March 18, 2020
The Sentencing Project Releases its 2019 Annual Report
Learn more about how our research and analysis in 2019 played a major role in shaping campaign priorities around criminal justice reform and highlighting the impact of excessive sentencing.
March 06, 2020
State Advocacy Newsletter: Unlocking the Vote 2020
The 2020 election season offers an opportunity to increase public awareness about felony disenfranchisement laws to expand voter eligibility. During the era of mass incarceration the overall disenfranchisement rate increased substantially. In recent years, substantial reforms have expanded the vote to millions of individuals.
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.
January 28, 2020
Letter to House Judiciary Committee on Classwide Scheduling of Fentanyl Analogues
The Sentencing Project wrote to the House Judiciary Committee in opposition of S. 3201, the Temporary Reauthorization and Study of the Emergency Scheduling of Fentanyl Analogues Act and urged committee members to exclude the application of mandatory minimum sentences for cases prosecuted under this authority.
January 26, 2020
Washington Post: William Barr’s new war on drugs
Former U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner discusses Attorney General William P. Barr’s support for an expansion of mandatory minimum sentences for federal drug crimes involving fentanyl analogues.
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.
January 17, 2020
Top Trends in State Criminal Justice Reform, 2019
In recent years most states have enacted reforms designed to reduce the scale of incarceration and the impact of the collateral consequences of a felony conviction. This briefing paper describes key reforms that were prioritized in 2019.
December 17, 2019
One Year After the First Step Act: Mixed Outcomes
In commemoration of the sentencing reform law’s passage one year ago this week, The Sentencing Project has published an analysis of the law’s successes, challenges and the reform left undone.
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.
November 26, 2019
State Advocacy News: Direct Services to End Life Imprisonment
Community organizations working to challenge life imprisonment are anchoring campaigns to address mass incarceration.
November 25, 2019
The Sentencing Project’s 2019 Annual Newsletter
This past year we have seen a growing movement to include people convicted of serious offenses in criminal justice reform efforts.
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.
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.
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’.