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Drug Policy

publications
September 30, 2019

Racial Impact Statements

Racial impact statements are a tool for lawmakers to evaluate potential disparities of proposed legislation prior to adoption and implementation. Analogous to fiscal impact statements, they assist legislators in detecting unforeseen policy ramifications.
news
Race & Justice News: Racial Impact of Florida’s Criminal Laws
September 27, 2019

Race & Justice News: Racial Impact of Florida’s Criminal Laws

State supreme courts less reflective of nation’s diversity, Florida lawmakers partner with researchers to assess racial impact of legislation, increase in Virginia's marijuana arrests sparks calls for change, and more in Race & Justice News.
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Featured Story

Kemba Smith

At 24 years old, Kemba Smith was sentenced to 24.5 years in prison for conspiracy to participate in her boyfriend's drug activities, a non-violent, first-time offense. For years, her parents galvanized a tireless movement seeking clemency for their daughter.
news
State Advocacy News: Local Strategies to Address Life Imprisonment
June 28, 2019

State Advocacy News: Local Strategies to Address Life Imprisonment

State organizers and advocates are challenging mass incarceration through reforms to recalibrate life and long prison terms. These efforts require legal reforms to correct the nation’s sentencing systems.
news
Criminal justice includes food security — we can't ban the social safety net
May 16, 2019

Criminal justice includes food security — we can't ban the social safety net

State that have rejected the tough on crime approach to welfare reform have improved public safety outcomes.
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Featured Story

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.
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Vox: Amy Klobuchar has a plan to reverse the war on drugs — and doesn’t need Congress to do it
May 02, 2019

Vox: Amy Klobuchar has a plan to reverse the war on drugs — and doesn’t need Congress to do it

In an effort to scale back mass incarceration and the war on drugs, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar outlined a plan to set up a new system of clemency that would release thousands of people in federal prison with excessively long sentences, reports Vox.
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Race & Justice News: Misunderstanding African American English in Court
March 04, 2019

Race & Justice News: Misunderstanding African American English in Court

Philadelphia court reporters regularly made errors in transcribing sentences that were spoken in African American English (AAE), South Carolina's civil asset forfeitures unevenly impact black men, and more in Race & Justice News.
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Featured Story

Christopher Poulos

When Chris Poulos was arrested, he experienced firsthand the difference that money can make in the criminal justice system. He recounts the experience in his own words.
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State Advocacy News: Strategies to end life imprisonment, expand the vote, and strengthen reentry policies
February 01, 2019

State Advocacy News: Strategies to end life imprisonment, expand the vote, and strengthen reentry policies

Since Florida's success with the passage of Amendment 4, lawmakers and advocates in California, Iowa, Minnesota, New Mexico, New Jersey and Kentucky have advanced proposals to restore voting rights.
news
Commentary: Progress on justice reform closer
December 19, 2018

Commentary: Progress on justice reform closer

Kara Gotsch
The First Step Act is an important milestone in the long road to ending mass incarceration and curbing the excesses and harm in the federal justice system.
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Featured Story

Dorothy Gaines

Dorothy Gaines's life changed when Alabama state police raided her home for drugs. Police found no evidence of Gaines having possessed or sold drugs, yet federal prosecutors charged Gaines with drug conspiracy.
publications
December 14, 2018

The Sentencing Project Urges Senate to Oppose Cotton - Kennedy Amendment to the First Step Act

The Sentencing Project urges the Senate to pass the First Step Act without amendment #4109, introduced by Senators Tom Cotton and John Kennedy—which is designed to derail the legislation and weaken its rehabilitation incentive program.
publications
November 28, 2018

The Sentencing Project Calls on Congress to Pass First Step Act

In a letter sent to Senate and House leadership, The Sentencing Project urged Congress to move quickly to pass the sentencing reform measures in the First Step Act (S.3649) "to help create a safer, more equitable and fairer justice system."
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Featured Story

Lawrence and Lamont Garrison

Sentences for federal drug crimes are based on the quantity of the drugs involved, not the individual’s role in the crime. The emphasis on quantity rather than the role of the offender, along with the conspiracy laws, too often result in disproportionate sentencing, even for first-time offenses such as the Garrisons’.
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