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Advocacy

The Sentencing Project is a leading voice for criminal legal reform. We partner with incarcerated and formerly incarcerated activists, policymakers, criminal legal practitioners, academics, grassroots organizers, and other racial justice advocates to lead impactful campaigns at the national, state, and local level. Explore below our latest campaigns to promote a fair and effective criminal legal system.

Momentum for Reform

State Wins

  • 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
  • Sentencing Reform

    Michigan bars automatic LWOP sentences for 18-year-olds

    The Michigan Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional mandatory life without parole for 18-year-olds. This decision builds on recent rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court which limited life without parole sentences for people under 18.

    Join Michigan's Second Look movement
  • 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

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
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

Letters to Policymakers

Federal Advocacy

Letter in Support of Washington D.C.'s Revised Criminal Code Act of 2022

Many of the bill’s provisions will bring D.C.’s criminal penalties closer in line with criminological evidence on public safety, improve fairness and proportionality and advance racial justice in the criminal legal system.

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