August 27, 2018
Public Comment on Commission’s Proposed Priorities for 2018-2019 Amendment Cycle
A coalition of civil rights, criminal justice reform, and human rights groups provided comments to the U.S. Sentencing Commission on ways to improve the fairness and proportionality of the Guidelines; promote individualized review of specific offense conduct; and mitigate excessively punitive provisions.
August 07, 2018
Race & Justice News: Homicide Clearance Disparities Contribute to Capital Punishment Disparities
Homicides involving white victims are significantly more likely to be "cleared" by the arrest of a suspect than homicides involving victims of color, causing racial disparities in capital sentencing to begin as early as police investigations. Learn more in Race & Justice News.
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 02, 2018
Capitalizing on Mass Incarceration: U.S. Growth in Private Prisons
The introduction of profit incentives into the country’s incarceration buildup crosses a troubling line that puts financial gain above the public interest of safety and rehabilitation.
Lawrence and Lamont Garrison
Sentences for federal drug crimes are based on the quantity of the drugs involved, not the individual’s role in the crime. The emphasis on quantity rather than the role of the offender, along with the conspiracy laws, too often result in disproportionate sentencing, even for first-time offenses such as the Garrisons’.
July 31, 2018
State Advocacy News: Transforming Closed Adult and Youth Prisons
Lessons for stakeholders include prioritizing prison population reduction efforts and planning for prison repurposing.
July 19, 2018
Disenfranchisement News: Expanding voter rights education in jails
Legislation in California and Illinois would require jails to provide voter education and make in-person or absentee voting available to all eligible incarcerated voters.
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, 2018
Felony Disenfranchisement: A Primer
A striking 6.1 million Americans are prohibited from voting due to laws that disenfranchise citizens convicted of felony offenses. Felony disenfranchisement rates vary by state, as states institute a wide range of disenfranchisement policies.
July 10, 2018
OJJDP Administrator’s Words on Racial Disparities Shock Us
Administrator Harp’s simplification of the core protections of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act prioritizes public safety over racial justice. The administrator fails to understand that the two goals are intertwined.
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.
July 06, 2018
The Sentencing Project files Amicus Brief in Florida Felony Disenfranchisement Suit
Our amicus brief highlights the punitive and arbitrary nature of Florida's voting rights restoration process, and argues that disenfranchisement is counterproductive to effective reentry.
June 29, 2018
Race & Justice News: Churches Divest from Police to Protect People of Color
As awareness around state violence towards people of color grows, several churches decide to stop calling the police to protect communities of color. A church in Oakland is instead investing in de-escalation trainings to handle situations without calling the police.
After his release in June of 2004, Andres Idarraga became a full-time student at Brown University studying comparative literature and economics while maintaining full-time employment. Idarraga saw his right to vote as a significant and crucial aspect to rebuilding his life and to contributing to his community.