May 12, 2022
Incarcerated Women and Girls
Research on female incarceration is critical to understanding the full consequences of mass incarceration and to unraveling the policies and practices that lead to their criminalization. The number of incarcerated women was nearly five times higher in 2020 than in 1980.
February 25, 2022
Race & Justice News: Biased Criminalization of Gun Possession
Momentum is building for racial impact statement analysis of legislation in more states, public defenders oppose biased criminalization of gun possession, and more in the latest Race & Justice News.
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’.
February 22, 2022
Can COVID-19 Teach Us How to End Mass Incarceration?
In the University of Miami Law Review, Amy Fettig penned an essay that examines the federal, state and local government response to the COVID-19 pandemic in prisons and what lessons can be learned in our ongoing need to decarcerate and end the era of mass incarceration.
February 14, 2022
Letter to Justice Department on Appointment of Bureau of Prisons Director
In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, The Sentencing Project urges the Department of Justice to hire a new Bureau of Prisons Director who is capable of and committed to leading the Bureau through systemic reform.
December 08, 2021
Successes in Criminal Legal Reforms, 2021
Formerly incarcerated activists, lawmakers, and advocates achieved important changes in criminal justice policy in 2021 to reduce mass incarceration, expand voting rights and advance racial justice. This briefing paper highlights key reforms undertaken in 2021 prioritized by The Sentencing Project.
December 06, 2021
Amicus Brief in Support of Ending Extreme Sentences for Youth in Maryland
The Sentencing Project joined with partners at the MacArthur Justice Center, the Juvenile Law Center, and others who oppose extreme sentences for youth on an amicus brief to end those sentences in Maryland and to require a finding of permanent incorrigibility under the Maryland Declaration of Rights during sentencing.
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.
November 03, 2021
Testimony in support of Washington, DC's Revised Criminal Code Act of 2021
Passage of the Revised Criminal Code Act of 2021 would go far in aligning D.C.’s criminal penalties with criminological evidence on how to advance public safety.
November 03, 2021
Conversation About Crime Survivors and Restorative Justice Issues
The Sentencing Project and national victim/survivor advocate Anne Seymour sponsored a virtual conversation to address the critical issue of restorative justice practices both pre- and post-conviction. The goal of the conversation was to identify strategies that can more wholly address the needs of survivors, those who harm them, and the communities in which they reside.
October 29, 2021
Amicus Brief in Support of Ending Felony Murder LWOP Sentences in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, some 1,100 people are serving life-without-parole (LWOP) sentences despite never having intended to take a life. Pennsylvania is one of just six states that mandate LWOP for all individuals convicted of felony murder.
October 13, 2021
The Color of Justice: Racial and Ethnic Disparity in State Prisons
Black Americans are incarcerated in state prisons across the country at nearly five times the rate of whites, and Latinx people are 1.3 times as likely to be incarcerated than non-Latinx whites. This report documents the rates of incarceration for white, Black and Latinx Americans in each state, identifies three contributors to racial and ethnic disparities in imprisonment, and provides recommendations for reform.
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.