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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
May 05, 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.
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.
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.
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.