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SENTENCING POLICY



Changes in sentencing law and policy, not increases in crime rates, explain most of the six-fold increase in the national prison population. These changes have significantly impacted racial disparities in sentencing, as well as increased the use of “one size fits all" mandatory minimum sentences that allow little consideration for individual characteristics.

 

Sentencing Policy News
May 26, 2015
Disenfranchisement News: MD Governor vetoes bill to restore voting rights to 40,000 people

Alabama: House approves bill that defines which offenses result in forfeiture of voting rights

Maryland: Governor vetoes bill to restore voting rights to 40,000 people

Minnesota: Voting rights provision stripped from public safety bill

National: Presidential candidates call for felony disenfranchisement reform


May 24, 2015 (The New York Times)
How to Lock Up Fewer People

"When Hillary Rodham Clinton, Ted Cruz, Eric H. Holder Jr., Jeb Bush, George Soros, Marco Rubio and Charles G. Koch all agree that we must end mass incarceration, it is clear that times have changed," write The Sentencing Project's Executive Director Marc Mauer and Georgetown Law professor David Col. "Not long ago, most politicians believed the only tenable stance on crime was to be tougher than the next guy."


May 18, 2015
Race & Justice News: Why Are 1.5 Million Black Men "Missing"?

Policing: Over one quarter of police officers are people of color

Connecticut study identifies racial disparities in traffic stops

Reforms: Justice Department faces challenges in ensuring constitutional policing

Incarceration: "Missing" black men due to high incarceration and mortality rates

Fines and fees: States suspend driver's licenses over court-related debt

School discipline: Virginia schools top the nation in sending students to law enforcement


May 15, 2015 (NPR)
After Baltimore And Ferguson, Major Momentum For Criminal Justice System Reform

Lawmakers working on fixes to the justice system say that unrest in places like Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore is pushing them to act.

"The whole idea of a young man dying in police custody, the confrontations with police, the looting and burning of innocent minority owned businesses," Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn said on the Senate floor this month. "The question arises, what can we do?"


May 13, 2015 (Christian Science Monitor)
For Tsarnaev, would life without parole be less humane than death?

Ken Hartman is 55 and healthy, but he says he feels like he was killed decades ago. When he was 19, he beat a homeless man to death in an alcohol- and drug-fueled rage, and he has spent the past 35 years in prison. So long as he is alive, he will not be eligible to leave.

Mr. Hartman is among the 50,000 prisoners in the United States serving life without parole sentences, a number that has increased 22 percent since 2008, according to a 2013 report by The Sentencing Project. And on Wednesday, the jury in the Boston Marathon bombings trial will begin deliberating over whether to add Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to that group.