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.
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.
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.
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 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.
December 19, 2019
A death by any other name
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.