A criminal justice bill that would ease federal sentencing laws for some offenses passed an initial vote Dec. 17. While it received wide bipartisan support, debate continues on which inmates should be ineligible for reduced sentences.
In the first wide-ranging bipartisan reform to the criminal justice system in more than 20 years, the Senate majority leader will allow voting on the First Step Act. The measure has support in both chambers of Congress and with President Trump.
A MacArthur Justice Center survey found that while the number of inmates in Mississippi jails is decreasing, almost half of the inmates stay in jail for three months are longer, and the vast majority of them have not be indicted or received a trial.
Though the Constitution states that no person "shall be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb," people are regularly sentenced by both state and federal government. The Supreme Court is set to make a decision on whether that practice should continue.
A federal judge declared that President Trump could not order that immigrants who cross the border without authorization be prevented from applying for asylum in the United States after civil liberties groups filed a lawsuit.
On Nov. 6, Florida voters passed Amendment 4, a measure restoring the voting rights of felons who have served their sentences. "Every community is impacted by this," says Neil Volz of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition.
Three inmates have been killed at the United States Penitentiary Hazelton in West Virginia in the last six months, most recently notorious Massachusetts crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger. Lawmakers, advocates, and correctional officers have warned of the prison's violent culture, but there is no public record of action to address the concerns.