October 13, 2021
The Color of Justice: Racial and Ethnic Disparity in State Prisons
Black Americans are incarcerated in state prisons across the country at nearly five times the rate of whites, and Latinx people are 1.3 times as likely to be incarcerated than non-Latinx whites. This report documents the rates of incarceration for white, Black and Latinx Americans in each state, identifies three contributors to racial and ethnic disparities in imprisonment, and provides recommendations for reform.
October 07, 2021
Testimony Before DC Council's Committee on the Judiciary in Support of the Redefinition of Child Amendment Act of 2021
The Sentencing Project's Senior Advocacy Associate Josh Rovner submitted testimony endorsing Bill 24-338, the Redefinition of Child Amendment Act of 2021, before the Council of the District of Columbia, Committee on the Judiciary. The hearing considers whether all of DC’s children should be seen as such. The bill would apply to 16-and 17-year-olds who have been charged with any one of a set of serious offenses.
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 07, 2021
Sign-on Letter: Pass the Redefinition of Child Amendment Act of 2021
Justice organizations urge the Mayor and the Council of the District of Columbia to pass Bill 4-0338, the Redefinition of Child Amendment Act of 2021 as a necessary, common sense approach to juvenile justice reform that will create better outcomes for youth and communities, will treat children as children, and will make significant steps forward in advancing racial equity.
September 22, 2021
In the Extreme: Women Serving Life Without Parole and Death Sentences in the United States
One of every 15 women in prison — amounting to more than 6,600 women — is serving a life sentence and nearly 2,000 of these have no chance for parole. Another 52 women in the U.S. are awaiting execution. Many women serving extreme sentences were victims of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse long before they committed a crime.
September 13, 2021
Letter Supporting Immediate Consideration and Passage of Sentencing Reform Legislation
At least three bipartisan sentencing reform proposals, the First Step Implementation Act (S.1014), the COVID-19 Safer Detention Act (S.312), and the Prohibiting Punishment of Acquitted Conduct Act (S.601) await a floor vote after the Judiciary Committee approved them this past spring.
August 20, 2021
Conversation About Crime Survivors and Justice Reforms
The Sentencing Project and national victim/survivor advocate Anne Seymour, with support from Open Philanthropy, sponsored a virtual conversation to identify strategies that can more wholly identify and address the needs of survivors, those who harm them, and the communities in which they reside.
July 27, 2021
Race & Justice News: Eliminating Crack / Cocaine Sentencing Disparity
House Vote on Eliminating Sentencing Disparity Between Crack and Powder Cocaine, a study commissioned by Denver District Attorney finds disparate prosecutorial outcomes, and more in Race & Justice News.
July 20, 2021
Letter Supporting the Passage of the Eliminating a Quantifiably Unjust Application of the Law (EQUAL) Act
In a letter of support submitted to the House Judiciary Committee, The Sentencing Project's Executive Director Amy Fettig expressed the importance of passing the Eliminating a Quantifiably Unjust Application of the Law (EQUAL) Act.
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.
July 15, 2021
Statement on U.S. Department of Justice Stakeholder Listening Session on First Step Act Implementation
The Sentencing Project submitted written comments for a U.S. Department of Justice Stakeholder Listening Session on First Step Act Implementation.
June 22, 2021
Letter in Support of the Eliminating a Quantifiably Unjust Application of the Law (EQUAL) Act
In a letter of support submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee, The Sentencing Project's Executive Director Amy Fettig expressed the importance of passing the Eliminating a Quantifiably Unjust Application of the Law (EQUAL) Act.
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.