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RACIAL DISPARITY



More than 60% of the people in prison are now racial and ethnic minorities. For Black males in their thirties, 1 in every 10 is in prison or jail on any given day. These trends have been intensified by the disproportionate impact of the "war on drugs," in which two-thirds of all persons in prison for drug offenses are people of color.

Incarceration Rate by Gender and Race

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Racial Disparity News
March 19, 2015 (The Hill)
Bipartisan moment for drug sentencing reform

"A generation ago, if you asked a Republican and a Democrat to debate criminal justice policy, they would have argued about which party was toughest on crime," writes The Sentencing Project's Federal Advocacy Counsel Jeremy Haile in The Hill. "Now, they’re arguing the other way: who can be smart."


March 16, 2015
Race and Justice News: Girls in the School-to-Prison Pipeline

School-to-Prison Pipeline: Compendium of Suspension Trends for Grades K-12

Girls in the School-to-Prison Pipeline

Reforms: School Discipline Reforms in Texas, Minneapolis, New York, and California

Iowa's Racial Impact Legislation Having Modest Impact

Juvenile Justice: Unwarranted Racial Disparities and Increasing Punitiveness in Juvenile Justice

Drug Law Enforcement: Racial Differences in Drug Arrest Rates Cannot Be Explained by Drug Offending or Community Contexts


March 3, 2015
State Advocacy Update: Advocacy Campaign Leadership

Advocacy Leadership

Addressing Upstream Policies

Unlocking the Vote

Other News

State legislatures are in full swing. This year, legislation has been introduced in Kentucky to reclassify certain felony offenses to misdemeanors, eliminating prison as a sentencing option. Lawmakers in Maryland and Minnesota are considering expanding voting rights to persons on felony probation or parole. And advocates in Missouri are working to scale back the state's truth-in-sentencing provision for certain offenses.


February 24, 2015
The State of Sentencing 2014: Developments in Policy and Practice

The State of Sentencing 2014 highlights policy changes in 30 states and the District of Columbia in both the adult and juvenile justice systems, including scaling back sentences for low-level drug offenses, reducing barriers to reentry, and eliminating juvenile life without parole. The reforms highlighted in this report represent approaches that lawmakers and advocates can consider to address sentencing policy and collateral consequences at the state level.


Author: Nicole D. Porter
February 24, 2015
State Criminal Justice Advocacy in a Conservative Environment

State Criminal Justice Advocacy in a Conservative Environment documents successful advocacy strategies employed in campaigns in Indiana, Missouri, and Texas. 

In these states, advocates achieved the following reforms:

  • Reduced enhanced penalties in drug-free zones in Indiana by shrinking the limit of zones from 1,000 feet to 500 feet, and eliminating all zones except those around schools and parks
  • Modified Missouri’s federal lifetime ban on food stamp benefits for persons with felony drug convictions
  • Closed two Texas prison facilities: the Dawson State Jail and the Mineral Wells Pre-Parole Transfer Facility

Author: Nicole D. Porter