June 17, 2013
RACE TO INCARCERATE: A GRAPHIC RETELLING
First published in 1999, Marc Mauer’s Race to Incarcerate, a seminal work which explains the exponential growth of the U.S. prison system, has just been published as Race to Incarcerate: A Graphic Retelling.
Mauer collaborated with graphic artist Sabrina Jones to adapt and update the original text to produce a vivid and engaging comics narrative that chronicles four decades of prison expansion and its corrosive effect on generations of Americans and the implications for American democracy.
June 18, 2013 (U.S. News)
Mandatory Minimum Drug Sentences Now in Jury's Hands
The Supreme Court ruled Monday that a jury, not a judge, should have the final say on facts that impose mandatory minimum sentences.
In particular, the 5-4 ruling will make it harder to impose minimum sentences on drug offenders, because they are among the most frequent to receive those sentences. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the majority opinion. He was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.
"Mandatory minimums for drug offenders will lessen, but it's difficult to say to what extent," says Marc Mauer, executive director of The Sentencing Project, which opposes mandatory minimum sentences. "It's also likely that this will have beneficial effects in reducing racial disparity, because so many mandatory minimums are imposed for drug offenses, and because African-Americans in particular are on the receiving end of those penalties.
June 18, 2013 (New Books in Public Policy)
Mauer on how the U.S. became the world’s leader in incarceration
Marc Mauer, executive director of The Sentencing Project, discussed Race to Incarcerate: A Graphic Retelling, done in collaboration with artist Sabrina Jones, with Shawn Hamilton of New Books in Public Policy.com. The book has become the essential text for understanding the exponential growth of the U.S. prison system. Michelle Alexander, author of the bestselling The New Jim Crow, calls it "utterly indispensable." Listen here.
June 17, 2013 (The Sentencing Project)
U.S. Supreme Court Ruling on Mandatory Sentencing Will Bring Greater Fairness in Sentencing
In a 5 to 4 decision today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that certain facts must be proved to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt in order to impose a mandatory minimum sentence. The case of Alleyne v. United States focused on whether in federal cases the brandishing of a weapon must be charged in an indictment, and proved to a jury, in order to set or increase a mandatory minimum. The Court held that this rigorous burden of proof is required by the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
“Today’s decision is a victory for the thousands of individuals and their families -- disproportionately from communities of color -- whose lives are put on hold each year by unjust mandatory minimum sentences," said Marc Mauer, executive director of The Sentencing Project. "Research shows that mandatory minimums contribute significantly to racial disparities in punishment. By requiring a higher burden of proof in order to impose such sentences, the Court has taken an important step toward diminishing a primary driver of high prison populations, increasing prison costs, and racial unfairness in the criminal justice system.”
June 17, 2013 (BBC)
Why the US locks up more people for life
When an English court handed down a lifetime sentence last week to Dale Cregan for murdering four people, including two policewomen, making him one of about 50 people in the UK serving such a sentence.
Life sentences that truly mean a lifetime in prison are rare in the United Kingdom but common in the US. In the US, Cregan wouldn’t be a rarity.
At least 40,000 people in the US are imprisoned without hope for parole, including 2,500 under the age of 18. And that is just a fraction of those who have been given a life sentence but yet may one day win release. The Sentencing Project estimated in a 2009 report that at least 140,000 people incarcerated in the US now serve a life sentence.