February 28, 2018
Race & Justice News: As Cities Become Safer, Racial Disparities Decrease
Report finds that as the rate of violent crime decreased in U.S. cities, other societal conditions have improved; Seattle, San Francisco, and San Diego apply marijuana reforms retroactively; and more in Race & Justice News.
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.
February 06, 2018
Letter in support of the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act
As the Judiciary Committee prepares to consider the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act this month, The Sentencing Project writes to offer its endorsement of the bill’s passage.
February 05, 2018
Thousands are stuck in prison — just because of the date they were sentenced
Sometimes unfair laws punish people who deserve a second chance. We cannot allow the random day on which people are sentenced to prison be their primary obstacle to justice.
January 31, 2018
Top Trends in State Criminal Justice Reform, 2017
In recent years a number of states have enacted reforms designed to reduce the scale of incarceration and impact of the collateral consequences of a felony conviction. This briefing paper describes key reforms undertaken in 2017.
January 22, 2018
Race & Justice News: Kansas Disregards Racial Profiling Complaints
Kansas law enforcement has not confirmed any of the 592 racial profiling complaints filed over the past five years, racial disparities decline in U.S. prisons, and more in Race and Justice News.
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.
January 12, 2018
Jared Kushner's Prison Reform Plan Doesn't Promise Much
Jared Kushner hosted a listening session for President Donald Trump on prison reform. Unfortunately, his plans don’t inspire much optimism, nor do the actions of the administration thus far.
January 10, 2018
Oklahoma’s Life-Sentenced Population Rising Faster than National Trends
Oklahoma has increased its life-sentenced population steadily over the past 20 years to the point where one in eight prisoners is now serving life.
December 20, 2017
State Advocacy News: Tools to Reform Life Sentences
State advocates are initiating hard conversations to challenge extreme sentences.
December 13, 2017
Opioids: Treating an Illness, Ending a War
The lessons from past drug crises and the evidence supporting a public health approach can guide policymakers as they seek an end to the current opioid crisis—without revamping the failed and costly War on Drugs.
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.