July 09, 2020
COVID-19 in Juvenile Facilities
The widespread incidence of COVID-19 inflicts devastating impacts on incarcerated youth, their families, the staff who work in those facilities, and the communities they call home. The Sentencing Project is tracking COVID-19 positive diagnoses among youth and staff at juvenile facilities and the number of known cases in each state.
July 09, 2020
Race & Justice News: School Districts Defund the Police
School districts across the nation defund the police, California disproportionately excludes Black and Latinx jurors, US protests for George Floyd spark global activism, and more in Race & Justice News.
July 08, 2020
DC Council Approves Voting in Prison Ahead of November Election
The DC Council passed legislation authorizing voting by residents incarcerated in jail or prison with a felony conviction. The District joins just two states, Maine and Vermont, that maintain voting rights for imprisoned citizens.
June 19, 2020
Voting in Jails: Strategies to Expand Democracy
The Sentencing Project and Campaign Legal Center invite you to join a webinar highlighting jurisdictions around the country that actively support ballot access for people detained in jails.
June 12, 2020
State Advocacy News: From Protest to Policy
Following the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and so many others the nation is demanding justice through direct actions and mass mobilizations. Strategic solutions include a range of recommendations that address racial disparities, reduced law enforcement interactions, and sentencing reforms.
June 02, 2020
Letter on Examining Best Practices for Incarceration and Detention During COVID-19
The Sentencing Project wrote to the Senate Judiciary Committee to examine the impact of COVID-19 on incarcerated populations and how best to prevent the spread of infection and save lives.
June 01, 2020
Disenfranchisement News: Judge Strikes Down Florida’s Pay-to-Vote System
A federal judge in Florida declared that it is unconstitutional for the state of Florida to prevent people with felony convictions from voting because they cannot afford to pay back court fees, fines and restitution.
May 11, 2020
Race & Justice News: Los Angeles Discontinues a Predictive-Policing Program
Los Angeles ends its predictive-policing program viewed as biased, African Americans face disproportionate arrest rates for marijuana possession, African and Caribbean immigrants disproportionately isolated in ICE custody, and more in Race & Justice News.
Willie Mays Aikens
In 2008, Willie Mays Aikens made headlines when a federal judge reduced his lengthy prison term to 14 years as a result of the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s adjustment to the crack cocaine sentencing guidelines. Aikens was released in June 2008.
May 07, 2020
Voting in Jails
While the COVID-19 pandemic presents challenges for voters during the 2020 election cycle, voting access for the 700,000 people held in local jails around the country has long been critically compromised. This report highlights jurisdictions around the country that actively support ballot access for people detained in jails.
Theresa McIntyre Smith
In 1999, Theresa Smith was arrested at an airport after she met a drug courier in Roy Mercer’s network and according to the government, identified a suitcase containing eleven kilograms of cocaine for the courier. Smith said she had been told by Mercer that the suitcase contained his nieces’ clothes. For this first-time non-violent offense, Smith was sentenced to a ten-year mandatory prison term.