether they want to continue spending billions, despite diminishing public safety benefits associated with lengthy prison terms.
July 20, 2017
Disenfranchisement News: Illinois jail allows in-person voting
Cook County Jail allowed in-person voting for the first time in almost a decade, lawsuit seeks to have Alabama educate people about new voting rights law, and more in Disenfranchisement News.
As a previously incarcerated person who had his voting rights restored in 1996, Denver Schimming knew the power and importance of voting. His years in prison taught him that the criminal justice system could change only if impacted people spoke out. After his incarceration, voting was one of his highest priorities.
July 17, 2017
Race & Justice News: Disparities in New Jersey Traffic Tickets and Marijuana Arrests
Racial disparities in New Jersey’s marijuana arrests are at an all-time high, Los Angeles may have decriminalized illegal street food vending in response to Trump's immigration policies, and more in Race and Justice News.
July 07, 2017
Next step for Louisiana prison reform is to review life sentences
Louisiana lawmakers still need to prioritize changes to its long-term and life sentences, which account for nearly 1 of every 3 state prisoners, writes Ashley Nellis in an op-ed for NOLA.com.
Kimberly Haven’s journey as an advocate began when she sought to regain her own voting rights after release from a Maryland prison in 2001. She soon became passionate about the unfairness of disenfranchising citizens after they have completed their sentence and returned to the community.
June 29, 2017
State Advocacy Update: Texas Set to Close 4 Prisons
Recently, state lawmakers have taken steps to address high rates of incarceration. These policy reforms ranged from deciding to close state prisons, changing sentencing laws, and improving college access for persons with criminal convictions.
June 28, 2017
Incarceration Rates in an International Perspective
A nation’s rate of incarceration is the number of people incarcerated as a proportion of its total population. Internationally, there is broad variation in the degree to which nations incarcerate their citizens, with a nearly 40-fold difference between the highest and lowest rates. The incarceration rate is often interpreted as a measurement of the degree of punitiveness in a society, although it is an imperfect measurement.