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The Sentencing Project News
November 20, 2014 (The Sentencing Project)
New Resource for Information and Commentary on Collateral Consequences

The Collateral Consequences Resource Center has launched a new website to raise awareness and promote discussion on the laws and policies that create barriers to reentry. The site will provide news and commentary about developments in courts and legislatures, practice and advocacy resources, and advice about how to restore rights and status in various jurisdictions. The Center aims to reach a broad audience of lawyers and other criminal justice practitioners, scholars and researchers, policymakers and legislators, as well as those most directly affected by the consequences of conviction.  


November 19, 2014
State Advocacy Update: 2014 Midterm Analysis and More

2014 Midterm Analysis

Helpful Campaign Strategies

Reducing Prison Population

Other News


November 17, 2014 (The Sentencing Project)
New Publication: Incorporating Racial Equity into Criminal Justice Reform

There are few areas of American society where racial disparities are as profound and as troubling as in the criminal justice system. Our newest report, Incorporating Racial Equity into Criminal Justice Reform, provides an overview of racial disparities in the criminal justice system and a framework for developing and implementing remedies for these disparities.


November 14, 2014 (The Daily Journal)
Support grows to end excessive punishment

The success of California’s Proposition 47 — the ballot initiative that reduces penalties for drug possession and certain property crimes — may mark a new day for criminal justice reform. With a 58 percent victory margin, voters rejected some of the excesses of the “tough on crime” era. Prop. 47 signaled, according to the editorial board of the Los Angeles Times, that voters are no longer “in the same fearful, punishing mood as when they passed three-strikes and other harsh initiatives.” But as encouraging as this reform is, California must take even bolder steps to tackle its high rate of incarceration.

Prop. 47’s key provision established higher monetary thresholds at which five property crimes become “wobblers” — offenses that prosecutors can charge as either felonies or misdemeanors. At values below $950, theft, shoplifting, receiving stolen property, and forging or writing bad checks will now be charged as misdemeanors for most people. In addition, possession of illegal drugs for personal use has also been reclassified to a misdemeanor.


Author: Nazgol Ghandnoosh, Ph.D.
November 7, 2014 (The Sentencing Project)
Hot Off the Presses: The Sentencing Project's 2014 Newsletter

Our 2014 Newsletter is out! Read it to find out what we’ve been up to in the last year, including:

  • How three states – New York, New Jersey, and California – reduced their prison populations in the range of 25% and saw their crime rates generally decline even faster than the national average
  • Updates on federal sentencing reform, including the United States Sentencing Commission’s decision to apply their reduced sentencing guidelines retroactively to 46,000 people currently serving time for drug offenses
  • How state advocates from across the country gained insight and support in strategizing for racial impact statements from The Sentencing Project during our State Advocacy Convening

…and much more!


November 5, 2014
California Voters Pass Proposition 47 Sentencing Reform

California voters have approved Proposition 47, a ballot measure that will reclassify six low-level property and drug offenses from felonies to misdemeanors. These offenses include shoplifting, theft, and check fraud under $950, as well as personal use of most illegal drugs. State savings resulting from the measure are estimated to be at least $150 million a year and will be used to support school truancy and dropout prevention, victim services, mental health and drug abuse treatment, and other programs designed to expand alternatives to incarceration.


November 5, 2014 (The Liman Report, Yale Law School)
Leveraging the Moment: Resources for High Incarceration Communities

The coalition in support of criminal justice reform is expanding. I recently had the opportunity to present at the League of Women Voters’ national convention. In a meeting room at a Washington area hotel, older women from suburban communities in Missouri and Arizona were very concerned about the nation’s “war on drugs” and the failures of our prison system.

That afternoon underscored just how far the conversation has progressed in the past decade. Leaders from different ideological perspectives are calling for changes to the nation’s criminal justice system. Newt Gingrich, the former Republican Speaker of the House, recently announced an effort to lower the nation’s incarceration rate by fifty percent by 2050. And earlier this year, Attorney General Eric Holder announced a significant expansion of the federal clemency process in order to reduce excessive prison terms for low-level drug offenders.


Author: Nicole D. Porter
October 29, 2014 (The Sentencing Project)
Race and Justice News

School to Prison Pipeline: Los Angeles Schools Revamp Discipline Policies

Courts: Citizenship Trumps Race in Federal Sentencing Disparities

Vivid Account of Challenges to Biased Jury Selection in North Carolina Capital Cases

Legal Analysis: Why and How the Supreme Court Should Recognize Implicit Racial Bias 


October 24, 2014 (The Sentencing Project)
Disenfranchisement News

Civil Rights Commission reports call for reform

California: 'Let me Vote' campaign spreads voting rights awareness

Florida: Candidate forced to withdraw due to prior felony conviction

Michigan: NAACP brings voting booths to county jails

Mississippi: Slim chance of reform during an election year

Ohio: Judge orders voting access for people jailed the weekend before an election

Wyoming: New bill to cut wait time for voting rights restoration

National: Felony disenfranchisement infographic


October 13, 2014 (The Sentencing Project)
The Sentencing Project Files Amicus Brief in Federal Case Involving Mandatory Minimums

The Sentencing Project has filed an amicus brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a decision by the Ninth Circuit that could exacerbate the ill-effects caused by mandatory minimum penalties.