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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.


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 30, 2015 (Truthout)
Ruling Against "Three Strikes" Sentencing Law Opens Door to Reform

Writing in Truthout, The Sentencing Project's Director of Advocacy Nicole Porter explains how a recent Supreme Court ruling highlights the complicated nature of sentencing laws that result in lengthy prison terms. In Johnson v. United States, the Supreme Court found a provision of a federal "three strikes" law to be unconstitutional.


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 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.