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August 24, 2015 (Daily Journal)
Evidence Doesn't Support Federal Prosecutors' Drug Sentencing Reform "Myths"

In July, the National Association of Assistant U.S Attorneys (NAAUSA) released a report that challenges a number of claims attributed to proponents of federal drug sentencing reform. In a recent commentary for the Daily Journal, The Sentencing Project's Jeremy Haile shows that the evidence does not support the prosecutors' "myths." The truth is that federal mandatory minimum drug penalties have exacted enormous costs -- both fiscal and human -- without benefiting public safety.


August 9, 2015 (Business Insider)
There's blatant inequality at nearly every phase of the criminal justice system

Social science research shows striking racial disparities at nearly every level of the criminal justice system—from arrest rates, to bail amounts, to sentence lengths, to probation hearing outcomes. In eight charts, Business Insider explores what it’s like to be black in the U.S. justice system.


August 7, 2015 (The American Prospect)
The Growing Movement to Restore Voting Rights to Former Felons

On August 6, the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, dozens of Baltimore residents rallied and marched alongside community members to protest their disenfranchisement as the result of a former felony conviction.

In May, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan vetoed a bill which would have granted individuals with felony convictions the right to vote when they return home from prison, rather than making them wait until after their probation and parole sentences have been completed (some sentences can last for decades).

 


August 5, 2015 (The Los Angeles Times)
California will restore voting rights to 45,000 people on community supervision

California election officials are reversing a policy that prevents 45,000 felons from casting ballots, placing the state in the forefront of a movement to boost voting rights for ex-criminals.

California has until now maintained that state law prohibits felons from voting not only when they are in prison or on parole but also when they are under community supervision.

Secretary of State Alex Padilla said Tuesday that the state would now back voting rights for felons on community supervision, which is generally overseen by county probation departments.


July 31, 2015
Disenfranchisement News: Growing momentum for restoring the right to vote

Florida: Presidential candidates' felony disenfranchisement records

National: Growing momentum for restoring the right to vote

The "war on drugs" and black disenfranchisement

Racial attitudes and ideology affect support for restoration of voting rights


July 16, 2015 (Al Jazeera America)
President Obama's prison visit caps big week for justice reform

"President Barack Obama’s tour of El Reno federal prison in Oklahoma on Thursday, the first such visit made to a prison by a sitting president, caps a momentous week for the criminal justice reform movement," reports Al Jazeera America.


July 16, 2015 (MSNBC)
Pres. Obama pushes criminal justice reform

The Sentencing Project's Executive Director Marc Mauer appeared on MSNBC to talk criminal justice reform with USC Law Professor Jody Armour on News Nation. In this segment, they discuss how excessively long sentences do not take into account human capacity for change, the stark racial disparities in the criminal justice system, and rising bi-partisan support for reform measures across the country.


July 14, 2015 (The Sentencing Project)
The Sentencing Project Urges Congress to Act on Criminal Justice Reform

Today, The Sentencing Project joined dozens of criminal justice, civil and human rights, and faith leaders in urging Congress to act to reduce unsustainable federal prison populations and racial disparities in criminal justice system. 

As the House Oversight & Government Reform committee began a two-day examination of the criminal justice system, The Sentencing Project called on Congress to take meaningful steps -- including reducing mandatory drug sentences and promoting recidivism reduction and reentry programming -- to help establish a justice system that is both fair and consistent with public safety.


July 13, 2015 (Los Angeles Times)
Obama grants clemency to 46 individuals serving time for non-violent drug offenses

Yesterday, President Obama commuted the sentences of 46 individuals serving time for drug offenses, doubling the number of clemencies he has granted as part of his administration’s efforts to reform the criminal justice system.


July 1, 2015
State Advocacy Update: Alabama and Texas Address Lifetime Federal Public Benefits Ban

Alabama:

Texas:

Efforts to reinstate federal ban in other states: Pennsylvana, Missouri, and Maine

Other news: Alaska, Illinois, Michigan, New York, and Virginia

In recent months there has been legislative reform to modify the federal food stamp ban in states like Alabama and Texas. In 1996, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) imposed a lifetime denial of federal benefits for cash and food assistance to people convicted in state or federal courts of felony drug offenses; the ban is imposed for no other offenses but drug crimes. States can opt out of the federal ban or modify it by authorizing legislative reform. States that have not authorized a legislative remedy include Alaska, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming. During 2014, Missouri modified the federal ban and California opted out of the full ban.