January 28, 2019
Pennsylvania is poised for much-needed criminal justice reform, but can we abolish life without parole?
Pennsylvania is leading a nationwide trend of ever-lengthening prison terms. One in six people in prison is serving a life sentence, the vast majority of whom have no chance at a parole review.
January 16, 2019
Top Trends in State Criminal Justice Reform, 2018
In 2018, formerly incarcerated activists, lawmakers, and advocates worked to challenge mass incarceration. This briefing paper highlights key changes in criminal justice policy achieved.
January 03, 2019
Race & Justice News: Florida Judges Not Blameless for Biased Pleas
Judges in Florida are not blameless for biased plea deals, Denver's curfew law enforcement targets Latino youth, and more in Race & Justice News.
December 18, 2018
Criminal justice reform doesn't end system's racial bias
Efforts still leave black men more likely to be arrested, sentenced and imprisoned for the same behavior
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 30, 2018
Race & Justice News: Blacks Disproportionately Arrested for Marijuana in Alabama
Blacks in Alabama were four times as likely to be arrested for marijuana possession in 2016 as whites, L.A. County deputies disproportionately stop Latinos to find drugs, and more in Race & Justice News.
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.
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’.
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.
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.