Skip to main content

Issues

Sentencing Policy

publications
December 04, 2018

The Meaning of Life: The Case for Abolishing Life Sentences

Marc Mauer and Ashley Nellis
The dramatic growth of life imprisonment requires advocates and lawmakers to address the problem of excessive sentencing to end mass incarceration.
publications
The Sentencing Project Calls on Congress to Pass First Step Act
November 28, 2018

The Sentencing Project Calls on Congress to Pass First Step Act

In a letter sent to Senate and House leadership, The Sentencing Project urged Congress to move quickly to pass the sentencing reform measures in the First Step Act (S.3649) "to help create a safer, more equitable and fairer justice system."
Featured Story
Featured Story

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
Policy Proposal: Instate 15-Year Maximum Wait For Parole Eligibility
November 20, 2018

Policy Proposal: Instate 15-Year Maximum Wait For Parole Eligibility

Expedited parole consideration for people serving parole-eligible life sentences and the reinstatement of parole for all sentences would serve as a realistic challenge to mass incarceration and provide a better approach to advancing public safety.
news
The Sentencing Project Launches Campaign to End Life Imprisonment
November 09, 2018

The Sentencing Project Launches Campaign to End Life Imprisonment

Join The Sentencing Project & Public Welfare Foundation on December 4th for our campaign launch and release of The Meaning of Life: The Case for Abolishing Life Sentences.
Featured Story
Featured Story

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
State Criminal Justice Reform and the 2018 Midterms
November 07, 2018

State Criminal Justice Reform and the 2018 Midterms

Voters across the nation considered a number of criminal justice reform measures—ranging from voting rights to sentencing reform.
publications
November 05, 2018

Long-Term Sentences: Time to Reconsider the Scale of Punishment

Unduly long prison terms are counterproductive for public safety and contribute to the dynamic of diminishing returns as the prison system has expanded.
Featured Story
Featured Story

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.
news
State Advocacy News: Retroactivity and Criminal Justice Reform
November 05, 2018

State Advocacy News: Retroactivity and Criminal Justice Reform

Voters decide on ballot proposals for retroactive sentencing and the restoration of voting rights to people with felony convictions.
publications
October 22, 2018

Juvenile Life Without Parole: An Overview

Josh Rovner
The United States stands alone as the only nation that sentences people to life without parole for crimes committed before turning 18. This briefing paper reviews the Supreme Court precedents that limited the use of JLWOP and the challenges that remain.
Featured Story
Featured Story

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
State Advocacy News: Criminal Justice Reform on the Ballot
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.
publications
September 05, 2018

Decarceration Strategies: How 5 States Achieved Substantial Prison Population Reductions

Dennis Schrantz, Stephen DeBor, and Marc Mauer
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.
Featured Story
Featured Story

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.
Load More