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Sentencing Policy

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Race & Justice News: Homicide Clearance Disparities Contribute to Capital Punishment Disparities
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.
publications
August 02, 2018

Private Prisons in the United States

U.S. private prisons incarcerated 128,063 people in 2016, representing 8.5% of the total state and federal prison population.  
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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.
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State Advocacy News: Transforming Closed Adult and Youth Prisons
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.
publications
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.
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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
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.
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State Advocacy News: Advocacy Planning for Criminal Justice Reform
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.
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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’.
publications
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.
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NBC Nightly News: Kim Kardashian visits White House to talk prison and sentencing reform
June 04, 2018

NBC Nightly News: Kim Kardashian visits White House to talk prison and sentencing reform

Marc Mauer explains why sentencing reform is necessary to provide relief to the thousands of people in federal prison serving life without parole for non-violent drug offenses.
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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
May 21, 2018

The Sentencing Project responds to First Step Act Legislation

Without provisions in the FIRST STEP Act to reduce the excessive sentencing produced by mandatory minimums for drug offenses, overcrowding will persist and thereby divert resources from programs to reduce recidivism.
publications
May 10, 2018

Incarcerated Women and Girls

Over the past quarter century, there has been a profound change in the involvement of women within the criminal justice system. This is the result of more expansive law enforcement efforts, stiffer drug sentencing laws, and post-conviction barriers to reentry that uniquely affect women.
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Featured Story
December 01, 2017

James Inge

James D. Inge is one of 300 individuals age 60 or older arrested between 1965 and 1980 that was sentenced to life imprisonment in Pennsylvania. Learn more about his campaign to give rehabilitated seniors serving life a second chance.
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