May 24, 2017
U.S. Prison Population Trends 1999-2015: Modest Reductions with Significant Variation
While the majority of states have at least modestly reduced their prison populations in recent years, 16 states have achieved double-digit rates of decline and the federal system has downsized at almost twice the national rate.
May 15, 2017
Jeff Sessions decision to re-up in the drug war won't work
Kara Gotsch and Marc Mauer explain why the Attorney General's newly issued sentencing directive to federal prosecutors is a devastating revival of the War on Drugs.
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 05, 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.
May 03, 2017
Still Life: America’s Increasing Use of Life and Long-Term Sentences
Amid historically low crime rates, a record 206,268 people are serving life or virtual life sentences—one of every seven people in prison.
May 01, 2017
State Advocacy Update: Efforts to Address Federal Drug Felony Ban on Public Benefits
In 2017, proposals to opt out or modify the lifetime felony drug ban on public benefits were introduced in at least three states.
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.
April 20, 2017
The Sentencing Project Releases Its 2016 Annual Report
Learn more about how our research and analysis in 2016 played a major role in shaping the policy debate around criminal justice reform.
April 14, 2017
Race & Justice News: Examining Racial Disparity in Exonerations
Black people represent almost half of innocent defendants wrongfully convicted of crimes, lawsuit charges Milwaukee police with racially biased stop-and-frisks, and more in the latest 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.