September 22, 2021
In the Extreme: Women Serving Life Without Parole and Death Sentences in the United States
One of every 15 women in prison — amounting to more than 6,600 women — is serving a life sentence and nearly 2,000 of these have no chance for parole. Another 52 women in the U.S. are awaiting execution. Many women serving extreme sentences were victims of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse long before they committed a crime.
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.
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.
February 17, 2021
No End In Sight: America's Enduring Reliance on Life Imprisonment
In the United States, more than 200,000 people are serving life sentences – one out of every seven in prison.
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.
January 27, 2021
Race & Justice News: White Supremacists in Law Enforcement, Germany’s Approach
German responses to far-right extremism in law enforcement are more robust than the U.S., over half of people stopped by Portland Police Gun Violence Team were Black, racial bias impacts risk assessments for Canada's Indigenous Women, and more in Race and Justice News.
November 24, 2020
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.
March 27, 2020
Race & Justice News: “Misogynoir” Against Black Female Prosecutors
“Misogynoir” against black female prosecutors, Alabama’s diversion programs confronts racial wealth gap, the struggle to correct a flawed police-use-of-force study, and more in Race & Justice News.
March 18, 2020
The Sentencing Project Releases its 2019 Annual Report
Learn more about how our research and analysis in 2019 played a major role in shaping campaign priorities around criminal justice reform and highlighting the impact of excessive sentencing.
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.