September 29, 2018
State Advocacy News: Criminal Justice Reform on the Ballot
Proposed ballot measures this November include an expansion of voting rights for persons with felony convictions, sentencing reform, and addressing police use of force standards.
September 05, 2018
Decarceration Strategies: How 5 States Achieved Substantial Prison Population Reductions
Connecticut, Michigan, Mississippi, Rhode Island, and South Carolina have reduced their prison populations between 14-25% over the past decade. This report describes how these five states can serve as decarceration roadmaps for other states.
August 27, 2018
Public Comment on Commission’s Proposed Priorities for 2018-2019 Amendment Cycle
A coalition of civil rights, criminal justice reform, and human rights groups provided comments to the U.S. Sentencing Commission on ways to improve the fairness and proportionality of the Guidelines; promote individualized review of specific offense conduct; and mitigate excessively punitive provisions.
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.
August 07, 2018
Race & Justice News: Homicide Clearance Disparities Contribute to Capital Punishment Disparities
Homicides involving white victims are significantly more likely to be "cleared" by the arrest of a suspect than homicides involving victims of color, causing racial disparities in capital sentencing to begin as early as police investigations. Learn more in Race & Justice News.
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.
August 02, 2018
Capitalizing on Mass Incarceration: U.S. Growth in Private Prisons
The introduction of profit incentives into the country’s incarceration buildup crosses a troubling line that puts financial gain above the public interest of safety and rehabilitation.
July 31, 2018
State Advocacy News: Transforming Closed Adult and Youth Prisons
Lessons for stakeholders include prioritizing prison population reduction efforts and planning for prison repurposing.
June 29, 2018
Race & Justice News: Churches Divest from Police to Protect People of Color
As awareness around state violence towards people of color grows, several churches decide to stop calling the police to protect communities of color. A church in Oakland is instead investing in de-escalation trainings to handle situations without calling the police.
June 25, 2018
Letter to Senate on Advancing Sentencing Reform legislation
The Sentencing Project urges the Senate to move quickly to pass sentencing reform legislation, like the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act (S. 1917) sponsored by Senators Charles Grassley and Richard Durbin, to help create a safer, more equitable and fairer prison system.
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’.