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Sentencing Policy

publications
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.
news
State Advocacy Update: Research Resources to Challenge Mass Incarceration
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.
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.
news
Race & Justice News: Racial Impact of Florida’s Criminal Laws
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.
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A Second Look at Long Sentences Is the Bold Approach We Need on Criminal Justice Reform
September 26, 2019

A Second Look at Long Sentences Is the Bold Approach We Need on Criminal Justice Reform

Kara Gotsch
For the bipartisan lawmakers in Washington, and the 2020 presidential candidates who have pledged to address the problems in the criminal justice system, a broader approach to challenge mass incarceration and promote public safety is long overdue.
Featured Story
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
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.
news
Fact: DC has a mass incarceration problem
September 11, 2019

Fact: DC has a mass incarceration problem

Recent public debates in the District of Columbia surrounding legislation to expand opportunities for sentence reductions to people convicted of offenses before age 25 have raised questions about the level of incarceration in the District.
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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.
publications
August 29, 2019

Virtual Life Sentences

Over 44,000 people around the country are serving a sentence of 50 years or more. This fact sheet provides a summary of this long-overlooked population of individuals serving such sentences.
news
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.
Featured Story
Featured Story
December 01, 2017

James Inge

James D. Inge is one of 300 individuals age 60 or older arrested between 1965 and 1980 that was sentenced to life imprisonment in Pennsylvania. Learn more about his campaign to give rehabilitated seniors serving life a second chance.
news
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.
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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.
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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