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Sentencing Policy

publications
July 23, 2019

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.
publications
July 17, 2019

WEBINAR: Take the Next Step to End Mass incarceration

The next step to ending mass incarceration must include scaling back excessive penalties for people convicted of violent crimes.
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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.
publications
July 12, 2019

WEBINAR: Women and Life Imprisonment

The Sentencing Project's Campaign to End Life Imprisonment hosted a webinar discussing research and advocacy around women serving life imprisonment.
publications
July 03, 2019

Women and Girls Serving Life Sentences

Nationwide one of every 15 women in prison — nearly 7,000 women — is serving a life or virtual life sentence.
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December 01, 2017

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.
news
State Advocacy News: Local Strategies to Address Life Imprisonment
June 28, 2019

State Advocacy News: Local Strategies to Address Life Imprisonment

State organizers and advocates are challenging mass incarceration through reforms to recalibrate life and long prison terms. These efforts require legal reforms to correct the nation’s sentencing systems.
news
U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Calls for Limiting Collateral Consequences
June 13, 2019

U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Calls for Limiting Collateral Consequences

More than 44,000 collateral consequences exist nationwide that continue to punish people with felony records long after the completion of their sentence. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights report provides actionable recommendations to the President, Congress and federal agencies on how to scale back these punishments.
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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.
publications
June 06, 2019

Incarcerated Women and Girls

Over the past quarter century, there has been a profound change in the involvement of women within the criminal justice system. This is the result of more expansive law enforcement efforts, stiffer drug sentencing laws, and post-conviction barriers to reentry that uniquely affect women.
news
State Advocacy News: Steps to Challenge Mass Incarceration
May 29, 2019

State Advocacy News: Steps to Challenge Mass Incarceration

Many state legislatures are in the final days of session. The next few months are an opportunity for community organizers and policy advocates to reflect on recent successes and challenges in the movement to end mass incarceration.
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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.
news
Vox: Amy Klobuchar has a plan to reverse the war on drugs — and doesn’t need Congress to do it
May 02, 2019

Vox: Amy Klobuchar has a plan to reverse the war on drugs — and doesn’t need Congress to do it

In an effort to scale back mass incarceration and the war on drugs, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar outlined a plan to set up a new system of clemency that would release thousands of people in federal prison with excessively long sentences, reports Vox.
news
State Advocacy News: Grassroots Strategies to End Life Imprisonment
April 29, 2019

State Advocacy News: Grassroots Strategies to End Life Imprisonment

State groups in California and New York are anchoring grassroots efforts to limit extreme sentences in support of scaling back mass incarceration.
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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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