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Obama Commutes 153 Sentences, Pardons 78, In Clemency Push

The Huffington Post | Ryan J. Reilly | Posted 12.20.2016 | Politics

WASHINGTON ― President Barack Obama shortened sentences of 153 federal prisoners on Monday as part of a clemency push before he leaves office in a f...

How Can 12-Year-Olds Be Adults?

Judith G. Edersheim, J.D., M.D. | Posted 08.04.2016 | Crime
Judith G. Edersheim, J.D., M.D.

In 2014, two 12-year-old girls were alleged to have stabbed a classmate to please an Internet based fictional villain called Slenderman. This week, a Wisconsin state appeals court ruled that these young girls will be tried as adults. Yes, you read that right. Tried as adults.

Race Should Be Considered When Sentencing

Kevin Martin | Posted 08.04.2016 | Politics
Kevin Martin

In the federal court system, the Sentencing Commission sets guidelines in order to reduce sentencing disparities. These guidelines provide judges with...

In San Francisco and Beyond, Homeless Crisis Should Not Derail Progress on Mental Illness

The Stepping Up Initiative | Posted 07.01.2016 | Impact
The Stepping Up Initiative

By Richard Cho & Dr. Fred Osher The San Francisco Chronicle's recent series of stories this week -- "Beyond Homelessness" -- highlights various aspec...

What Is the Proper Punishment for Sexual Assault?

Ronald A. Lindsay | Posted 06.20.2016 | Crime
Ronald A. Lindsay

Before we decide what the proper sentence is in a particular criminal case, we should be able to explain what purpose the punishment serves.

Judge Persky is No Aberration When it Comes to Sentencing

Earl Ofari Hutchinson | Posted 06.13.2016 | Black Voices
Earl Ofari Hutchinson

Santa Clara County Judge Aaron Persky's velvet glove sentence of 6 months, of which he'll serve only three months, to former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner after his rape conviction was no aberration. The case of Brian Banks, falsely convicted or rape, and who served five years, before exoneration, was quickly cited in contrast to that of Turner.

Why We Can't Afford to Wait for Federal Sentencing Reform

Jeremy Haile | Posted 05.13.2016 | Politics
Jeremy Haile

With a limited legislative calendar this year, time is running out for the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act -- a bipartisan bill to reduce drug penalties that have contributed to an 800% increase in the federal prison population since 1980.

Will a Corporate Carve-Out Derail Criminal Justice Reform?

Sen. Dick Durbin | Posted 05.09.2016 | Politics
Sen. Dick Durbin

Criminal justice reform is one of the few legislative issues that could move forward in this highly partisan election year. But this long-awaited reform is in serious danger because of efforts by big corporations and their allies to include a "get-out-of-jail-free" card for white collar offenders.

Staggering Sentences and the Children of Incarcerated Parents

Chandra Bozelko | Posted 03.28.2016 | Crime
Chandra Bozelko

The instances where staggered sentences have been used reveals that they are an exercise of judicial discretion usually reserved for wealthy defendants.

More Conservative Groups Call for Criminal Justice Reform

Christopher Zoukis | Posted 03.18.2017 | Crime
Christopher Zoukis

Not so long ago, the few groups working to achieve criminal justice reform were almost entirely traditional representatives of civil liberties or of prisoners' families. Conservative political groups were solidly in the "tough on crime" camp, and the only disagreement came on which of them most merited that label. Times have changed.

Decision Points: Sentencing With Community Supervision in Mind

Scott Taylor | Posted 01.07.2017 | Crime
Scott Taylor

The majority of jurisdictions in the U.S. rely on bond schedules, which specifies monetary amounts accused persons must pay to be released pretrial, based on the charges they face. Many defendants on low-level charges who cannot afford bail plead guilty through negotiations before trial, solely in order to be released from jail.

Let's Not Chicken Out on Pending Clemency Applications

Chandra Bozelko | Posted 11.25.2016 | Crime
Chandra Bozelko

President Barack Obama is seven-for-seven in pardoning turkeys but his clemency initiative is still backed up. That needs to change. As it stands now,...

Obama Should Use His Power to Pardon Prisoners, Not Turkeys

Eric E. Sterling | Posted 11.24.2016 | Politics
Eric E. Sterling

At hundreds of thousands of tables on Thursday, as there have been for decades, there will be places set for mothers, daughters, fathers, sons, cousins, nieces and nephews who are still in prison. I can only imagine how these families must feel to see their President use his desperately needed clemency powers to pardon a turkey.

Former Prosecutor Helps Teen Who Was Given Life Sentence Win Release

The Huffington Post | Nina Golgowski | Posted 11.22.2015 | Crime

A Florida man who was sentenced to life in prison at the age of 17 for murder has been released after serving about 20 years behind bars. An Orange Co...

Judicial Discretion: There's Good News, and Some Pretty Bad News

Christopher Zoukis | Posted 11.06.2016 | Crime
Christopher Zoukis

As greater emphasis is being placed on the importance judicial discretion in sentencing, a new comprehensive study from the Bureau of Justice examining this practice has revealed some unintended and unsettling consequences.

Ice Cream and Softball in Prison: What's Wrong with Criminal Justice?

David Cahn | Posted 10.05.2016 | College
David Cahn

On a summer Wednesday inside a prison in Graterford, Pa., convicted felons must make a tough decision. When they purchase ice cream, should they choose strawberry shortcake, chocolate chip cookie dough, birthday cake, banana daiquiri water ice or a combination of the flavors?

Pope Francis on Prison: 'I, Too, Could Be Here'

Cara H. Drinan | Posted 09.21.2016 | Crime
Cara H. Drinan

Pope Francis has made his pastoral care for the imprisoned a very personal cause. When he visits prisons, he embraces the inmates physically and emotionally.

Catching Abortions Before They Happen?

Andy Watts | Posted 08.13.2016 | Religion
Andy Watts

While my Christian faith leads me to view abortion through the lenses of sadness, indignity, compassion, anger, hospitality, and generosity, I am equally disturbed by the willingness of Christians to so easily trade one moral value for another.

Pennsylvania Wants To Use Science In Criminal Sentencing

The Huffington Post | Jared Greenhouse | Posted 08.11.2015 | Crime

It's not quite "Minority Report," but Pennsylvania is looking to the future in its criminal sentencing policy. As early as next year, Pennsylvania jud...

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

Christine Leonard | Posted 07.29.2016 | 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.

To All the Governors Out There, Follow the President's Lead on Clemency

Jessica S. Henry | Posted 07.16.2016 | Crime
Jessica S. Henry

To all the governors out there, follow the president's lead. Start robustly using your executive clemency powers to reduce your state's prison population. Release those non-violent offenders who don't need to be serving their entire natural lives in prison.

President Obama Took Another Big Step Toward Ending Grotesque Drug Sentencing Laws

Earl Ofari Hutchinson | Posted 07.15.2016 | Black Voices
Earl Ofari Hutchinson

Obama took yet another giant step on the path to fair and equitable drug enforcement and treatment with his mass clemency grants and prison visit. But make no mistake, it's a step that many more must take before we'll ever attain real and lasting drug sentencing reforms in America.

Here's How It Feels To Lose Obama's Get-Out-Of-Prison Lottery

The Huffington Post | Dana Liebelson | Posted 07.15.2015 | Politics

WASHINGTON -- A few dozen federal inmates, all of them nonviolent drug offenders, surely celebrated this week when President Barack Obama announced he...

Dana Liebelson

Obama Frees Dozens Of Nonviolent Federal Inmates | Dana Liebelson | Posted 07.13.2015 | Politics

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama announced Monday that he has granted dozens of federal inmates their freedom, as part of an effort to counteract ...

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.