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Sentencing Reform

A Plea From Behind the Walls: Please Limit Mandatory Minimums

Mancer L. Barrington, III | Posted 11.10.2015 | Politics
Mancer L. Barrington, III

I am an imperfect man, but I pray I don't die in prison. I yearn to one day be the present father my children deserve, and not just another body leaving prison in a coffin. This Corrections Act could help me and others like me to have hope of one day being released.

Criminal Justice Bill Could Keep Kids Out of Solitary and Reunite Families

Karen Dolan | Posted 10.02.2015 | Politics
Karen Dolan

Weldon Angelos is a young father who wouldn't have been able to be in his two children's lives until he was 80 and his children were old and grey themselves. Angelos made mistakes and sold some marijuana.

America's Apartheid: Legalized Discrimination through Mass Incarceration

Brandon Patterson | Posted 07.30.2015 | Black Voices
Brandon Patterson

As a black male in Chicago, I find it hard for one to argue that the criminal justice system has not been used unfairly and unjustly to discriminate against black people and to outcast them from society.

100 Million Reasons We Need Justice Reform -- One Blueprint for How to Do It

Christine Leonard | Posted 07.30.2015 | Politics
Christine Leonard

One in three Americans -- as many as 100 million adults -- has a criminal record. Because a criminal history record creates barriers to housing, education and employment, it can often stand between another chance and another visit to prison.

Obama at the NAACP: Nibbling at the Margins

Inge Fryklund | Posted 07.20.2015 | Politics
Inge Fryklund

The fundamental problem isn't the sentencing. The real problem is defining the sale and usage of drugs as criminal acts. That underlying assumption went unchallenged in Obama's call for criminal justice reform.

Reversing Injustices of Mass Incarceration: It Takes a Village

Michael Santos | Posted 06.22.2015 | Impact
Michael Santos

Our nation's commitment to mass incarceration began decades ago. In the early 1970s, America's prison population levels approximated the per-capita levels of other civilized countries.

Reforming Our Justice System Will Require Fair Sentencing and Fair Chances

Christine Leonard | Posted 06.22.2015 | Politics
Christine Leonard

As Congress and the nation are increasingly focused on the need for systemic reform, the Coalition and its partners, on both sides of the political spectrum, believe we are on the cusp of meaningful change, through fair sentencing and fair chances.

Dana Liebelson

Why Nobody Is Really Happy With New Guidelines For Punishing White-Collar Criminals | Dana Liebelson | Posted 04.22.2015 | Politics

WASHINGTON -- A federal panel voted earlier this month to amend the guidelines that federal judges use when sentencing people who commit economic crim...

The Black Male Incarceration Problem Is Real and It's Catastrophic

Antonio Moore | Posted 04.19.2015 | Black Voices
Antonio Moore

There may be more black men in college than in prison, but the truth still stands that there are a socially catastrophic number of black men behind bars in the United States.

Newt Gingrich and Jay Z Came Together on Sentencing Reform. Maybe There's a Lesson for Congress?

Lenore Anderson | Posted 01.11.2015 | Politics
Lenore Anderson

The coalition that ran the Prop. 47 campaign shows that bipartisan partnership can work. The voters that passed it into law shows that the public is more than ready to finally end the prison crisis in our country by dramatically reducing incarceration and investing in the smart safety strategies our communities need.

Change in Our Justice System Is Long Overdue; Pass Prop 47!

John Legend | Posted 12.27.2014 | Politics
John Legend

America's incarceration addiction has torn apart communities, disenfranchised millions of people -- most for nonviolent offenses -- and denied opportunities to countless individuals. And all the while it hasn't made us any safer.

Saki Knafo

California Takes Overdue Stand Against 'Failed Drug Laws' | Saki Knafo | Posted 09.30.2014 | Politics

California lawmakers finally reformed a drug sentencing law that critics throughout the country long denounced as racist. The California Fair Sente...

Friday Talking Points -- Eric Holder's Record

Chris Weigant | Posted 11.26.2014 | Politics
Chris Weigant

The news that Attorney General Eric Holder would be stepping down sent a shockwave through Washington. On the whole, was his term worth praising or condemning? We have to say that "both" is the only real answer to that question.

Ryan J. Reilly

DEA Chief Michele Leonhart Struggles To Explain Position On Drug Sentencing Reform | Ryan J. Reilly | Posted 09.22.2014 | Politics

WASHINGTON -- The top official at the Drug Enforcement Administration struggled to explain her position on drug sentencing reforms that are backed by ...

May the Odds Be (Never) in Minorities' Favor? Breaking Down the Risk-Based Sentencing Divide

Jessica Eaglin | Posted 10.22.2014 | Crime
Jessica Eaglin

The U.S. criminal justice system is built on the premise that one size does not fit when meting out justice. An individualized sentencing practice is key to a fair and just sentence.

Ryan J. Reilly

It Took This Former Congressman Years Behind Bars To See The Need For Drug War Reform | Ryan J. Reilly | Posted 07.11.2014 | Politics

WASHINGTON -- A former Republican member of Congress is ready to join the fight for sentencing reform and rolling back harsh mandatory minimums for dr...

Matt Sledge

Prosecutor Tells Black Congressmembers The War On Drugs Isn't Racist | Matt Sledge | Posted 05.30.2014 | Politics

McGruff the Crime Dog and Nancy Reagan must have been busy. Two former federal prosecutors testifying at a House Judiciary hearing on Friday said the ...

Ryan J. Reilly

America's Top Cop Wages A Long Battle To Dial Back The Drug War | Ryan J. Reilly | Posted 06.02.2014 | Politics

After years beset by scandal and criticism, Attorney General Eric Holder (right) is working to reform the criminal justice system -- a project that co...

Ryan J. Reilly

DEA Chief Dials Back Drug War Bluster After Talk With Holder | Ryan J. Reilly | Posted 05.16.2014 | Politics

WASHINGTON -- Drug Enforcement Administrator Michele Leonhart and her boss, Attorney General Eric Holder, appear locked in a bureaucratic staring matc...

New Report Examines the Growth of Incarceration in the United States

Lauren-Brooke Eisen | Posted 07.09.2014 | Crime
Lauren-Brooke Eisen

Incarceration rates in the U.S. have more than quadrupled in the past four decades. There are now 2.2 million people behind bars, a rate of nearly 1 out of 100 U.S. adults, placing the U.S. far outside the experience of other western democracies.

Is Sentencing Reform Debate a Move Toward Drug Legalization?

Eric E. Sterling | Posted 06.21.2014 | Politics
Eric E. Sterling

Almost no one is talking now about changes to make the existing drug laws actually work to control drugs. The new discourse is a tacit acknowledgement that the Controlled Substances Act is beyond repair as a mechanism to control the supply of drugs.

Ryan J. Reilly

How Lobbyists Are Quietly Supporting The War On Drugs | Ryan J. Reilly | Posted 04.03.2014 | Politics

WASHINGTON -- Several organizations representing state and local law enforcement are quietly trying to kill a bipartisan bill that would roll back tou...

Friday Talking Points -- Happy Pi Day!

Chris Weigant | Posted 05.14.2014 | Politics
Chris Weigant

Setting a level for hypocrisy usually not so blatantly shown by Democrats, Senator Dianne Feinstein is hopping mad that the government spied on her computers. The irony is so thick you can spread it on toast.

Justice Reform, At Long Last

Timothy P. Silard | Posted 04.22.2014 | Politics
Timothy P. Silard

For those of us who consider criminal justice reform to be one of the leading civil rights issues of our time, these are hopeful signs that we might be entering a new era. We are no longer turning a blind eye to the damage being done to our communities.

Can We Wait 88 Years to End Mass Incarceration?

Marc Mauer | Posted 02.19.2014 | Crime
Marc Mauer

By many measures, there is growing momentum for criminal justice reform. But any optimism needs to be tempered by the very modest rate of incarceration decline, 1.8 percent in the past year. At this rate, it will take until 2101 -- 88 years -- for the prison population to return to its 1980 level.