June 16, 2021
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.
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.
May 27, 2021
Letter in Support of the COVID-19 Safer Detention Act and First Step Implementation Act
In a letter of support submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee, The Sentencing Project's Executive Director Amy Fettig expressed the importance of advancing the COVID-19 Safer Detention Act (S.312) and the First Step Implementation Act (S.1014).
May 24, 2021
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 limit the use of juvenile life without parole (JLWOP) and the challenges that remain to its abolition.
May 17, 2021
Trends in U.S. Corrections
The Sentencing Project's key fact sheet provides a compilation of major developments in the criminal justice system over the past several decades.
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 29, 2021
Youth Justice News: The Sentencing Project Continues the Fight for Youth Justice
Youth justice has been a critical component of The Sentencing Project’s mission for years but in 2021 we are greatly expanding our capacity to address racial disparities and protect children from the most extreme elements of the adult criminal legal system.
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.
April 28, 2021
State Advocacy News: Mid Session Trends in 2021
In addition to police reforms, state coalitions mobilized in support of anti-racist solutions to counter the nation’s punitive and discriminatory criminal legal system.
April 01, 2021
Federal Sentencing Reporter: Using Data to Achieve Justice Reform
In the latest volume of the Federal Sentencing Reporter, The Sentencing Project's Senior Research Analyst Ashley Nellis highlights the importance of federal and state prison data becoming more readily available and transparent to adequately measure progress toward ending mass imprisonment.