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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
July 23, 2019
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’.