July 23, 2019
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.
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 01, 2019
Disenfranchisement News: Nevada & Colorado restore voting rights to people on community supervision
Nevada and Colorado expand voting rights to people on community supervision, civil rights groups sue Florida over new "poll tax" law, and more news in our latest Disenfranchisement News.
June 28, 2019
State Advocacy News: Local Strategies to Address Life Imprisonment
State organizers and advocates are challenging mass incarceration through reforms to recalibrate life and long prison terms. These efforts require legal reforms to correct the nation’s sentencing systems.
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 13, 2019
U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Calls for Limiting Collateral Consequences
More than 44,000 collateral consequences exist nationwide that continue to punish people with felony records long after the completion of their sentence. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights report provides actionable recommendations to the President, Congress and federal agencies on how to scale back these punishments.
June 06, 2019
Incarcerated Women and Girls
Over the past quarter century, there has been a profound change in the involvement of women within the criminal justice system. This is the result of more expansive law enforcement efforts, stiffer drug sentencing laws, and post-conviction barriers to reentry that uniquely affect women.
May 29, 2019
State Advocacy News: Steps to Challenge Mass Incarceration
Many state legislatures are in the final days of session. The next few months are an opportunity for community organizers and policy advocates to reflect on recent successes and challenges in the movement to end mass incarceration.
May 20, 2019
Disenfranchisement News: Florida lawmakers pass new “poll tax” for voting rights restoration
Lawmakers in Florida pass bill creating financial barrier to rights restoration, Iowa Senate blocks voting rights constitutional amendment bill, and more in our latest Disenfranchisement News.
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.