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The Sentencing Project

analyzes the differences among how types of offenses are disparately treated along race and class lines in order to work towards sentencing reform.September/October 1994 issue of Poverty & Race

918 F Street NW, Suite 501
Washington, DC 20004
202/628-0871
Contact: Marc Mauer

With research funding from PRRAC, in 1993 The Sentencing Project published Does the Punishment Fit the Crime? Drug Users and Drunk Drivers, Questions of Race and Class (available from The Sentencing Project, March 1993, 36 pp., $8), analyzing the differences in how these types of offenses are disparately treated along race and class lines. Among the findings were that drunk drivers and drug users receive dramatically different treatment, in the criminal justice system: convictions for drunk driving are primarily among white males and often involve non-prison sanctions, while for drug offenses offenders are disproportionately low-income African American and Hispanic males, who often receive lengthy mandatory prison terms.
Over the past year, The Sentencing Project has used, the report and additional findings as part of a broader effort to conduct community education and policy development in the area of sentencing reform. Recently their findings have received media coverage in The Washington Post, the New York Review of Books and other publications, and have been cited in a number of legal challenges to drug sentencing policies. The research has also been used in The Sentencing Project's efforts to influence criminal justice policy-making and development of the recent crime bill passed by Congress. Staff of the Project testified before Congress on its work and cooperated with the Congressional Black Caucus in its effort to include prevention provisions in the crime bill by providing findings from their research on the issue of sentencing reform.
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