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publications
June 28, 2017

Incarceration Rates in an International Perspective

A nation’s rate of incarceration is the number of people incarcerated as a proportion of its total population. Internationally, there is broad variation in the degree to which nations incarcerate their citizens, with a nearly 40-fold difference between the highest and lowest rates. The incarceration rate is often interpreted as a measurement of the degree of punitiveness in a society, although it is an imperfect measurement.
publications
June 26, 2017

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.
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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
Race & Justice News: Police Officers Speak More Respectfully to White Drivers
June 26, 2017

Race & Justice News: Police Officers Speak More Respectfully to White Drivers

Police body camera footage shows Oakland police officers speak more respectfully to white drivers than black drivers, Native Americans are three times more likely to be killed by law enforcement than their white counterparts, and more in Race and Justice News.
news
Jeff Sessions wants a new war on drugs. It won’t work.
June 23, 2017

Jeff Sessions wants a new war on drugs. It won’t work.

In The Washington Post, David Cole of the ACLU and Marc Mauer explain why Sessions' revival of the drug war will devastate families without reducing crime or solving the drug crisis.  
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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.
news
Sessions is taking us back to the future
June 19, 2017

Sessions is taking us back to the future

Sessions' new "tough on crime" directive will inevitably contribute to a rise in the federal prison population and will be counterproductive to promoting public safety, write Marc Mauer and Kara Gotsch in an op-ed for the San Francisco Daily Journal.
publications
June 14, 2017

Federal Prisons at a Crossroads

Recently enacted policy changes at the Department of Justice and certain Congressional proposals may jeopardize federal sentencing progress.
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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.
news
WATCH: Attorney General calls for toughest charges for people in custody
May 16, 2017

WATCH: Attorney General calls for toughest charges for people in custody

Marc Mauer responds to AG Sessions' decision to end the DOJ's Smart on Crime initiative on CBS News.
news
Jeff Sessions decision to re-up in the drug war won't work
May 15, 2017

Jeff Sessions decision to re-up in the drug war won't work

Kara Gotsch and Marc Mauer explain why the Attorney General's newly issued sentencing directive to federal prosecutors is a devastating revival of the War on Drugs.
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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’.
news
Federal Prison Population will Expand under new DOJ Directive
May 12, 2017

Federal Prison Population will Expand under new DOJ Directive

The Sentencing Project condemns DOJ’s return to harsh enforcement of low-level drug crimes
news
Life Without Redemption
May 09, 2017

Life Without Redemption

Ashley Nellis and Marc Mauer
When 1 in 7 Americans in prison is serving a life term, it's time to rethink our failed crime policies.
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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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