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Sentencing Reform

An Open Letter To Members Of Congress

Deborah Weinstein | Posted 07.13.2016 | Politics
Deborah Weinstein

The communities of faith, human service providers, civil rights, labor, and other advocates for low-income people represented in the Coalition on Human Needs call upon you to exercise leadership by taking these steps.

The Least Congress Can Do on Criminal Justice Reform

Julie Stewart | Posted 06.17.2016 | Politics
Julie Stewart

Five and a half years ago, I wrote an op-ed in this space in which I urged Congress to apply retroactively the recently passed Fair Sentencing Act of ...

Why Latinos Should Invest in Sentencing Reform

Maritza Perez | Posted 05.25.2016 | Latino Voices
Maritza Perez

Once incarcerated, Latinxs face limited economic opportunity, family trauma, turmoil, and deportation -- consequences that do not in any way reflect reasonable punishment for the often minor infractions that occur.

Time Is Running Out For The Senate To Finally Do Something About Sentencing Reform

The Huffington Post | Laura Barron-Lopez | Posted 05.24.2016 | Politics

WASHINGTON -- Senators pushing for bipartisan criminal justice reform are running out of time to pass the legislation through both chambers before the...

"But the Legislation Doesn't Go Far Enough": It's Time to Check Our Unincarcerated Privilege in the Conversation About Sentencing Reform

MiAngel Cody | Posted 05.24.2016 | Politics
MiAngel Cody

Tyrie Bell was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison. His crime: He sold 82 grams of crack to an informant. Tyrie has been locked away for 17 years....

The Laws that Betrayed Their Makers: Why Mandatory Minimums Still Exist

Amos Irwin | Posted 05.03.2016 | Politics
Amos Irwin

There are two problems with threatening long sentences to extract cooperation from low-level drug offenders. This strategy is ineffective in impacting the drug trade. It also inflicts immense collateral damage on innocent people and low-level offenders, while letting the guiltiest offenders off more easily.

Senators Breathe New Life Into Criminal Justice Reform Bill

The Huffington Post | Laura Barron-Lopez | Posted 04.29.2016 | Politics

WASHINGTON -- Efforts to reform the country’s strict sentencing laws aren’t dead in Congress just yet. A bipartisan group of senior senators revea...

How (Not) To Address A Drug Crisis

Julie Stewart | Posted 04.21.2016 | Politics
Julie Stewart

This election year is the 30th anniversary of the creation of mandatory minimum sentences for federal drug crimes. The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 is ...

The Candidates' Positions On Marijuana Policy

Chris Weigant | Posted 04.20.2016 | Politics
Chris Weigant

While mostly ignored by the media (and almost completely ignored in the debates), the issue is going to become a lot more important in the general election, as many states will have recreational legalization ballot initiatives to vote on.

Friday Talking Points -- Fighting or Following?

Chris Weigant | Posted 04.15.2016 | Politics
Chris Weigant

Ryan's got enough problems right now as it is, since he hasn't really gotten anything done in the House this year. Just like John Boehner before him, the Tea Party extremist faction is holding everything hostage and gumming up the works.

Why Federal Sentencing Reform Would Make a Difference

Wade Henderson, Esq. | Posted 04.08.2016 | Black Voices
Wade Henderson, Esq.

These bills would address this racial unfairness by allowing individuals with a modestly greater criminal history to qualify for safety valve relief.

Mass Incarceration's Toll on Women

Michele Goodwin | Posted 02.19.2016 | Politics
Michele Goodwin

On Tuesday, February 23, 2016, a congressional briefing will be held on Women, Girls, and Mass Incarceration. It's about time. Sadly, to many politi...

Dems Debate: Different Ears, Different Tune

Rick Horowitz | Posted 02.13.2016 | Politics
Rick Horowitz

No, it wasn't just your imagination -- it was a very different message. Is that a good thing?

This Governor Is Trying To Reverse A Draconian Sentencing Law He Signed

The Huffington Post | Lydia Oconnor | Posted 01.28.2016 | Politics

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) is asking voters to overturn a strict sentencing law he signed nearly 40 years ago because of its "unintended conseque...

White House and Supreme Court Agree: Children Deserve a Shot at Redemption

Cara H. Drinan | Posted 01.26.2016 | Crime
Cara H. Drinan

Like the Court's decision in Montgomery v. Louisiana, President Obama's action sends a strong message about the vulnerability of youth and our obligation as a society to safeguard children, even when they commit crimes.

Obama Raises Criminal Justice Reform Stakes in State of the Union

Michael Collins | Posted 01.14.2016 | Politics
Michael Collins

It was the big "will he or won't he" question on the minds of criminal justice reformers last night. Would Obama mention criminal justice reform in his final State of the Union?

Good Prison Reform Helps the Most Offenders Possible

Christopher Zoukis | Posted 01.07.2016 | Politics
Christopher Zoukis

Long story short, when thinking about prison reform, stakeholders need to consider the needs of the many, not the few. Reforms should be applicable to most prisoners, not solely first-time, non-violent drug offenders.

Top Five Holiday Wishes for People in Prison

Jessica S. Henry | Posted 12.17.2015 | Crime
Jessica S. Henry

As I celebrate the holiday season surrounded by loving family and friends, my thoughts turn to the millions of incarcerated men and women surrounded by cold steel prison bars. In the holiday spirit of compassion, and with an ever-present eye toward public safety and correctional reform, I have compiled a list of my top five wishes for the incarcerated.

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 07.20.2016 | 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 06.22.2016 | 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 06.22.2016 | 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.