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 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.
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 04, 2019
Race & Justice News: Police Departments Reduce Low-Level Arrests
Report finds Los Angeles courts’ mandatory community service is “fundamentally coercive,” Philadelphia's African Americans are disproportionately stuck in probation trap, 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’.
October 31, 2019
State Advocacy Update: Inside-Outside Organizing in Ending Life Imprisonment
Raising awareness about the realities of lifelong prison terms has surfaced new activism in dismantling mass incarceration. This awareness can build on years of advocacy that aligns the lived experiences of those sentenced to life prison terms to activists on the outside.
October 21, 2019
Disenfranchisement News: Judge Temporarily Blocks Florida Law Limiting Voting Rights
Federal judge issued preliminary injunction blocking Florida law, Iowa Governor continues to push to expand voting rights, and more in Disenfranchisement 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.
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 30, 2019
State Advocacy Update: Research Resources to Challenge Mass Incarceration
Research is a starting point for many activists challenging mass incarceration, including tracking state imprisonment levels and other trends. Dismantling punitive policies that contribute to high prison populations requires a collaborative approach to shift hearts and minds through advocacy, research, and other strategies.
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.
September 17, 2019
U.S. Prison Population Trends: Massive Buildup and Modest Decline
While most states have downsized their prison populations in recent years, the pace of decarceration is insufficient to undo nearly four decades of unrelenting growth.