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June 18, 2015
Race & Justice News: Connecticut Struggles to Reform Drug-Free-Zone Law

Reforms: Connecticut Struggles to Reform Drug-Free-Zone Law » GO

JJDPA Reauthorization Would Require Reductions in Racial and Ethnic Disparities

Policing: Minneapolis Police Disproportionately Enforce Low-Level Offenses Among People of Color

Black Drivers in Missouri 75% More Likely to be Stopped Than Whites

Incarceration: Nearly Half of Black Women Have a Family Member in Prison

School-to-Prison Pipeline: Black Students Disproportionately Arrested in Louisiana's Jefferson Parish

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

May 15, 2015 (NPR)
After Baltimore And Ferguson, Major Momentum For Criminal Justice System Reform

Lawmakers working on fixes to the justice system say that unrest in places like Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore is pushing them to act.

"The whole idea of a young man dying in police custody, the confrontations with police, the looting and burning of innocent minority owned businesses," Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn said on the Senate floor this month. "The question arises, what can we do?"

May 13, 2015 (Christian Science Monitor)
For Tsarnaev, would life without parole be less humane than death?

Ken Hartman is 55 and healthy, but he says he feels like he was killed decades ago. When he was 19, he beat a homeless man to death in an alcohol- and drug-fueled rage, and he has spent the past 35 years in prison. So long as he is alive, he will not be eligible to leave.

Mr. Hartman is among the 50,000 prisoners in the United States serving life without parole sentences, a number that has increased 22 percent since 2008, according to a 2013 report by The Sentencing Project. And on Wednesday, the jury in the Boston Marathon bombings trial will begin deliberating over whether to add Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to that group.