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December 2014 The Sentencing Project Submits Recommendations to D.C.’s Mayor-Elect

Following her election as Washington, D.C.’s new mayor, Muriel Bowser has sought public input on important issues facing the District. The Sentencing Project submitted four recommendations for juvenile justice reform:

  • Make aggregate juvenile arrest data available and transparent;
  • Limit the use of arrest for low-level offenses;
  • Prioritize evidence-based programs, and not incarceration, for delinquent youth; and
  • Keep juveniles out of the adult system.

The full testimony can be read here.

Issue Area(s): Juvenile Justice, Sentencing Policy, Incarceration, Racial Disparity, Drug Policy

December 2014 Statement by The Sentencing Project for Senate Hearing on the State of Human and Civil Rights

The Sentencing Project submitted a statement today for inclusion in the record of a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing on “The State of Civil and Human Rights in the United States.” In this written statement, we seek to bring attention to the causes of mass incarceration and racial injustice, the failures of mandatory minimum penalties, and the deeply problematic policy of felony disenfranchisement. 

Issue Area(s): Sentencing Policy, Incarceration, Racial Disparity, Felony Disenfranchisement, Drug Policy

December 2014 Poverty and Opportunity Profile: Eliminating Barriers to Reentry

Approximately 7 million individuals are under some form of correctional control in the United States, including 2.2 million incarcerated in federal or state prisons and local jails. Tens of millions have some type of criminal record, which can present obstacles to employment, housing, public assistance, education, and family reunification. Moreover, poverty and homelessness are increasingly criminalized. Failure to address these links as part of a larger anti-poverty agenda risks missing a major piece of the puzzle.

The Sentencing Project partnered with Half in Ten and the Community Legal Services of Philadelphia (CLS) to produce a poverty and opportunity profile analyzing barriers for Americans with criminal records to accompany a new report by the Center for American Progress, One Strike and You're Out: How We Can Eliminate Barriers to Economic Security and Mobility for People with Criminal Records.

Issue Area(s): Sentencing Policy, Incarceration, Racial Disparity, Women, Collateral Consequences

December 2014 Racial Impact Statements

Racial impact statements are a tool for lawmakers to evaluate potential disparities of proposed legislation prior to adoption and implementation. Analogous to fiscal impact statements, they assist legislators in detecting unforeseen policy ramifications. Policymakers may then be able to modify legislation that would worsen existing racial disparities. Practically speaking, it is important to address a policy’s unwarranted effects before it is adopted, as it is more difficult to reverse sentencing policies once they have been implemented.

In guiding the creation of fair criminal justice policies, racial impact statements may be prepared by a number of agencies, including sentencing commissions, budget and fiscal agencies, and departments of corrections. 

Issue Area(s): Sentencing Policy, Racial Disparity, Drug Policy
November 2014 WEBINAR: Fighting to End Juvenile Life without Parole: The 25th Anniversary of the U.N. Convention of the Rights of the Child

On November 20, 1989, the United Nations passed the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The United States, along with Somalia and South Sudan, remains one of the few nations that have failed to ratify the CRC, leaving the US as the only nation violating the CRC’s ban on juvenile life without parole and other harsh sentencing practices, such as trying children in adult courts. Today, the United States incarcerates more children than any other nation. On the 25th Anniversary of the passage of the treaty, join national and local experts on how a children’s rights framework can be used to fight against harsh penalties for juveniles.

Issue Area(s): Sentencing Policy, Incarceration, Racial Disparity, Juvenile Justice