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Drug Courts: A Review of the Evidence

April 2, 2009

Provides an overview of drug courts designed to integrate drug treatment into the criminal justice system in cases of low-level defendants and reviews research on their operation, efficacy, and concerns about its impact on the prison population.

The State of Sentencing 2008: Developments in Policy and Practice

February 4, 2009

Summarizes key developments in state criminal justice policy in the areas of sentencing, drug policy, parole revocation, and racial justice. Makes recommendations for further reforms in 2009, including expanding alternatives to incarceration.

Expanding the Vote: State Felony Disenfranchisement Reform, 1997- 2008

September 25, 2008

Since 1997, 19 states have amended felony disenfranchisement policies in an effort to reduce their restrictiveness and expand voter eligibility, according to a report released today by The Sentencing Project. The report, Expanding the Vote: State Felony Disenfranchisement Reform, 1997- 2008, documents a reform movement over the past eleven years that has resulted in more than 760,000 citizens having regained their right to vote. The report's release coincides with the introduction of new legislation in Congress to secure federal voting rights for nonincarcerated citizens. The report finds:Nine states either repealed or amended lifetime disenfranchisement laws.Two states expanded voting rights to persons under community supervision (probation and parole).Five states eased the restoration process for persons seeking to have their right to vote restored after completing sentence.Three states improved data and information sharing.The report documents the rates of disenfranchisement and the racially disparate impact of felony disenfranchisement policy in the 19 states that have enacted reforms. It also highlights the profound personal impact that this policy has had on those who have regained their voting rights, or continue to be disenfranchised. Recent state reforms include:Maryland repealed its post-sentence voting ban in 2007, restoring the right to vote to 52,000 residents.Florida eased the complexity of its restoration process for persons who have completed a sentence for a non-violent offense.Governors in Kentucky and Virginia expressed support for voting rights for persons who completed sentence by easing the restoration process and expediting restoration applications, respectively.North Carolina and Louisiana passed notification bills mandating that the state notify individuals of the law regarding voting rights and the process of registration.Despite these reforms, an estimated 5 million people will continue to be ineligible to vote in November's Presidential election, including nearly 4 million who reside in the 35 states that still prohibit some combination of persons on probation, parole, and/or people who have completed their sentence from voting. In response to this fact, Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) plans to introduce the Democracy Restoration Act and Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) plans to introduce the Civic Participation and Rehabilitation Act to restore federal voting rights to all citizens released from prison and living in the community.

Disparity by Geography: The War on Drugs in America's Cities

May 1, 2008

Analyzes drug arrest patterns in cities between 1980 and 2003; the impact on the African-American community; and the consequences, for racial inequality, of taking a law enforcement -- not a public health -- approach to the war on drugs.

25-Year Quagmire: The "War On Drugs" and Its Impact on American Society

September 1, 2007

Analysis, based on an analysis of 25 years of government data regarding drugs and the criminal justice system, finds that the "war on drugs" has increasingly targeted low-level offenders for arrest and incarceration, and is largely failing to provide adequate treatment in prison. 33 pages Analysis, based on an analysis of 25 years of government data regarding drugs and the criminal justice system, finds that the "war on drugs" has increasingly targeted low-level offenders for arrest and incarceration, and is largely failing to provide adequate treatment in prison.

Uneven Justice: State Rates of Incarceration by Race and Ethnicity

July 1, 2007

Examines racial and ethnic disparities by state, and finds substantial variation in the degree of black-to-white incarceration. The report finds that African Americans are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites and Latinos at nearly double the rate. Five states, located in the Northeast and Midwest, incarcerate blacks at more than ten times the rate of whites. Recommended reforms include: addressing disparities through changes in drug policy, mandatory sentencing laws, reconsideration of "race neutral" policies, and changes in resource allocation.

Changing Direction? State Sentencing Reforms 2004-2006

March 1, 2007

"Changing Direction? State Sentencing Reforms 2004-2006" finds that at least 22 states have enacted sentencing reforms in the past three years. The report further identifies that the most popular approach for reducing prison crowding -- implemented by 13 states -- was the diversion of low-level drug offenders from prison to drug treatment programs.

A Decade of Reform: Felony Disenfranchisement Policy in the United States

October 1, 2006

Findings published in "A Decade of Reform: Felony Disenfranchisement Policy" in the United States disclose that since 1997, sixteen states have implemented policy reforms that have reduced the restrictiveness of these laws, and more than 600,000 people in seven states have regained their voting rights.

Next Big Thing? Methamphetamine in the United States

July 1, 2006

A new major study disproving the popular belief that there exists a growing methamphetamine "epidemic" within the United States. 41 pages