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Racial Disparity Publications
April 2014 Juvenile Life Without Parole

Recent Supreme Court rulings have banned the use of capital punishment for juveniles and mandatory sentences of life without parole for juveniles (JLWOP). Still, the United States stands alone as the only nation that sentences people to life without parole for crimes committed before turning 18.

This briefing paper reviews the Supreme Court precedents that limited the use of JLWOP and the challenges that remain.

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

March 2014 Comment on Proposed Drug Sentencing Amendment

The Sentencing Project recently urged the U.S. Sentencing Commission to adopt an amendment to its guidelines that would reduce penalties for federal drug offenses.  According to the Commission’s analysis, this change would result in a sentence reduction of about 11 months for those individuals who would benefit.

Author: The Sentencing Project
Issue Area(s): Sentencing Policy, Incarceration, Racial Disparity, Drug Policy

November 2013 A Lifetime of Punishment: The Impact of the Felony Drug Ban on Welfare Benefits
The nation’s “war on drugs” posture of recent decades may have a devastating impact on the health and safety of women and children of color and their communities. 

A Lifetime of Punishment: The Impact of the Federal Drug Ban on Welfare Benefits finds that a provision of the 1996 welfare reform legislation passed by Congress subjects an estimated 180,000 women in the 12 most impacted states to a lifetime ban on welfare benefits.

Authors: Marc Mauer and Virginia McCalmont
Issue Area(s): Collateral Consequences, Women, Racial Disparity

October 2013 ICCPR Felony Disenfranchisement Shadow Report

In violation of U.S. civil rights and human rights obligations, almost six million individuals in the United States are disenfranchised due to a felony conviction. Submitted to the U.N. Human Rights Committee, Democracy Imprisoned: a Review of the Prevalence and Impact of Felony Disenfranchisement Laws in the United States details the impact of felony disenfranchisement laws in the United States and how they violate Articles 25 and 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which the United States ratified in 1992.

Issue Area(s): Racial Disparity, Collateral Consequences, Felony Disenfranchisement

October 2013 ICCPR Race and Justice Shadow Report

In the United States, African-American males are six times more likely to be incarcerated than white males and 2.5 times more likely than Hispanic males. If current trends continue, one of every three black American males born today can expect to go to prison in his lifetime, as can one of every six Latino males—compared to one of every seventeen white males.

Submitted to the U.N. Human Rights Committee, this shadow report details the impact of racial disparities in the U.S. criminal justice system and how they violate Articles 2 and 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which the United States ratified in 1992.

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