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.
May 03, 2017
Still Life: America’s Increasing Use of Life and Long-Term Sentences
Amid historically low crime rates, a record 206,268 people are serving life or virtual life sentences—one of every seven people in prison.
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.
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’.
April 20, 2017
The Sentencing Project Releases Its 2016 Annual Report
Learn more about how our research and analysis in 2016 played a major role in shaping the policy debate around criminal justice reform.
March 07, 2017
Trends in U.S. Corrections
The Sentencing Project's key fact sheet provides a compilation of major developments in the criminal justice system over the past several decades.
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.
February 13, 2017
State Advocacy Update: Continuing the Effort to Advance Criminal Justice Reform
In Texas, more than 100 immigrants, formerly incarcerated individuals, and activists coalesce in a show of solidarity to advance reform efforts.