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Incarceration

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State Advocacy News: Rallying for Criminal Justice Reform
February 05, 2020

State Advocacy News: Rallying for Criminal Justice Reform

This year, advocates in several states have held rallies or protests designed to influence decision makers in support of justice reform goals.
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Race & Justice News: St. Louis Prosecutor Fights “Racially Motivated Conspiracy”
February 03, 2020

Race & Justice News: St. Louis Prosecutor Fights “Racially Motivated Conspiracy”

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner alleges some city leaders have tried to undermine her efforts to fight police misconduct and reform the local criminal justice system. Gardner, St. Louis’s first African American top prosecutor, is suing the city under an 1871 federal civil rights law known as the Ku Klux Klan Act.
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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.
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The Appeal: The Death Penalty Is Part Of A Larger System of Punishment
January 31, 2020

The Appeal: The Death Penalty Is Part Of A Larger System of Punishment

As the number of people on death row decreases, the number of people serving life sentences has risen. Abolishing the death penalty should not serve as a way to replace one extreme sentence with another—but as a first step to reform extreme sentences altogether, says The Sentencing Project's Ashley Nellis.
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Washington Post: William Barr’s new war on drugs
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.
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December 01, 2017

James Inge

James D. Inge is one of 300 individuals age 60 or older arrested between 1965 and 1980 that was sentenced to life imprisonment in Pennsylvania. Learn more about his campaign to give rehabilitated seniors serving life a second chance.
publications
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.
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State Advocacy News: Strategizing to End Life Imprisonment
December 23, 2019

State Advocacy News: Strategizing to End Life Imprisonment

As the movement to challenge mass incarceration evolves there is growing attention being given to the dramatic impact of life sentences on the prison population. In 2019 national and state groups worked to build the base of support for ending life imprisonment. State advocates and organizers facilitated connections through strategy sessions to support reform.
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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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A death by any other name
December 19, 2019

A death by any other name

Ashley Nellis
Declining support for the death penalty is a victory, but its presence or absence shouldn't be our sole barometer for a proportionate sentencing regime. Life without parole as the "humane alternative" to death is highly problematic.
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Race & Justice News: Department of Justice Frames Reforms as Anti-Police
December 18, 2019

Race & Justice News: Department of Justice Frames Reforms as Anti-Police

The Department of Justice has framed policing and prosecutorial reforms as anti-police. In recent months, other DOJ officials have joined Attorney General William Barr in similarly framing local prosecutorial reforms.
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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.
publications
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.
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State Advocacy News: Direct Services to End Life Imprisonment
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.
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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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