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.
June 25, 2018
Letter to Senate on Advancing Sentencing Reform legislation
The Sentencing Project urges the Senate to move quickly to pass sentencing reform legislation, like the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act (S. 1917) sponsored by Senators Charles Grassley and Richard Durbin, to help create a safer, more equitable and fairer prison system.
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.
June 22, 2018
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.
June 15, 2018
Letter Against Synthetic Drug Bill that Expands Penalties for Federal Drug Offenses
As part of a larger coalition, The Sentencing Project opposes the Stop Importation and Trafficking of Synthetic Analogues (SITSA) Act of 2017 which would disproportionately incarcerate those with low-level federal drug offenses, concentrate power solely within the Department of Justice and criminalize people with substance use disorder who need treatment, not punishment.
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.
June 04, 2018
NBC Nightly News: Kim Kardashian visits White House to talk prison and sentencing reform
Marc Mauer explains why sentencing reform is necessary to provide relief to the thousands of people in federal prison serving life without parole for non-violent drug offenses.
May 21, 2018
The Sentencing Project responds to First Step Act Legislation
Without provisions in the FIRST STEP Act to reduce the excessive sentencing produced by mandatory minimums for drug offenses, overcrowding will persist and thereby divert resources from programs to reduce recidivism.
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’.
May 01, 2018
State Advocacy News: Grassroots Actions to Challenge Mass Incarceration
Coalitions in Maryland, Mississippi, and Kentucky mobilized to counter regressive sentencing measures by promoting solutions addressing underlying causes of crime.
April 30, 2018
Jeff Sessions is shamefully undermining WEB Du Bois's legacy
A justice department program of research fellowships in the civil rights leader’s name has been twisted to suit the attorney general’s agenda
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.
April 10, 2018
Letter to Subcommittee Hearing on Defeating Fentanyl: Addressing the Deadliest Drugs Fueling the Opioid Crisis
The Sentencing Project outlines lessons learned from the War on Drugs and recommends that federal resources be directed towards policies that will expand access to drug treatment to stop the skyrocketing death toll from overdoses caused by fentanyl and other opioids.