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.
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.
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.
July 31, 2018
State Advocacy News: Transforming Closed Adult and Youth Prisons
Lessons for stakeholders include prioritizing prison population reduction efforts and planning for prison repurposing.
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.
June 25, 2018
Letter to Senate on Advancing Sentencing Reform legislation
The Sentencing Project urges the Senate to move quickly to pass sentencing reform legislation, like the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act (S. 1917) sponsored by Senators Charles Grassley and Richard Durbin, to help create a safer, more equitable and fairer prison system.
June 22, 2018
Trends in U.S. Corrections
The Sentencing Project's key fact sheet provides a compilation of major developments in the criminal justice system over the past several decades.
June 18, 2018
State Advocacy News: Advocacy Planning for Criminal Justice Reform
Summer offers an opportunity for advocates to build momentum for policy and organizing goals. Our State Advocacy Newsletter offers strategies and tools you can use for your next campaign.
June 15, 2018
Letter Against Synthetic Drug Bill that Expands Penalties for Federal Drug Offenses
As part of a larger coalition, The Sentencing Project opposes the Stop Importation and Trafficking of Synthetic Analogues (SITSA) Act of 2017 which would disproportionately incarcerate those with low-level federal drug offenses, concentrate power solely within the Department of Justice and criminalize people with substance use disorder who need treatment, not punishment.
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.