Mandatory Minimum Sentences

What Crack Cocaine Teaches Us About NSA Reform

What Crack Cocaine Teaches Us About NSA Reform

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:41am
This piece originally ran at POLITICO Magazine.
How to Save $24 Billion and Fix Our Broken Justice System

How to Save $24 Billion and Fix Our Broken Justice System

By Meghan Groob, Media Strategist, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:19pm

Here's a hypothetical for you: Someone approaches you on the street and offers you a big stack of cash with no strings attached. Do you take it?

Of course you do.

As much as we'd like to pretend otherwise, money matters. And that's…

Hope, At Last, for Some Federal Prisoners

Hope, At Last, for Some Federal Prisoners

By Jennifer Turner, Human Rights Researcher, Human Rights Program, ACLU at 4:53pm

Here's some truth for you: many federal prisoners would receive substantially shorter sentences for the exact same crime if they were sentenced today under the current law. Many would have already served their time and paid their debt to society. Instead,…

Bureau of Prisons Has Great New Look for Spring

Bureau of Prisons Has Great New Look for Spring

By Jesselyn McCurdy, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:01am

Despite the never-ending polar vortex, spring is in the air. From cleaning out your fridge to busting out your warm weather wardrobe for the first time in six months, spring is a time for change for the better.

Yes, spring fever is here, and…

We Must Stop Throwing People Away

We Must Stop Throwing People Away

By Harry Belafonte, Entertainer & Activist at 11:00am

There is a crisis that demands our urgent attention. For the last four decades, this country has been obsessed with expanding the number of people we throw behind bars and the length of time we hold them there. Crime rates have been falling for…

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

By Jesselyn McCurdy, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:04am

Our country's federal prison population has grown by nearly 800% in the last 30 years.

Seriously. That's not a typo. Fueled by the failed "War on Drugs" and extreme, one-size-fits-all sentencing, our federal prison population has ballooned…

Congress Can Create a Smarter Criminal Justice System

Congress Can Create a Smarter Criminal Justice System

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:46pm

The following op-ed was originally published by The Hill.

If you doubt the unfairness of our country's criminal justice system, look no further than Hamedah Hasan.

When Hamedah was 21 years old, she fled an abusive relationship and…

Congress Could Save Tens of Thousands of Americans Today. Here's How.

Congress Could Save Tens of Thousands of Americans Today. Here's How.

By Alex Berger, Legislative Assistant, ACLU at 3:10pm

"Too many Americans go to too many prisons for too long for no good law enforcement reason."

That's what Attorney General Eric Holder said in an historic speech before the American Bar Association earlier this year. He was talking about people…

The 1980s Called. They Want Their Mandatory Minimums Back.

The 1980s Called. They Want Their Mandatory Minimums Back.

By Jesselyn McCurdy, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Sarah Solon, Communications Strategist, ACLU at 2:27pm

Senator Leahy closed this morning’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on mandatory minimums by asking everyone in the room with a loved one serving a mandatory minimum to stand up. The whole audience stood.

This was a poignant display of…

Murphy and Norquist: Congress Must Act to Finish Job on Criminal Justice Reform

Murphy and Norquist: Congress Must Act to Finish Job on Criminal Justice Reform

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Grover G. Norquist, President, Americans for Tax Reform at 1:26pm

Attorney General Eric Holder's speech to the American Bar Association last Monday, announcing critical reforms to the way the Department of Justice prosecutes and addresses drug crimes, was historic and long overdue. Not in recent memory has this country…

Statistics image