It’s June 17, 2021. It’s the 50th anniversary of President Nixon’s declaration of the War on Drugs — and it’s the day I get to testify before members of the House Judiciary Committee about the legacy and harms of the punitive criminal justice policies that came out of this war.MORE »
Reforms to reduce extreme sentences have largely stalled based on unfounded fears that people imprisoned for violent crimes will reoffend. Those fears have been debunked by a mountain of research. State, national and international studies have consistently found that people released from prison after serving many years have extremely low rates of recidivism, including those convicted of violent offenses.MORE »
At 15 years old, Michael Mendoza sat in the backseat of a car while the front-seat passenger shot and killed someone in a gang-related murder. After nearly twenty years in prison he got a second chance at life. Today he is the National Policy Director at the Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC) in California, where he isMORE »
Second Look reforms can reduce our prison population, address racial disparities and create a more humane and effective criminal justice system. Second Look legislation is not new—in fact, it is part of a national trend. Over the past several years, lawmakers in 25 states have introduced Second Look legislation.MORE »
This webinar discussed the latest research and advocacy around second look reforms. Panelists highlighted California’s prosecutor-initiated sentencing reviews, DC’s Second Look Amendment Act—impacting up to 29% of its imprisoned population, and the campaign for an Elder Parole bill in New York State.MORE »
The Dallas Morning News: Life-without-parole sentences are exploding. But America’s legal defense system hasn’t kept pace.
As life without parole sentences continue to increase, the country’s patchwork system of public defense hasn’t kept up.MORE »
More than 600,000 Americans are released from prison each year. Lee Horton is one of them. He was sentenced to life without parole and spent a quarter of a century behind bars before his sentence was commuted, securing his release earlier this year.MORE »
The Washington Post: How ‘Free Tony Lewis’ became both a son’s plea and a call on Biden to create a national clemency program
In Washington, D.C., activist Tony Lewis Jr. recently held a rally calling on the Biden administration to grant clemency to his father, Tony Lewis, Sr., who is serving a life sentence in federal prison, and all of the people incarcerated for excessive terms because of mandatoryMORE »
Watch our webinar on the latest research and advocacy around life imprisonment, including information on race, women and the elderly life-sentenced population.MORE »
Virginia is on the verge of eliminating the death penalty. While this is cause for much celebration, the movement to abolish capital punishment has too often pushed for another form of the death penalty as a humane alternative: life without the possibility of parole.MORE »
The Washington Post: Study: 1 in 7 U.S. prisoners is serving life, and two-thirds of those are people of color
As part of an effort to end mass incarceration in the American justice system and remedy decades of racial inequity, The Sentencing Project is calling for limiting prison sentences to 20 years.MORE »
More than two thirds of the roughly 203,000 people serving life sentences in the United States are people of color, according to The Sentencing Project’s recent report on life imprisonment.MORE »
The number of people serving life without parole — the most extreme type of life sentence — is higher than ever before, a 66% increase since The Sentencing Project’s first census in 2003. One in 5 Black men in prison is serving a life sentence and Latinx individuals comprise 16% of those serving
In December, lawmakers and prosecutors in three cities—the District of Columbia, Baltimore, and Los Angeles—instituted evidence-based reforms to scale back excessive prison terms for serious crimes.
Criminologists and legal experts have long stressed that reoffending rates decline with age and that long prison terms are ineffective crime deterrents. Prison sentences should be given a secondMORE »
Sick, elderly prisoners are at risk for covid-19. A new D.C. law makes it easier for them to seek early release.
In Washington, DC, a new law has expanded the number of people eligible to apply for compassionate release. Prisons are hot spots for COVID-19, leaving elderly and immunocompromised incarcerated people especially vulnerable to the virus. The new DC law allows elderly incarcerated people to point to the COVID-19 pandemic as an “extraordinary and compelling” reasonMORE »
Our Senior Research Analyst Nazgol Ghandnoosh joined NFL veteran Josh Martin for his “Making America—Let’s Keep Talking: Justice for All” series to break down why we need to end life imprisonment by capping sentences at 20 years in order to promote public safety.
Watch the full interview here.
The District of Columbia Council overwhelmingly passed legislation yesterday to allow people sentenced to long prison terms during their adolescence a meaningful chance at release.
By releasing people to end overcrowding in prisons and jails, and by providing basic cleaning and protective equipment, officials can make vital inroads to saving lives.MORE »
Correctional health experts have made clear that flattening the curve also requires significantly depopulating prisons, jails, and detention centers. While Gov. Gavin Newsom’s actions to date fall far short of this guidance, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris has cosponsored federal legislation that can serve as a model for the state.MORE »