The Sentencing Project News
March 11, 2013 (Hernando Today)
“Let felons vote after they complete sentence”
In an editorial, writer Rhonda Swan compared U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s opposition to the Voting Rights Act as a "perpetuation of racial entitlement" to Florida’s disenfranchisement of people of color which maintains the “racial entitlement of those who seek to keep them disenfranchised.”
She noted that Florida is “where elected officials routinely try to disenfranchise people of color.
“There was the voter purge of 2,000 that dropped thousands of eligible African American voters from the rolls in an effort supposedly to keep felons from the polls—a purge that went so well that Republicans in Florida tried it again last year with an attempt to drop 2,600 suspected illegal immigrants from voter rolls. Only 207 turned out not to be citizens.”
In 2011, Gov. Rick Scott overturned former Gov. Charlie Crist’s policy to allow restoration of civil rights to nonviolent offenders immediately after completing their sentences. Now she wrote “all former prisoners must wait up to seven years to apply to get back their rights.”
March 11, 2013 (The Sentencing Project)
New Publication: Tinkering with Life: A Look at the Inappropriateness of Life Without Parole as an Alternative to the Death Penalty
“Tinkering with Life: A Look at the Inappropriateness of Life Without Parole as an Alternative to the Death Penalty” explores the use of life without parole, now standing at more than 41,000 sentences nationwide and representing a 300% increase over the past two decades. The abolition of the death penalty in several states in recent years allows deliberations about punishment to expand and to consider the appropriateness of other sanctions.
March 7, 2013 (Baltimore Sun)
Shifting prison populations
An editorial in the Baltimore Sun focuses on the decline in the number of African Americans in prison relative to their proportion in the population, noting that “for the first time in recent memory those disparities appear to be narrowing, according to a new study by The Sentencing Project.
“In 2000, black men were incarcerated at nearly eight times the rate of white men, while black women were nearly three times more likely to be imprisoned than white women.”
If the recent decline continues, the editorial concludes: “it could have implications for the racial makeup of prison populations across the U.S., including those in Maryland.”
The report, The Changing Racial Dynamics of Women’s Incarceration, by The Sentencing Project found that between 2000 and 2009 incarceration rates nationally dropped 9.8 percent for black men and by an even larger 30.7 percent for black women. At the same time, the rate at which white men were imprisoned rose by 8.5 percent and incarceration rates for white women jumped a startling 47.1 percent.
March 7, 2013
THE SENTENCING PROJECT JOINS ALLIES TO URGE SMART STEPS TO REDUCE PRISON COSTS
Because Congress and the Obama Administration failed to act, deep automatic spending cuts known as sequestration are beginning to take effect. While these cuts could have harmful consequences for our criminal justice system, they also present an opportunity for reform. Rather than slashing federal prison programs -- such as drug treatment and job training -- that reduce long-term costs, a number of administrative and legislative options are available that could more effectively address our budget challenges while ensuring public safety.
March 4, 2013 (Breaking the Set)
"Breaking the Set" host AbbyMartin talks to Nicole Porter,director of advocacy for TheSentencing Project, "Breaking the Set" host Abby Martin talks to Nicole Porter, director of advocacy for The about prison sentencing, racial disparities, slave labor and other aspects of the US prison-industrial complex.
Click image to watch.
March 1, 2013 (The Sentencing Project)
New Publication: The Changing Racial Dynamics of Women's Incarceration
From 2000 to 2009 there was a dramatic shift in the racial composition of the women’s prison population. In 2000, African American women were incarcerated at 6 times the rate of white women. By 2009, that disparity had dropped by half, to less than three times the white rate.
March 1, 2013 (The Sentencing Project)
International: International Group Critiques U.S. Policies
February 28, 2013 (The Sentencing Project)
Race and Justice News
Police: Racial Impact of Expanded Police Presence in Schools
February 27, 2013 (The New York Times)
Incarceration Rates for Blacks Dropped, Report Shows
Incarceration rates for African-Americans dropped sharply from 2000 to 2009, especially for women, while the rate of imprisonment for whites and Hispanics rose over the same decade, according to a report released Wednesday by The Sentencing Project.
The declining rates for African-Americans represent a significant shift in the racial makeup of America’s prisons and suggest that the disparities that have long characterized the prison population may be starting to diminish.
“It certainly marks a shift from what we’ve seen for several decades now,” said Marc Mauer, executive director of The Sentencing Project, whose report was based on data from the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, part of the Justice Department. “Normally, these things don’t change very dramatically over a one-decade period.”
February 27, 2013 (Huffington Post)
Female Prison Population Changes Drastically As Percentage Of Blacks Drops Sharply
The percentage of African American women versus white women behind bars dropped nearly in half between 2000 and 2009, according to a report by The Sentencing Project.
"The good news in this report is that [though these are] problems that many people viewed as seemingly intractable, it appears that we can make progress as a society on those issues," said Marc Mauer, executive director of The Sentencing Project.
Mauer attributes the shift to changes on both sides of the equation. The study found reduced incarceration and arrests among African American women who committed drug offenses and violent crimes. At the same time, the project found rising imprisonment of white women for similar misconduct.
"The rates are far too high for any society, but nonetheless the numbers are going in the right direction," Mauer added.