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State Advocacy News: From Protest to Policy
June 12, 2020

State Advocacy News: From Protest to Policy

Following the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and so many others the nation is demanding justice through direct actions and mass mobilizations. Strategic solutions include a range of recommendations that address racial disparities, reduced law enforcement interactions, and sentencing reforms.
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Race & Justice News: Los Angeles Discontinues a Predictive-Policing Program
May 11, 2020

Race & Justice News: Los Angeles Discontinues a Predictive-Policing Program

Los Angeles ends its predictive-policing program viewed as biased, African Americans face disproportionate arrest rates for marijuana possession, African and Caribbean Immigrants Disproportionately Isolated in ICE Custody, and more in Race & Justice News.
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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.
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State Advocacy News: Prisons, Protest and COVID-19
May 05, 2020

State Advocacy News: Prisons, Protest and COVID-19

Despite the pandemic, advocates are finding new ways to continue challenging mass incarceration through virtual events and social distance gatherings.
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State Advocacy News: Reform Responses to COVID-19
April 06, 2020

State Advocacy News: Reform Responses to COVID-19

COVID-19 has led state advocates to demand prison and jail systems decarcerate to stem outbreaks in facilities often challenged by poor conditions and overcrowding. Decarceration practices or calls for reform have been documented in at least 31 states and the District of Columbia to reduce health risks for incarcerated persons vulnerable to COVID-19.
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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.
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March 24, 2020

Bipartisan Coalition Calls on President Trump to Commute Federal Prison Sentences for Populations Most Vulnerable to COVID-19

Justice reform leaders sent a letter to President Trump urging him to utilize his clemency power to extend compassionate release in federal prisons to elderly people and those with serious health conditions who are exceptionally vulnerable to coronavirus.
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March 18, 2020

The Sentencing Project Releases its 2019 Annual Report

Learn more about how our research and analysis in 2019 played a major role in shaping campaign priorities around criminal justice reform and highlighting the impact of excessive sentencing.
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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.
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State Advocacy Newsletter: Unlocking the Vote 2020
March 06, 2020

State Advocacy Newsletter: Unlocking the Vote 2020

The 2020 election season offers an opportunity to increase public awareness about felony disenfranchisement laws to expand voter eligibility. During the era of mass incarceration the overall disenfranchisement rate increased substantially. In recent years, substantial reforms have expanded the vote to millions of individuals.
publications
March 03, 2020

Letter in Support of Maryland Bill to Remove Governor from Parole Process

In a letter of support submitted to Maryland legislators, The Sentencing Project's Director of Advocacy Nicole Porter highlighted the importance of House Bill 1219/Senate Bill 817 which eliminates the governor’s approval requirement for parole recommendations of life-sentenced prisoners by the Maryland Parole Commission who have served 20 years in prison.
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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.
publications
February 25, 2020

Juvenile Life Without Parole: An Overview

Josh Rovner
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.
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February 20, 2020

People Serving Life Exceeds Entire Prison Population of 1970

In this report, we present a closer look at the rise in life sentences amidst the overall incarceration expansion.
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Theresa McIntyre Smith

In 1999, Theresa Smith was arrested at an airport after she met a drug courier in Roy Mercer’s network and according to the government, identified a suitcase containing eleven kilograms of cocaine for the courier. Smith said she had been told by Mercer that the suitcase contained his nieces’ clothes. For this first-time non-violent offense, Smith was sentenced to a ten-year mandatory prison term.
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