October 13, 2021
The Color of Justice: Racial and Ethnic Disparity in State Prisons
Black Americans are incarcerated in state prisons across the country at nearly five times the rate of whites, and Latinx people are 1.3 times as likely to be incarcerated than non-Latinx whites. This report documents the rates of incarceration for white, Black and Latinx Americans in each state, identifies three contributors to racial and ethnic disparities in imprisonment, and provides recommendations for reform.
September 13, 2021
Letter Supporting Immediate Consideration and Passage of Sentencing Reform Legislation
At least three bipartisan sentencing reform proposals, the First Step Implementation Act (S.1014), the COVID-19 Safer Detention Act (S.312), and the Prohibiting Punishment of Acquitted Conduct Act (S.601) await a floor vote after the Judiciary Committee approved them this past spring.
July 27, 2021
Race & Justice News: Eliminating Crack / Cocaine Sentencing Disparity
House Vote on Eliminating Sentencing Disparity Between Crack and Powder Cocaine, a study commissioned by Denver District Attorney finds disparate prosecutorial outcomes, and more in Race & Justice News.
July 20, 2021
Letter Supporting the Passage of the Eliminating a Quantifiably Unjust Application of the Law (EQUAL) Act
In a letter of support submitted to the House Judiciary Committee, The Sentencing Project's Executive Director Amy Fettig expressed the importance of passing the Eliminating a Quantifiably Unjust Application of the Law (EQUAL) Act.
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.
July 15, 2021
Statement on U.S. Department of Justice Stakeholder Listening Session on First Step Act Implementation
The Sentencing Project submitted written comments for a U.S. Department of Justice Stakeholder Listening Session on First Step Act Implementation.
June 22, 2021
Letter in Support of the Eliminating a Quantifiably Unjust Application of the Law (EQUAL) Act
In a letter of support submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee, The Sentencing Project's Executive Director Amy Fettig expressed the importance of passing the Eliminating a Quantifiably Unjust Application of the Law (EQUAL) Act.
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’.
June 16, 2021
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.
May 27, 2021
Letter in Support of the COVID-19 Safer Detention Act and First Step Implementation Act
In a letter of support submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee, The Sentencing Project's Executive Director Amy Fettig expressed the importance of advancing the COVID-19 Safer Detention Act (S.312) and the First Step Implementation Act (S.1014).
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.
May 17, 2021
Trends in U.S. Corrections
The Sentencing Project's key fact sheet provides a compilation of major developments in the criminal justice system over the past several decades.
November 18, 2020
Race & Justice News: Whose Lives Matter?
Oregon ballot measure tackles racial disparities in drug possession enforcement, San Francisco will respond to behavioral crisis calls without police, Black Kansas City residents cite distrust of police as contributor to gun violence, and more in Race & Justice News.
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.