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Issues

Incarceration

publications
December 08, 2021

Successes in Criminal Legal Reforms, 2021

Formerly incarcerated activists, lawmakers, and advocates achieved important changes in criminal justice policy in 2021 to reduce mass incarceration, expand voting rights and advance racial justice. This briefing paper highlights key reforms undertaken in 2021 prioritized by The Sentencing Project.
publications
December 06, 2021

Amicus Brief in Support of Ending Extreme Sentences for Youth in Maryland

The Sentencing Project joined with partners at the MacArthur Justice Center, the Juvenile Law Center, and others who oppose extreme sentences for youth on an amicus brief to end those sentences in Maryland and to require a finding of permanent incorrigibility under the Maryland Declaration of Rights during sentencing.
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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
November 17, 2021

Parents in Prison

This fact sheet provides key facts on parents in prison and policies that impede their ability to care for their children when released from prison.
publications
November 04, 2021

Testimony in support of Pennsylvania Sunset Parole Reform

The Pennsylvania General Assembly is considering ending lifetime parole supervision.
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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
November 03, 2021

Conversation About Crime Survivors and Restorative Justice Issues

The Sentencing Project and national victim/survivor advocate Anne Seymour sponsored a virtual conversation to address the critical issue of restorative justice practices both pre- and post-conviction. The goal of the conversation was to identify strategies that can more wholly address the needs of survivors, those who harm them, and the communities in which they reside.
publications
November 03, 2021

Testimony in support of Washington, DC's Revised Criminal Code Act of 2021

Passage of the Revised Criminal Code Act of 2021 would go far in aligning D.C.’s criminal penalties with criminological evidence on how to advance public safety.
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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.
publications
October 29, 2021

Amicus Brief in Support of Ending Felony Murder LWOP Sentences in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, some 1,100 people are serving life-without-parole (LWOP) sentences despite never having intended to take a life. Pennsylvania is one of just six states that mandate LWOP for all individuals convicted of felony murder.
publications
October 13, 2021

The Color of Justice: Racial and Ethnic Disparity in State Prisons

Black Americans are incarcerated in state prisons across the country at nearly five times the rate of whites, and Latinx people are 1.3 times as likely to be incarcerated than non-Latinx whites. This report documents the rates of incarceration for white, Black and Latinx Americans in each state, identifies three contributors to racial and ethnic disparities in imprisonment, and provides recommendations for reform.
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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
September 22, 2021

In the Extreme: Women Serving Life Without Parole and Death Sentences in the United States

One of every 15 women in prison — amounting to more than 6,600 women — is serving a life sentence and nearly 2,000 of these have no chance for parole. Another 52 women in the U.S. are awaiting execution. Many women serving extreme sentences were victims of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse long before they committed a crime.
publications
August 31, 2021

Back-to-School Action Guide: Re-Engaging Students and Closing the School-to-Prison Pipeline

Thanks to a $122 billion infusion of federal funds, schools and communities can invest vast resources in effective new approaches that offer us the power to keep children in school and help them progress along the path to educational success.
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Featured Story

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.
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