Donate

Advocacy

Massachusetts has become the first state in the country to categorically ban life without parole sentences for people under 21 years old.

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that its ban on life without parole sentences for youth under 18 also applies to “emerging adults,” through age 20. The Sentencing Project submitted an amicus brief in support of the argument that adolescent brain research makes clear that emerging adults are developmentally similar to youth under 18.

Momentum for Reform

State Wins

Youth Justice

Connecticut passes law to reduce extreme sentences for youth

Governor Ned Lamont signed bills to end extreme sentences for people under 21 and to move the state closer to removing its youth from adult prisons.

Federal Advocacy

Building on the Success of the First Step Act

In 2018, Congress passed and then-President Donald Trump signed into law the bipartisan First Step Act, a sweeping criminal justice reform bill designed to promote rehabilitation, lower recidivism, and reduce excessive sentences in the federal prison system. The Sentencing Project advocates for the full implementation of the First Step Act and is working to build on its success with legislation that would further reform federal sentencing.

Tell Congress to support sentencing reform
Federal Advocacy

Expanding Opportunities for Second Chances

The Sentencing Project works to expand second chances at the federal level through legislation, such as the Second Look Act, and changes to the federal sentencing guidelines. The United States Sentencing Commission annually revises the federal sentencing guidelines to reflect research and stakeholder input. We regularly submit comments on proposed changes to the guidelines and recent successes include the Commission’s significant expansion of eligibility for compassionate release.

Click to read our latest comments to the U.S. Sentencing Commission
Advocacy

Join the Movement

The Sentencing Project and a coalition of advocates, experts, and partners launched a public education campaign, 50 Years and a Wake Up: Ending The Mass Incarceration Crisis In America. The campaign raises awareness about the dire state of the criminal legal system in the country, the devastating impact of incarceration on communities and families, and proposes more effective crime prevention strategies for our country.

Learn more
Federal Advocacy

Reform Agenda

The Sentencing Project offers technical assistance to federal policy makers to ensure that sentencing bills reflect research and best practices, and defend against regressive sentencing legislation and policies.

Federal Advocacy

Comment on the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s Proposed Policy Priorities

The Sentencing Project submitted a comment to the U.S. Sentencing Commission on its proposed priorities for 2023 and 2024. The comment addresses the Commission’s duty to provide guidance to the Bureau of Prisons, potential changes to the sentencing guidelines for emerging adults and people who commit repeat offenses, diversion and alternatives to incarceration, and life sentences.

Advocacy

Legal Advocacy

The Sentencing Project’s research helps drive sentencing reform in the courts. Our research is regularly cited in litigation striving to end extreme sentencing and we partner with leading impact litigation organizations to file strategic amicus briefs.

Read our amicus briefs
In the Media

Commentary by The Sentencing Project

Racial Justice Fund Grants

In response to the murder of George Floyd, The Sentencing Project established a Racial Justice Fund (RJF) to support our state advocacy partners. Since 2021, we have funded 30 grants to grassroots organizations across 20 jurisdictions. These targeted grants provide our partners with the support needed to build their capacity and increase the scope of their impact.

Help us fight for racial justice