June 13, 2019
U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Calls for Limiting Collateral Consequences
More than 44,000 collateral consequences exist nationwide that continue to punish people with felony records long after the completion of their sentence. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights report provides actionable recommendations to the President, Congress and federal agencies on how to scale back these punishments.
June 06, 2019
Incarcerated Women and Girls
Over the past quarter century, there has been a profound change in the involvement of women within the criminal justice system. This is the result of more expansive law enforcement efforts, stiffer drug sentencing laws, and post-conviction barriers to reentry that uniquely affect women.
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’.
May 29, 2019
State Advocacy News: Steps to Challenge Mass Incarceration
Many state legislatures are in the final days of session. The next few months are an opportunity for community organizers and policy advocates to reflect on recent successes and challenges in the movement to end mass incarceration.
May 02, 2019
Vox: Amy Klobuchar has a plan to reverse the war on drugs — and doesn’t need Congress to do it
In an effort to scale back mass incarceration and the war on drugs, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar outlined a plan to set up a new system of clemency that would release thousands of people in federal prison with excessively long sentences, reports Vox.
April 29, 2019
State Advocacy News: Grassroots Strategies to End Life Imprisonment
State groups in California and New York are anchoring grassroots efforts to limit extreme sentences in support of scaling back mass incarceration.
April 15, 2019
Louisiana denies parole to 72-year-old Henry Montgomery
On April 11, the state of Louisiana denied Henry Montgomery’s request for parole for the second time. He is 72 years old, and has been incarcerated since 1963. In 1969, he was sentenced to a term of life without the possibility of parole.
April 12, 2019
Race & Justice News: Violent Rap Lyrics Are Not Confessions
Rappers explain that violent rap lyrics are not confessions to Supreme Court, LAPD plans to change its data-driven policing program, Maryland lawmakers allow Johns Hopkins University to create armed police, and more in Race & Justice News.
April 10, 2019
Vox: New Zealand may impose impose a life without parole sentence for first time
Vox's German Lopez highlights how life sentences are a rarity outside of the United States criminal justice system.
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.
April 02, 2019
The Next Step: Ending Excessive Punishment for Violent Crimes
The Next Step highlights 15 reforms in 19 states implemented over the past two decades that have produced more effective, fiscally sound, and humane policies for people convicted of violent crimes.
March 28, 2019
State Advocacy News: Mid-Session Trends in Challenging Life Imprisonment
At least 16 states and the District of Columbia have introduced legislation authorizing retroactive sentencing remedies for persons sentenced to life imprisonment.
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.