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June 21, 2022

Race & Justice News: North Carolina Re-Enfranchises People on Probation and Parole

North Carolina Court re-enfranchises people on probation and parole, state supreme courts lack racial diversity, and more in the latest Race & Justice Newsletter.
publications
May 12, 2022

Incarcerated Women and Girls

Research on female incarceration is critical to understanding the full consequences of mass incarceration and to unraveling the policies and practices that lead to their criminalization. The number of incarcerated women was nearly five times higher in 2020 than in 1980.
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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.
news
February 25, 2022

Race & Justice News: Biased Criminalization of Gun Possession

Momentum is building for racial impact statement analysis of legislation in more states, public defenders oppose biased criminalization of gun possession, and more in the latest Race & Justice News.
news
February 22, 2022

Can COVID-19 Teach Us How to End Mass Incarceration?

In the University of Miami Law Review, Amy Fettig penned an essay that examines the federal, state and local government response to the COVID-19 pandemic in prisons and what lessons can be learned in our ongoing need to decarcerate and end the era of mass incarceration.
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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
February 14, 2022

Letter to Justice Department on Appointment of Bureau of Prisons Director

In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, The Sentencing Project urges the Department of Justice to hire a new Bureau of Prisons Director who is capable of and committed to leading the Bureau through systemic reform.

publications
December 08, 2021

Successes in Criminal Legal Reforms, 2021

Formerly incarcerated activists, lawmakers, and advocates achieved important changes in criminal justice policy in 2021 to reduce mass incarceration, expand voting rights and advance racial justice. This briefing paper highlights key reforms undertaken in 2021 prioritized by The Sentencing Project.
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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.
publications
December 06, 2021

Amicus Brief in Support of Ending Extreme Sentences for Youth in Maryland

The Sentencing Project joined with partners at the MacArthur Justice Center, the Juvenile Law Center, and others who oppose extreme sentences for youth on an amicus brief to end those sentences in Maryland and to require a finding of permanent incorrigibility under the Maryland Declaration of Rights during sentencing.
publications
November 03, 2021

Testimony in support of Washington, DC's Revised Criminal Code Act of 2021

Passage of the Revised Criminal Code Act of 2021 would go far in aligning D.C.’s criminal penalties with criminological evidence on how to advance public safety.
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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.
publications
November 03, 2021

Conversation About Crime Survivors and Restorative Justice Issues

The Sentencing Project and national victim/survivor advocate Anne Seymour sponsored a virtual conversation to address the critical issue of restorative justice practices both pre- and post-conviction. The goal of the conversation was to identify strategies that can more wholly address the needs of survivors, those who harm them, and the communities in which they reside.
publications
October 29, 2021

Amicus Brief in Support of Ending Felony Murder LWOP Sentences in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, some 1,100 people are serving life-without-parole (LWOP) sentences despite never having intended to take a life. Pennsylvania is one of just six states that mandate LWOP for all individuals convicted of felony murder.
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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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