Is Rural America Getting Tired of Tough-on-Crime Policies?

“Incarceration policy represents the reddest of red meat. From Richard Nixon’s calls for “law and order,” to George H.W. Bush’s Willie Horton ads, to President Trump’s promises to jail or deport “bad dudes,” modern American leaders have reliably used punitive rhetoric to get elected—and have overseen the expansion of the carceral society that inevitably followed.” […]

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Buried Alive Co-Founder Interview with Dallas Morning News

Of the 185,000 people in federal prison today, 46.2 percent of them are there for drug offenses. Nearly half of the people in federal prison serving life without parole are serving this fundamental death sentence for drug offenses and 80 percent of them are people of color. Read more.

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Grandmother serving life in prison without parole

Does this Grandmother Deserve a Life Sentence? Alice Marie Johnson is a 62-year-old mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. In 1996, after a jury trial, Johnson was convicted of nonviolent drug conspiracy charges and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

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Powerless on the bench

Kevin Sharp took the bench as a federal judge in 2011 in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee — a coveted lifetime appointment. But just six years later, he decided to resign citing deep moral concerns. Read more.

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Recommended reading: The New Jim Crow

The New Jim Crow is a stunning account of the rebirth of a caste-like system in the United States, one that has resulted in millions of African Americans locked behind bars and then relegated to a permanent second-class status—denied the very rights supposedly won in the Civil Rights Movement. Read more.

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Gov. Edwards apologizes for senator’s erroneous comments.

“On behalf of the people of Louisiana, I apologize for the untruthful comments he made during your mark up of sentencing reform legislation, S.1917 Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017,” Gov. Edwards said in the letter. “Like our efforts in Louisiana, your legislation is a bipartisan, good-faith effort to overhaul the broken criminal justice […]

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Organizations support the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act

On February 15, the Senate Judiciary Committee considered the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act—bipartisan legislation designed to increase fairness in federal sentencing and improve access to rehabilitation in prisons. While our support does not come without concern, including new mandatory minimums proposed by the bill, People For the American Way and PFAW’s African American Ministers […]

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Seattle Seahawk’s Doug Baldwin spotlights fixes in criminal justice systems

Every step of the way, Baldwin has been one of the players at the forefront of trying to foster true change in the U.S. Whether, it be through supporting a local initiative (Initiative 940) which reinforce the teaching of de-escalation tactics to law enforcement to supporting national reforms along with the NFL like the Sentencing […]

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Victory! Sharanda Jones: Free After 17 Years

Sharanda Jones was sentenced to life in prison for a first-time non-violent drug offense. President Obama granted her clemency in December after 280,000 people signed her daughter’s petition. Now she is sharing her story. Learn more about the Clemency Movement: http://change.org/clemency

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From a first arrest to a life sentence

Sharanda Jones — prisoner 33177-077 — struggled to describe the moment in 1999 when a federal judge sentenced her to life in prison after her conviction on a single cocaine offense. She was a first-time, nonviolent offender. “I was numb,” Jones said in an interview at the Carswell women’s prison here. “I was thinking about […]

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Ferrell Scott sentenced to without parole for pot

He got life without parole for pot. And he was just denied clemency.   Ferrell Scott was sentenced to life in prison for possession and conspiracy to distribute marijuana, a drug that’s now legal in many states and turning a handsome profit for the (primarily white) pot industry. Scott, like many nonviolent drug offenders serving […]

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A Longer Than Life Sentence

At sentencing, they kind of saved me for last. I had just turned 21. It was 1998. I remember the judge saying, “Jason, I’ve thought about this all week. … I’ve written Congress about these sentencing guidelines for crack-cocaine but my hands are tied.” After, he starts reading my sentence off to me: “life without […]

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Report: A Living Death

ACLU report by Jennifer Turner examines life without parole sentences across the country for nonviolent offenses. Read more.

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The Power of Clemency

It was a winter morning in 2013 when I heard my name blasting from the prison loudspeaker. I was walking back to my dorm from chow, hamburger and fries, which is what is they served for lunch every Thursday at the federal prison in Oklahoma where I was in my 15th year of a life […]

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Recommended reading: Just Mercy

A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice—from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time. Read more.

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Recommended viewing: 13th

A must see. This important and thought-provoking documentary provides an in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and how it reveals the nation’s history of racial inequality.

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NFL Commissioner supports criminal justice reform

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and a player for the Seattle Seahawks expressed the League’s support for bipartisan criminal justice legislation in a letter to senators on Monday, promising to help the upper chamber pass the bill. Read more.

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Clemency seeker to Obama: Don’t Leave us Behind

I am only one of thousands of first-time, non-violent offenders given a mandatory and lengthy prison term after committing a crime under financial distress. In 1996, I was given a death sentence without sitting on death row. I was convicted as a first-time nonviolent drug offender to life behind bars in federal prison. Since I […]

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Obama’s Clemency Problem–And Ours

President Obama broke his own remarkable clemency record, granting an unprecedented 231 commutations and pardons in a single day. Headlines and tweets broadcast the historic tally; on the White House website, a bar graph tracks Obama’s record to date, which has dramatically outpaced that of his predecessors. With a total of 1,176 recipients, the White […]

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Ferrell Scott sentenced to life without parole for pot.

Ferrell Scott was sentenced to life in prison for possession and conspiracy to distribute marijuana, a drug that’s now legal in many states and turning a handsome profit for the (primarily white) pot industry. Scott, like many nonviolent drug offenders serving long sentences, is black. Without any chance at parole, despite an exemplary behavior record, […]

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From a life sentence to clemency from Obama

Sharanda Jones says she was never told she could be facing life in prison after being indicted for seven counts of conspiracy to traffic cocaine. It was her first criminal offense. During her week-long trial, prosecutors were unable to produce any physical evidence that Jones actually ever possessed, bought, or sold cocaine and according to […]

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SMU law student and President Obama save woman from life in prison

Sharanda Jones expected to die in prison. She had been caught as the middle woman in a cocaine operation in Texas. And although she was a first-time, nonviolent offender, she had been sentenced to life in prison. No possibility of parole. “It was like a death sentence,” she said. A Southern Methodist University law student […]

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