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Incarceration

publications
September 05, 2018

Decarceration Strategies: How 5 States Achieved Substantial Prison Population Reductions

Dennis Schrantz, Stephen DeBor, and Marc Mauer
Connecticut, Michigan, Mississippi, Rhode Island, and South Carolina have reduced their prison populations between 14-25% over the past decade. This report describes how these five states can serve as decarceration roadmaps for other states.
publications
Public Comment on Commission’s Proposed Priorities for 2018-2019 Amendment Cycle
August 27, 2018

Public Comment on Commission’s Proposed Priorities for 2018-2019 Amendment Cycle

A coalition of civil rights, criminal justice reform, and human rights groups provided comments to the U.S. Sentencing Commission on ways to improve the fairness and proportionality of the Guidelines; promote individualized review of specific offense conduct; and mitigate excessively punitive provisions.
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.
news
Race & Justice News: Homicide Clearance Disparities Contribute to Capital Punishment Disparities
August 07, 2018

Race & Justice News: Homicide Clearance Disparities Contribute to Capital Punishment Disparities

Homicides involving white victims are significantly more likely to be "cleared" by the arrest of a suspect than homicides involving victims of color, causing racial disparities in capital sentencing to begin as early as police investigations. Learn more in Race & Justice News.
publications
August 02, 2018

Private Prisons in the United States

U.S. private prisons incarcerated 128,063 people in 2016, representing 8.5% of the total state and federal prison population.  
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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
August 02, 2018

Capitalizing on Mass Incarceration: U.S. Growth in Private Prisons

Kara Gotsch and Vinay Basti
The introduction of profit incentives into the country’s incarceration buildup crosses a troubling line that puts financial gain above the public interest of safety and rehabilitation.
news
State Advocacy News: Transforming Closed Adult and Youth Prisons
July 31, 2018

State Advocacy News: Transforming Closed Adult and Youth Prisons

Lessons for stakeholders include prioritizing prison population reduction efforts and planning for prison repurposing.
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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.
news
Race & Justice News: Churches Divest from Police to Protect People of Color
June 29, 2018

Race & Justice News: Churches Divest from Police to Protect People of Color

As awareness around state violence towards people of color grows, several churches decide to stop calling the police to protect communities of color. A church in Oakland is instead investing in de-escalation trainings to handle situations without calling the police.
publications
June 25, 2018

Letter to Senate on Advancing Sentencing Reform legislation

The Sentencing Project urges the Senate to move quickly to pass sentencing reform legislation, like the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act (S. 1917) sponsored by Senators Charles Grassley and Richard Durbin, to help create a safer, more equitable and fairer prison system.
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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’.
news
The Sentencing Project on the Incarceration of Migrant Children
June 22, 2018

The Sentencing Project on the Incarceration of Migrant Children

We call on the Trump Administration, Congress, and federal agencies to act urgently to reunite all children who have been separated from their families, to revoke the zero-tolerance policy and to reject an expanded policy of family detention.
publications
June 22, 2018

Trends in U.S. Corrections

The Sentencing Project's key fact sheet provides a compilation of major developments in the criminal justice system over the past several decades.
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Featured Story

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.
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