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October 3, 2015 (NPR)
Here's One Thing Washington Agreed On This Week: Sentencing Reform

"It's wonder enough in sharply-divided Washington that nine Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Senate came together this week to do anything, let alone touch the once politically charged arena of crime and punishment. But groups as different as the ACLU and Koch Industries had joined this year in a coalition to press for change, and so too did senators as different as Iowa Republican Charles Grassley and Illinois Democrat Richard Durbin," reports NPR.


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 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 


July 1, 2015
State Advocacy Update: Alabama and Texas Address Lifetime Federal Public Benefits Ban

Alabama:

Texas:

Efforts to reinstate federal ban in other states: Pennsylvana, Missouri, and Maine

Other news: Alaska, Illinois, Michigan, New York, and Virginia

In recent months there has been legislative reform to modify the federal food stamp ban in states like Alabama and Texas. In 1996, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) imposed a lifetime denial of federal benefits for cash and food assistance to people convicted in state or federal courts of felony drug offenses; the ban is imposed for no other offenses but drug crimes. States can opt out of the federal ban or modify it by authorizing legislative reform. States that have not authorized a legislative remedy include Alaska, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming. During 2014, Missouri modified the federal ban and California opted out of the full ban.


June 18, 2015
Race & Justice News: Connecticut Struggles to Reform Drug-Free-Zone Law

Reforms: Connecticut Struggles to Reform Drug-Free-Zone Law » GO

JJDPA Reauthorization Would Require Reductions in Racial and Ethnic Disparities

Policing: Minneapolis Police Disproportionately Enforce Low-Level Offenses Among People of Color

Black Drivers in Missouri 75% More Likely to be Stopped Than Whites

Incarceration: Nearly Half of Black Women Have a Family Member in Prison

School-to-Prison Pipeline: Black Students Disproportionately Arrested in Louisiana's Jefferson Parish