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South Carolina Legislature must reform life-without-parole sentences
September 21, 2017

South Carolina Legislature must reform life-without-parole sentences

Ashley Nellis
South Carolina has started down the road to criminal justice reform — a beginning, but it is a long road. A legislative package designed to accelerate the state’s progress ought to include consideration of reforms to long-term sentences.
publications
August 28, 2017

Private Prisons in the United States

U.S. private prisons incarcerated 126,272 people in 2015, representing 8% of the total state and federal prison population.
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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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Race & Justice News: A Visual Double Standard in Media Coverage of Opioid and Crack Epidemics
August 21, 2017

Race & Justice News: A Visual Double Standard in Media Coverage of Opioid and Crack Epidemics

Media coverage of the opioid epidemic—which largely affects suburban and rural whites—portrays it as an outside threat and focuses on treatment and recovery, while stories of heroin in the 1970s, crack-cocaine in the 1980s, and other drug problems that impact urban people of color today have focused on the drug user’s morality.
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Life Sentences, Long Sentences Imposed on Youth Need 2nd Look
August 04, 2017

Life Sentences, Long Sentences Imposed on Youth Need 2nd Look

As young people age and mature they develop the capacity to make different choices, writes Ashley Nellis in the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange.
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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.
publications
August 01, 2017

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 27, 2017

The Sentencing Project's Comments to U.S. Sentencing Commission on 2018 Policy Priorities

The Sentencing Project asks the Commission to take a fresh look at the guidelines structure to determine if sentence lengths are sufficient, but not greater than necessary, to achieve the goals of sentencing.
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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.
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Texas should stop spending billions to incarcerate so many people for life
July 21, 2017

Texas should stop spending billions to incarcerate so many people for life

Ashley Nellis and Elizabeth Henneke
It costs $1 million to incarcerate someone for life. Texans must ask themselves whether they want to continue spending billions, despite diminishing public safety benefits associated with lengthy prison terms.
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Race & Justice News: Disparities in New Jersey Traffic Tickets and Marijuana Arrests
July 17, 2017

Race & Justice News: Disparities in New Jersey Traffic Tickets and Marijuana Arrests

Racial disparities in New Jersey’s marijuana arrests are at an all-time high, Los Angeles may have decriminalized illegal street food vending in response to Trump's immigration policies, and more in Race and Justice News.
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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.
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Next step for Louisiana prison reform is to review life sentences
July 07, 2017

Next step for Louisiana prison reform is to review life sentences

Louisiana lawmakers still need to prioritize changes to its long-term and life sentences, which account for nearly 1 of every 3 state prisoners, writes Ashley Nellis in an op-ed for NOLA.com.
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State Advocacy Update: Texas Set to Close 4 Prisons
June 29, 2017

State Advocacy Update: Texas Set to Close 4 Prisons

Recently, state lawmakers have taken steps to address high rates of incarceration. These policy reforms ranged from deciding to close state prisons, changing sentencing laws, and improving college access for persons with criminal convictions.
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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’.
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