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The Sentencing Project News
October 1, 2015 (The Sentencing Project)
Momentous Legislation Indicates "Tough on Crime" Days are Over

Today, Republicans and Democrats in Congress are coming together to end a disastrous era of "tough on crime" politics. The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, introduced today by Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Republican Whip John Cornyn (R-TX), Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), takes a number of steps forward to reverse harsh penalties that have come at a ruinous cost to families and taxpayers while producing diminishing returns for public safety.

September 18, 2015 (Governing)
Treating the Infectious Disease of Violent Crime

"Residents of the communities that experience violent crime want it to stop, and there are better ways to make that happen than simply re-filling our prisons," writes Nicole Porter, Director of Advocacy at The Sentencing Project in a commentary in Governing. "In the long term, approaches to do so include early childhood education, targeted employment initiatives and therapeutic health interventions. But to respond to immediate concerns, we need to address the interpersonal conflicts that often trigger these events."

September 14, 2015
Race & Justice News: Supreme Court to review Georgia death penalty case for racial bias

Reforms: Policing and Municipal Courts in Ferguson and Missouri

Stop and Frisk in Chicago 

ABA-LDF Joint Statement on Eliminating Bias in the Criminal Justice System 

Persistent Racial Disparities Following Marijuana Reforms in Miami-Dade and Seattle 

School Discipline: Students of Color More Likely to Receive Harsh Response to Misbehavior 

Racial Disparities in School Discipline in Southern States 

Advocacy and Reforms in Miami-Dade, Texas, and Compton 

Youth Justice: Justice Department Finds Racial Bias in St. Louis County Youth Courts 

Death Penalty: Constitutional Concerns with Executions in Lousiana, Colorado, and Georgia 

September 11, 2015 (WBUR)
Race, Class And The Response To Today’s Heroin Epidemic

The Sentencing Project's Executive Director Marc Mauer appeared on WBUR's Here and Now to discuss race, class, and the response to today’s prescription opioid and heroin epidemic with host Robin Young and former Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke. In the late 1980s and ’90s, Mayor Schmoke was way out ahead on this issue, shocking people by advocating for decriminalizing the use of drugs, and for treating addiction as a public health crisis.

September 10, 2015
State Advocacy Update: Connecticut Reclassifies Certain Felony Offenses to Misdemeanors

Many state advocates are in the process of getting ready for the next legislative session. Planning may involve organizing strategy meetings or engaging new coalition partners.  Preparing for next year is leading many state advocates to assess policy goals that address mass incarceration and enhance grassroots communication strategies among state-based networks. 

Reclassifying Felony Offenses:

Scaling Back Mandatory Minimums:

Other News: Alabama, Texas, California, and Tennessee

September 3, 2015
Disenfranchisement News: California expands voting rights to an estimated 60,000 people

California: State expands voting rights to an estimated 60,000 people on community supervision 

Maryland: Rally to Unlock the Vote on 50th Anniversary of Voting Rights Act 

National: Martin O'Malley calls for restoration of voting rights

International: More than 22,000 Canadians behind bars are eligible to vote

August 24, 2015 (Daily Journal)
Evidence Doesn't Support Federal Prosecutors' Drug Sentencing Reform "Myths"

In July, the National Association of Assistant U.S Attorneys (NAAUSA) released a report that challenges a number of claims attributed to proponents of federal drug sentencing reform. In a recent commentary for the Daily Journal, The Sentencing Project's Jeremy Haile shows that the evidence does not support the prosecutors' "myths." The truth is that federal mandatory minimum drug penalties have exacted enormous costs -- both fiscal and human -- without benefiting public safety.

August 21, 2015 (New York Times)
Joe Biden’s Role in ’90s Crime Law Could Haunt Any Presidential Bid

"Already, in the 2016 presidential race, criminal justice has commanded a level of attention unseen since the 1990s and has compelled both Republicans and Democrats to have something new to say about it. For Mr. Biden to win support from the young voters who were critical to President Obama’s election victories, according to activists like Jeremy Haile, he will need to show his views have evolved," reports the New York Times.

August 16, 2015 (KALW)
How did the US become the world’s leading prison nation?

The Sentencing Project's Executive Director Marc Mauer appeared on KALW's Your Call to discuss how the United States became the world’s largest jailer and prospects for reform today with host Rose Aguilar and UC Berkeley professor Steven Raphael.

August 9, 2015 (Business Insider)
There's blatant inequality at nearly every phase of the criminal justice system

Social science research shows striking racial disparities at nearly every level of the criminal justice system—from arrest rates, to bail amounts, to sentence lengths, to probation hearing outcomes. In eight charts, Business Insider explores what it’s like to be black in the U.S. justice system.