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Incarceration

publications
April 13, 2021

Juvenile Life Without Parole: An Overview

Josh Rovner
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.
news
March 25, 2021

Voting Rights News: Oregon Considers Universal Suffrage

The Sentencing Project worked closely with state coalitions in Connecticut, Georgia, Minnesota and Texas to expand voting rights to citizens with felony convictions. We developed a series of briefing papers highlighting each state’s voter exclusion policies and the laws’ impact on citizens with criminal legal involvement.
Featured Story
Featured Story

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.
publications
March 03, 2021

Private Prisons in the United States

Thirty-one states and the federal government incarcerated 116,000 people in private prisons in 2019, representing 8% of the total state and federal prison population.      
publications
February 22, 2021

COVID-19 in Juvenile Facilities

Josh Rovner
The widespread incidence of COVID-19 inflicts devastating impacts on incarcerated youth, their families, the staff who work in those facilities, and the communities they call home. The Sentencing Project is tracking COVID-19 positive diagnoses among youth and staff at juvenile facilities and the number of known cases in each state.
Featured Story
Featured Story

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.
publications
February 17, 2021

No End In Sight: America's Enduring Reliance on Life Imprisonment

Ashley Nellis
In the United States, more than 200,000 people are serving life sentences – one out of every seven in prison.
publications
February 03, 2021

Racial Disparities in Youth Incarceration Persist

Josh Rovner
In an era of declining youth incarceration, Black and American Indian youth are still overwhelmingly more likely to be held in custody than their white peers.
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Featured Story
December 01, 2017

James Inge

James D. Inge is one of 300 individuals age 60 or older arrested between 1965 and 1980 that was sentenced to life imprisonment in Pennsylvania. Learn more about his campaign to give rehabilitated seniors serving life a second chance.
news
Race & Justice News: White Supremacists in Law Enforcement, Germany’s Approach
January 27, 2021

Race & Justice News: White Supremacists in Law Enforcement, Germany’s Approach

  German responses to far-right extremism in law enforcement are more robust than the U.S., over half of people stopped by Portland Police Gun Violence Team were Black, racial bias impacts risk assessments for Canada's Indigenous Women, and more in Race and Justice News.
publications
January 22, 2021

Can We Wait 60 Years to Cut the Prison Population in Half?

Nazgol Ghandnoosh
Following a nearly 700% increase between 1972 and 2009, the U.S. prison population declined 11% in the subsequent 10 years. At this rate of decline it will take 57 years — until 2078 — to cut the prison population in half
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Featured Story

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’.
publications
January 15, 2021

Top Trends in State Criminal Justice Reform, 2020

In recent years most states have enacted reforms designed to reduce the scale of incarceration and the impact of the collateral consequences of a felony conviction. This briefing paper describes key reforms that were prioritized in 2020.
publications
December 02, 2020

Letter on Oversight Hearing for the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the U.S. Marshals Service

The Sentencing Project wrote to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee about its oversight hearing for the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the U.S. Marshals Service, in regards to the government's response to the pandemic in federal prisons.
Featured Story
Featured Story

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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