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Sentencing Policy

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State Advocacy News: Building the Base to End Life Imprisonment
August 22, 2019

State Advocacy News: Building the Base to End Life Imprisonment

Grassroots organizing is one of the strategies needed to end life imprisonment. Bringing the power of those directly impacted by long prison terms to the surface makes space for individuals to challenge extreme sentences.
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Support Criminal Justice Reform in the District
August 13, 2019

Support Criminal Justice Reform in the District

A bill before the District of Columbia Council would extend sentence reviews to people convicted for an offense before turning 25, allowing a second look for more people who deserve a chance to reenter society.
Featured Story
Featured Story

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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Private prisons are only one part of our mass incarceration problem
August 08, 2019

Private prisons are only one part of our mass incarceration problem

Modest approaches only targeting prison privatization aren't enough to end prison abuses or mass incarceration. Bold ideas and significant resources are necessary to dismantle mass incarceration and overcriminalization.
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State Advocacy News: Working with Crime Survivors to Challenge Life Imprisonment
July 29, 2019

State Advocacy News: Working with Crime Survivors to Challenge Life Imprisonment

State coalitions challenging life imprisonment include a range of voices like persons formerly serving life prison terms, faith leaders, and restorative justice practitioners. Crime survivors are also key allies in scaling back life imprisonment. Victim led advocacy represents a range of perspectives.
Featured Story
Featured Story

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.
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Race & Justice News: “To Protect and Slur?” Law Enforcement & Social Media
July 24, 2019

Race & Justice News: “To Protect and Slur?” Law Enforcement & Social Media

Black homicide victims' families less likely to receive victim compensation, increased racial disparity in Missouri traffic stops, San Francisco and Connecticut tackle racial disparities in prosecutions, and more in Race & Justice News.
publications
July 23, 2019

Juvenile Life Without Parole: An Overview

Josh Rovner
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.
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Featured Story

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.
publications
July 17, 2019

WEBINAR: Take the Next Step to End Mass incarceration

The next step to ending mass incarceration must include scaling back excessive penalties for people convicted of violent crimes.
publications
July 12, 2019

WEBINAR: Women and Life Imprisonment

The Sentencing Project's Campaign to End Life Imprisonment hosted a webinar discussing research and advocacy around women serving life imprisonment.
Featured Story
Featured Story

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.
publications
July 03, 2019

Women and Girls Serving Life Sentences

Nationwide one of every 15 women in prison — nearly 7,000 women — is serving a life or virtual life sentence.
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State Advocacy News: Local Strategies to Address Life Imprisonment
June 28, 2019

State Advocacy News: Local Strategies to Address Life Imprisonment

State organizers and advocates are challenging mass incarceration through reforms to recalibrate life and long prison terms. These efforts require legal reforms to correct the nation’s sentencing systems.
Featured Story
Featured Story

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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