May 11, 2020
Race & Justice News: Los Angeles Discontinues a Predictive-Policing Program
Los Angeles ends its predictive-policing program viewed as biased, African Americans face disproportionate arrest rates for marijuana possession, African and Caribbean Immigrants Disproportionately Isolated in ICE Custody, and more in Race & Justice 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.
April 06, 2020
State Advocacy News: Reform Responses to COVID-19
COVID-19 has led state advocates to demand prison and jail systems decarcerate to stem outbreaks in facilities often challenged by poor conditions and overcrowding. Decarceration practices or calls for reform have been documented in at least 31 states and the District of Columbia to reduce health risks for incarcerated persons vulnerable to COVID-19.
March 24, 2020
Bipartisan Coalition Calls on President Trump to Commute Federal Prison Sentences for Populations Most Vulnerable to COVID-19
Justice reform leaders sent a letter to President Trump urging him to utilize his clemency power to extend compassionate release in federal prisons to elderly people and those with serious health conditions who are exceptionally vulnerable to coronavirus.
March 18, 2020
The Sentencing Project Releases its 2019 Annual Report
Learn more about how our research and analysis in 2019 played a major role in shaping campaign priorities around criminal justice reform and highlighting the impact of excessive sentencing.
March 06, 2020
State Advocacy Newsletter: Unlocking the Vote 2020
The 2020 election season offers an opportunity to increase public awareness about felony disenfranchisement laws to expand voter eligibility. During the era of mass incarceration the overall disenfranchisement rate increased substantially. In recent years, substantial reforms have expanded the vote to millions of individuals.
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.
March 03, 2020
Letter in Support of Maryland Bill to Remove Governor from Parole Process
In a letter of support submitted to Maryland legislators, The Sentencing Project's Director of Advocacy Nicole Porter highlighted the importance of House Bill 1219/Senate Bill 817 which eliminates the governor’s approval requirement for parole recommendations of life-sentenced prisoners by the Maryland Parole Commission who have served 20 years in prison.
February 25, 2020
Juvenile Life Without Parole: An Overview
The United States stands alone as the only nation that sentences people to life without parole for crimes committed before turning 18. This briefing paper reviews the Supreme Court precedents that limited the use of JLWOP and the challenges that remain.
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’.
Theresa McIntyre Smith
In 1999, Theresa Smith was arrested at an airport after she met a drug courier in Roy Mercer’s network and according to the government, identified a suitcase containing eleven kilograms of cocaine for the courier. Smith said she had been told by Mercer that the suitcase contained his nieces’ clothes. For this first-time non-violent offense, Smith was sentenced to a ten-year mandatory prison term.