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Incarceration

publications
November 24, 2020

Incarcerated Women and Girls

Over the past quarter century, there has been a profound change in the involvement of women within the criminal justice system. This is the result of more expansive law enforcement efforts, stiffer drug sentencing laws, and post-conviction barriers to reentry that uniquely affect women.
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Race & Justice News: Whose Lives Matter?
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.
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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’.
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State Advocacy News: Community Challenges to Life Imprisonment
October 30, 2020

State Advocacy News: Community Challenges to Life Imprisonment

The Sentencing Project convened a national day of action in commemoration of the 49th anniversary of the Attica uprising and to demand life sentenced prisoners be included in COVID-19-related decarceration efforts. Groups around the country organized grassroots actions in support of prison releases.
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Race & Justice News: Disarming Traffic Enforcement
September 28, 2020

Race & Justice News: Disarming Traffic Enforcement

Sentencing disparities examined in Massachusetts and Washtenaw County, Michigan, federal prosecutors targeted black communities while handling DC gun charges, Berkley to disarms traffic enforcement, and more in Race & Justice News.
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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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State Advocacy Update: From Defund the Police to Defund Prisons
August 26, 2020

State Advocacy Update: From Defund the Police to Defund Prisons

The Sentencing Project hosted an online discussion highlighting efforts in California and Colorado to decarcerate and prioritize funding towards crime prevention and community.
publications
August 25, 2020

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.
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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.
publications
July 31, 2020

Testimony: Mandatory Minimum Sentencing in Virginia

Ashley Nellis, Ph.D
Testimony Delivered by Ashley Nellis, Ph.D., Senior Research Analyst, The Sentencing Project For the Virginia House of Delegates Joint Meeting of Courts of Justice and Public Safety Committees
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State Advocacy News: Emergency Sessions Offer Pathway to Justice Reform
July 20, 2020

State Advocacy News: Emergency Sessions Offer Pathway to Justice Reform

Nearly one third of states have convened emergency sessions in response to COVID-19 or policing issues. Special or emergency sessions may offer criminal justice reform coalitions an opportunity to advance decarceration priorities, address racial disparities, and challenge collateral consequences.
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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.
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State Advocacy News: From Protest to Policy
June 12, 2020

State Advocacy News: From Protest to Policy

Following the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and so many others the nation is demanding justice through direct actions and mass mobilizations. Strategic solutions include a range of recommendations that address racial disparities, reduced law enforcement interactions, and sentencing reforms.
publications
June 02, 2020

Letter on Examining Best Practices for Incarceration and Detention During COVID-19

The Sentencing Project wrote to the Senate Judiciary Committee to examine the impact of COVID-19 on incarcerated populations and how best to prevent the spread of infection and save lives.
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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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