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Incarceration

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Texas should stop spending billions to incarcerate so many people for life
July 21, 2017

Texas should stop spending billions to incarcerate so many people for life

Ashley Nellis and Elizabeth Henneke
It costs $1 million to incarcerate someone for life. Texans must ask themselves whether they want to continue spending billions, despite diminishing public safety benefits associated with lengthy prison terms.
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Disenfranchisement News: Illinois jail allows in-person voting
July 20, 2017

Disenfranchisement News: Illinois jail allows in-person voting

Cook County Jail allowed in-person voting for the first time in almost a decade, lawsuit seeks to have Alabama educate people about new voting rights law, and more in Disenfranchisement News.
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Dorothy Gaines

Dorothy Gaines's life changed when Alabama state police raided her home for drugs. Police found no evidence of Gaines having possessed or sold drugs, yet federal prosecutors charged Gaines with drug conspiracy.
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Race & Justice News: Disparities in New Jersey Traffic Tickets and Marijuana Arrests
July 17, 2017

Race & Justice News: Disparities in New Jersey Traffic Tickets and Marijuana Arrests

Racial disparities in New Jersey’s marijuana arrests are at an all-time high, Los Angeles may have decriminalized illegal street food vending in response to Trump's immigration policies, and more in Race and Justice News.
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Next step for Louisiana prison reform is to review life sentences
July 07, 2017

Next step for Louisiana prison reform is to review life sentences

Louisiana lawmakers still need to prioritize changes to its long-term and life sentences, which account for nearly 1 of every 3 state prisoners, writes Ashley Nellis in an op-ed for NOLA.com.
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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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State Advocacy Update: Texas Set to Close 4 Prisons
June 29, 2017

State Advocacy Update: Texas Set to Close 4 Prisons

Recently, state lawmakers have taken steps to address high rates of incarceration. These policy reforms ranged from deciding to close state prisons, changing sentencing laws, and improving college access for persons with criminal convictions.
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June 28, 2017

Incarceration Rates in an International Perspective

A nation’s rate of incarceration is the number of people incarcerated as a proportion of its total population. Internationally, there is broad variation in the degree to which nations incarcerate their citizens, with a nearly 40-fold difference between the highest and lowest rates. The incarceration rate is often interpreted as a measurement of the degree of punitiveness in a society, although it is an imperfect measurement.
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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’.
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Race & Justice News: Police Officers Speak More Respectfully to White Drivers
June 26, 2017

Race & Justice News: Police Officers Speak More Respectfully to White Drivers

Police body camera footage shows Oakland police officers speak more respectfully to white drivers than black drivers, Native Americans are three times more likely to be killed by law enforcement than their white counterparts, and more in Race and Justice News.
publications
June 26, 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.
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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.
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Jeff Sessions wants a new war on drugs. It won’t work.
June 23, 2017

Jeff Sessions wants a new war on drugs. It won’t work.

In The Washington Post, David Cole of the ACLU and Marc Mauer explain why Sessions' revival of the drug war will devastate families without reducing crime or solving the drug crisis.  
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Sessions is taking us back to the future
June 19, 2017

Sessions is taking us back to the future

Sessions' new "tough on crime" directive will inevitably contribute to a rise in the federal prison population and will be counterproductive to promoting public safety, write Marc Mauer and Kara Gotsch in an op-ed for the San Francisco Daily Journal.
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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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