Drug Policy News
January 21, 2015 (Associated Press)
First Racial-Impact Law Seen as Having Modest Effect in Iowa
After a 2007 report showed that Iowa had the nation's highest disparity for sending blacks to prison, state lawmakers took a novel step: They passed a law requiring analysts to draft "racial-impact statements" on any proposals to create new crimes or tougher penalties.
The governor at the time said the statements would be "an essential tool" to understand how minority communities might be affected before any votes are cast.
A review by The Associated Press shows that the first-in-the-nation law appears to be having a modest effect, helping to defeat some legislation that could have exacerbated disparities and providing a smoother path to passage for measures deemed neutral or beneficial to minorities.
December 19, 2014
State Advocacy Update: Addressing Racially Disparate Criminal Justice Policies and More
Approaches to Address Racial Disparity
Local Policy Interventions
Advocating to Fund Effective Alternatives
December 17, 2014 (Los Angeles Times)
Obama commutes sentences of eight prisoners convicted on drug charges
President Obama commuted the sentences Wednesday of eight prisoners serving lengthy terms for drug charges, but it was only a fraction of the 6,561 who applied for his help.
In January, the Justice Department announced an ambitious program to recruit lawyers to help drug offenders seek presidential clemency after being jailed under harsh sentencing laws. The move was in line with Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr.’s push to reduce the U.S. prison population, particularly among African Americans serving disproportionally longer sentences for crack cocaine possession.
December 9, 2014
The Sentencing Project Submits Recommendations to D.C.’s Mayor-Elect
Following her election as Washington, D.C.’s new mayor, Muriel Bowser has sought public input on important issues facing the District. The Sentencing Project submitted four recommendations for juvenile justice reform:
The full testimony can be read here.
December 9, 2014 (The Sentencing Project)
Statement by The Sentencing Project for Senate Hearing on the State of Human and Civil Rights
The Sentencing Project submitted a statement today for inclusion in the record of a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing on “The State of Civil and Human Rights in the United States.”
We commend Chairman Dick Durbin for continuing his examination of the policies and practices that contribute to excessive imprisonment and racial disparities throughout the criminal justice system. In this written statement, we seek to bring attention to the causes of mass incarceration and racial injustice, the failures of mandatory minimum penalties, and the deeply problematic policy of felony disenfranchisement.