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publications
May 24, 2017

U.S. Prison Population Trends 1999-2015: Modest Reductions with Significant Variation

While the majority of states have at least modestly reduced their prison populations in recent years, 16 states have achieved double-digit rates of decline and the federal system has downsized at almost twice the national rate.
publications
May 22, 2017

Testimony to U.S. Commission on Civil Rights on Eliminating Felony Disenfranchisement Laws

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Willie Mays Aikens

In 2008, Willie Mays Aikens made headlines when a federal judge reduced his lengthy prison term to 14 years as a result of the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s adjustment to the crack cocaine sentencing guidelines. Aikens was released in June 2008.
news
Race & Justice News: Can Ban the Box Policies Result in Racial Discrimination?
May 17, 2017

Race & Justice News: Can Ban the Box Policies Result in Racial Discrimination?

Ban the Box reforms may disadvantage job applicants of color who do not have criminal histories, Brooklyn prosecutors protect immigrants from deportation over petty crimes, and more in Race and Justice News.
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Jeff Sessions decision to re-up in the drug war won't work
May 15, 2017

Jeff Sessions decision to re-up in the drug war won't work

Kara Gotsch and Marc Mauer explain why the Attorney General's newly issued sentencing directive to federal prosecutors is a devastating revival of the War on Drugs.
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Kemba Smith

At 24 years old, Kemba Smith was sentenced to 24.5 years in prison for conspiracy to participate in her boyfriend's drug activities, a non-violent, first-time offense. For years, her parents galvanized a tireless movement seeking clemency for their daughter.
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Federal Prison Population will Expand under new DOJ Directive
May 12, 2017

Federal Prison Population will Expand under new DOJ Directive

The Sentencing Project condemns DOJ’s return to harsh enforcement of low-level drug crimes
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Life Without Redemption
May 09, 2017

Life Without Redemption

Ashley Nellis and Marc Mauer
When 1 in 7 Americans in prison is serving a life term, it's time to rethink our failed crime policies.
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Christopher Poulos

When Chris Poulos was arrested, he experienced firsthand the difference that money can make in the criminal justice system. He recounts the experience in his own words.
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Number of people serving life in US prisons is surging, new report says
May 08, 2017

Number of people serving life in US prisons is surging, new report says

A person in prison who starts his or her sentence in their 30s will, on average, cost the state $1 million per year.
publications
May 05, 2017

Juvenile Life Without Parole: An Overview

Josh Rovner
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.
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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.
news
State Advocacy Update: Efforts to Address Federal Drug Felony Ban on Public Benefits
May 01, 2017

State Advocacy Update: Efforts to Address Federal Drug Felony Ban on Public Benefits

In 2017, proposals to opt out or modify the lifetime felony drug ban on public benefits were introduced in at least three states.
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Disenfranchisement News: Florida approves language for voting rights ballot
April 26, 2017

Disenfranchisement News: Florida approves language for voting rights ballot

Voting Rights Restoration Amendment is one step closer to being placed on Florida's 2018 ballot, Nebraska legislature votes to end two-year ban on voting for people with felony convictions, and more in the latest Disenfranchisement News.
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Denver Schimming

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.
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