October 20, 2017
Still increase in racial disparities in juvenile justice
We should celebrate the declines in incarceration among youth of all races and ethnicities. But let’s not overlook the way these changes aren’t benefiting all our children in the same way.
October 13, 2017
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.
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.
October 10, 2017
Race & Justice News: One-Third of Black Men Have Felony Convictions
The number of black men with felony convictions has significantly increased over the past 30 years, American Indian and Alaska Native jail counts have doubled since the late 1990s, and more in Race and Justice News.
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.
September 21, 2017
South Carolina Legislature must reform life-without-parole sentences
South Carolina has started down the road to criminal justice reform — a beginning, but it is a long road. A legislative package designed to accelerate the state’s progress ought to include consideration of reforms to long-term sentences.
September 12, 2017
Black Disparities in Youth Incarceration
Despite long-term declines in youth incarceration, the disparity at which black and white youth are held in juvenile facilities has grown. As of 2015, African American youth were five times as likely as white youth to be detained or committed to youth facilities.
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’.
August 04, 2017
Life Sentences, Long Sentences Imposed on Youth Need 2nd Look
As young people age and mature they develop the capacity to make different choices, writes Ashley Nellis in the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange.