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February 2, 2016
Disenfranchisement News: Maryland House Votes to Expand Voting Rights

Maryland: House votes to expand voting rights to people on probation and parole 

Kentucky: Governor reverses predecessor's executive order to restore voting rights 

California: Combating misinformation on voting rights restoration 

January 28, 2016
State Advocacy Update: Unlocking the Vote with Grassroots Support

Maryland: Unlocking the Vote

New Jersey: Challenging Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System

Missouri: Scaling Back Truth in Sentencing

Other News: Conneticut, Delaware, Kansas, and more

January 20, 2016
Race & Justice News: The Limits of Focusing on Racial Disparity

Books: Youth of Color in the Changing Juvenile Justice System

The Limits of Focusing on Racial Disparity

Policing: Racial and Ethnic Disparities in New Jersey’s Low-Level Offense Arrests 

Milwaukee Police Department Requests Justice Department Review

Nationwide Racial Disparities in Drivers Killed by Police 

Sentencing: Rhode Island’s Overburdened and Racially Imbalanced Probation System

January 7, 2016 (Guardian)
Our compassion for drug users should not be determined by race

"Political leaders are displaying increasing amounts of empathy for those suffering from addiction. But, in a society still largely divided along racial lines, our willingness to express compassion is all too often a function of how much we can personally identify with those who are suffering – and that goes for presidential candidates too," writes The Sentencing Project's Executive Director Marc Mauer in the Guardian.

January 3, 2016 (Democracy Journal)
A 20-Year Maximum for Prison Sentences

To kick off 2016, Democracy Journal asked contributors for one targeted and straightforward idea that the next presidential administration should pursue in a symposium called "16 for ’16." The Sentencing Project's Marc Mauer's contribution proposes a 20-year maximum on federal sentences, barring exceptional circumstances.

December 16, 2015 (The Sentencing Project)
Race & Justice News: Are Judges or Prosecutors Driving Racial Disparity in Sentencing?

Federal Sentencing: Are Judges or Prosecutors Driving Racial Disparity in Post-Booker Sentencing?

Prosecution: Caddo Parish Elects First Black District Attorney

Pretrial Detention: Pretrial Detention Based on Resources, Not Risk, Produces Racial Disparities and Fuels Mass Incarceration

Juvenile Justice: Deeper Justice-System Involvement Increases Youth Mortality

Minority Threat in Juvenile Court Outcomes

December 8, 2015 (RT)
Plea bargaining on the rise, contributes to racial disparities

According the US Sentencing Commission, over 90 percent of convictions in the federal system come from guilty pleas. For state systems, it’s around 95 percent. The Sentencing Project's research analyst Nazgol Ghandnoosh sits down with RT’s Lindsay France to discuss the proliferation of plea deals and how they create a “black box” within the criminal justice system and contribute to racial disparities.

November 26, 2015 (Associated Press)
In 2016 Campaign, Both Parties Want Reform in Justice System

"On the campaign trail, among candidates of both parties, the idea of locking up drug criminals for life is a lot less popular than it was a generation ago," reports the Associated Press. "The 2016 presidential race has accelerated an evolution away from the traditional tough-on-crime candidate. A Republican Party that's long taken a law-and-order stance finds itself desperate to improve its standing among minority voters, and Democratic candidates are also being drawn into national conversations on policing, drug crimes and prison costs."

November 24, 2015 (New York Times)
Kentucky Governor Restores Voting Rights to Thousands of Felons

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear’s executive action today automatically restored voting rights to an estimated 100,000 persons with non-violent felony convictions who have completed their sentences. Kentucky is one of only four states, along with Iowa, Florida, and Virginia, which disenfranchise all persons with felony convictions even after completion of sentence. Voting rights in these states can only be restored through action of a governor or pardons board. An estimated 243,000 Kentuckians with felony convictions have lost their right to vote, including 180,000 who have completed their sentence.

November 17, 2015 (Courier-Journal)
Congress should pass criminal justice reform

"A few weeks ago, a remarkable thing happened in Congress. A bipartisan group of senators introduced a substantive criminal justice reform bill that stands a good chance of passage in the coming months," writes Jeremy Haile in the Courier-Journal.

Author: Jeremy Haile