The Sentencing Project News
July 1, 2015
State Advocacy Update: Alabama and Texas Address Lifetime Federal Public Benefits Ban
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.
June 30, 2015
Disenfranchisement News: Virginia governor removes financial barrier for voting rights restoration
Virginia: Governor removes modern day "poll tax"
National: Hillary Clinton calls for sweeping voting rights reforms
Voter turnout among people with felony convictions
June 26, 2015 (RT)
Mississippi private prisons hold inmates longer, without reducing crime – study
Nazgol Ghandnoosh, a research analyst at The Sentencing Project, appeared on the RT news network to discuss a new study finding that prison stays tend to be longer for individuals in for-profit facilities than public prisons in Mississippi.
June 16, 2015 (The Sentencing Project)
The time is now to raise the age of criminal responsibility
In an open letter hand-delivered to Albany, The Sentencing Project and sixty other organizations, including international human rights groups, social workers, faith-based organizations, criminal justice reform groups, and children's advocates, strongly urged the passage of Raise the Age legislation in New York before the session ends this week.
Currently, New York remains one of only two states that still prosecute all 16- and 17-year-olds in the justice system as adults. New York also houses 16- and 17-year-olds in adult jails and prisons, where they are at grave risk of suicide, rape, and physical abuse, and often do not receive appropriate services.
With days remaining until the 2015 legislative session ends, it is imperative that there be no further delay in raising the age. The letter describes the horrific risks faced by youth incarcerated as adults, the collateral consequences of prosecuting children as adults, and evidence from other states that raising the age has proven to increase public safety.
June 15, 2015 (The Sentencing Project)
New Report: Was There a "Ferguson Effect" on Crime in St. Louis?
A new analysis by The Sentencing Project finds little support for a so-called “Ferguson effect” on crime in St. Louis, Missouri. The “Ferguson effect” describes a conjecture by some commentators that rising crime rates in some urban areas in recent months are the result of widespread protests against police misconduct and calls for reform. The movement spread across the nation in response to a stream of highly publicized killings of unarmed black men and boys by police, starting with the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri last August.
June 1, 2015
State Advocacy Update: Grassroots Strategy to Address Mass Incarceration
Reinforcing broad support to address mass incarceration has been a priority for several state advocacy organizations. This year, grassroots organizations in California, Maryland, and North Carolina organized lobby days in support of policy goals to scale back harsh criminal justice practices.
May 26, 2015
Disenfranchisement News: MD Governor vetoes bill to restore voting rights to 40,000 people
Alabama: House approves bill that defines which offenses result in forfeiture of voting rights
Maryland: Governor vetoes bill to restore voting rights to 40,000 people
Minnesota: Voting rights provision stripped from public safety bill
National: Presidential candidates call for felony disenfranchisement reform
May 25, 2015
America’s Disappeared Black Men
"Mike Brown. Eric Garner. Walter Scott. Freddie Gray. These are the names of black men from around the United States who have disappeared from this world in the past year due to tragic encounters with police. But they are only the most visible examples of men who have gone missing as a result of deeply flawed criminal justice system in the United States," writes Jeremy Haile, Federal Advocacy Counsel at The Sentencing Project, in teleSUR.
May 24, 2015 (The New York Times)
How to Lock Up Fewer People
"When Hillary Rodham Clinton, Ted Cruz, Eric H. Holder Jr., Jeb Bush, George Soros, Marco Rubio and Charles G. Koch all agree that we must end mass incarceration, it is clear that times have changed," write The Sentencing Project's Executive Director Marc Mauer and Georgetown Law professor David Cole. "Not long ago, most politicians believed the only tenable stance on crime was to be tougher than the next guy."
May 18, 2015
Race & Justice News: Why Are 1.5 Million Black Men "Missing"?
Policing: Over one quarter of police officers are people of color
Connecticut study identifies racial disparities in traffic stops
Reforms: Justice Department faces challenges in ensuring constitutional policing
Incarceration: "Missing" black men due to high incarceration and mortality rates
Fines and fees: States suspend driver's licenses over court-related debt
School discipline: Virginia schools top the nation in sending students to law enforcement