Extreme sentences come with a profound human cost as people spend decades in cruel conditions, separated from their loved ones. They produce diminishing returns on public safety and waste scarce public resources that we could use to fund efforts to make communities safer. The Second Look Act would take into account that people age out of crime as they mature and provide a second chance to people who have served at least 10 years in federal prison.


Join the Movement

This year, The Sentencing Project and a coalition of advocates, experts, and partners are launching 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
State Advocacy

Voting Rights

In 2022, 4.6 million Americans were banned from voting due to a felony conviction. The Sentencing Project is committed to expanding voting rights in every state and works with state partners to provide specific data on state felony disenfranchisement.

Read state voting rights briefs
Momentum for Reform

State Wins

  • Sentencing Reform

    DC passes bill to limit extreme sentences

    The DC Council unanimously passed the Revised Criminal Code of 2022 (RCCA), a sweeping modernization of the District’s criminal laws.

    Learn more about the RCCA's reforms
  • Racial Justice

    California passes Racial Justice Act for All

    The California Racial Justice Act for All allows people with convictions prior to January 1, 2021 to petition the court and seek relief if racial bias was proven to be present in their case.

    Read Nicole D. Porter's testimony
  • Voting Rights

    Massachusetts Gov signs The VOTES Act

    Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed The VOTES Act into law, legislation that will protect and guarantee the right to vote for thousands of currently eligible incarcerated voters throughout Massachusetts.

    Sign up to be a Democracy Champion
  • Youth Justice

    Transformative youth justice reform passes in Maryland

    Maryland passed SB691/HB459, legislation that would right-size the state's youth justice system and restrict children's incarceration for low-level offenses.

    Read Josh Rovner's testimony
State Advocacy

Top Trends in Criminal Justice Reform, 2022

Formerly incarcerated activists, lawmakers, and advocates achieved important changes in criminal justice policy in 2022 to challenge extreme sentencing, expand voting rights and advance youth justice. This briefing paper highlights top trends in criminal justice reform in 2022.

Learn more
State Advocacy

Second Look in Washington, DC

Second look policies enable extreme sentences to be re-evaluated. D.C.’s Revised Criminal Code Act would set maximum sentences at 45 years and allow every incarcerated person to have their sentence reviewed after serving 15 years. Learn more why this bill is a huge step towards ending our reliance on extreme punishments.

Read Nazgol Ghandnoosh's Testimony
State Advocacy

Second Look in Michigan

The Sentencing Project is supporting Michigan partners in building a strong bi-partisan effort to pass second look legislation. The bill would allow individuals sentenced for crimes committed under 26 to seek a sentence review after serving ten years in prison.  Hear from our incarcerated partner, Susan Brown, on why we need this urgent reform now.

Michigan needs 'Second Look' legislation, I'm just one example of why
State Advocacy

Can We Stop Over Incarcerating Our Youth?

In a conversation moderated by Director of Youth Justice, Josh Rovner, advocates from Connecticut and Louisiana share their stories of how America’s heavy reliance on out-of-home placement hurts children, families, and public safety.

Watch webinar
Federal Advocacy

Reform Agenda

Federal Advocacy

Formerly Incarcerated People and Advocacy Organizations Urge Reform of US Bureau of Prisons

Activists urge the new Bureau of Prisons director to remember the humanity of the people in federal custody and to listen to their voices.

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 29 grants to grassroots organizations across 19 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