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 »
In 2016 alone, America had 206,000 people serving life sentences, according to the Campaign to End Life Imprisonment, a branch of The Sentencing Project, a nonprofit that advocates for sentencing reform and racial equality in the criminal justice system.MORE »
Virginia will give hundreds of people who have been incarcerated for decades, ever since they were kids, a shot at petitioning for release.MORE »
The number of people serving life sentences in Louisiana is almost three times larger than the entire state prison population was in 1970, according to a new report by The Sentencing Project.MORE »
As the number of people on death row decreases, the number of people serving life sentences has risen. Abolishing the death penalty should not serve as a way to replace one extreme sentence with another—but as a first step to reform extreme sentences altogether, says The Sentencing Project’s Ashley Nellis.MORE »
Arnie King has been serving a sentence of life without parole in Massachusetts since 1972 for the murder of John Labanara. King was a high school dropout addicted to drugs and alcohol. He was seeking his next high the night he killed Labanara. Over the last 47 years, King hasMORE »
Congress should finally take action and lift a ban that prevents people in prison from accessing Pell Grants to advance their own education. The current version of the College Affordability Act includes a provision to lift this ban for all people in prison, including those serving life sentences.MORE »
The Supreme Court looks at the case of the D.C. Sniper, and raises the question of sentencing reform in juvenile justice.MORE »
A former federal judge from central Illinois, Michael P. McCuskey, says the extreme sentences he handed down “were just crushing lives.” He sentenced Edward Douglas to life without the possibility of parole for selling 140 grams of crack cocaine in 2003.MORE »
The Sentencing Project’s Executive Director Marc Mauer and Senior Research Analyst Ashley Nellis joined a conversation, moderated by Nicole Porter, Director of Advocacy at The Sentencing Project, about ending life imprisonment, including a discussion of their recent book, The Meaning of Life: A Case for Abolishing Life Sentences.MORE »
Should individuals who committed violent crimes before they were 25 years old be eligible for early release after serving 15 years of their sentence?
That’s the question raised by a bill introduced into the D.C. Council earlier this year — and one that the the U.S. Attorney’s Office in D.C., ANCs and activist groups are now weighing in on.MORE »
District of Columbia law currently allows people who received sentences longer than 15 years before turning 18 to have their sentence reviewed after a portion of their term has been served. A bill before the District Council would extend those sentence reviews to people convicted for an offense before turning 25, allowing a second lookMORE »
Some years ago, I visited El Manzano, a large prison in Concepción, Chile, and spent time talking with the warden, staff, and inmates. I asked the warden how much time murderers served in his prison. Chuckling, he assured me that he was tough on them, and proudly proclaimed that murderers often serve twenty-five to thirtyMORE »