November 09, 2018
The Sentencing Project Launches Campaign to End Life Imprisonment
Join The Sentencing Project & Public Welfare Foundation on December 4 for the Campaign to End Life Imprisonment launch event, featuring the release of The Meaning of Life: The Case for Abolishing Life Sentences and Brave New Films’ examination of the impact of life sentences.
November 07, 2018
State Criminal Justice Reform and the 2018 Midterms
Voters across the nation considered a number of criminal justice reform measures—ranging from voting rights to sentencing reform.
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.
November 05, 2018
Long-Term Sentences: Time to Reconsider the Scale of Punishment
Unduly long prison terms are counterproductive for public safety and contribute to the dynamic of diminishing returns as the prison system has expanded.
November 05, 2018
State Advocacy News: Retroactivity and Criminal Justice Reform
Voters decide on ballot proposals for retroactive sentencing and the restoration of voting rights to people with felony convictions.
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 22, 2018
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.
September 29, 2018
State Advocacy News: Criminal Justice Reform on the Ballot
Proposed ballot measures this November include an expansion of voting rights for persons with felony convictions, sentencing reform, and addressing police use of force standards.
September 05, 2018
Decarceration Strategies: How 5 States Achieved Substantial Prison Population Reductions
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.
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 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.
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.