skip to content


Serving People from Arrest to Reintegration

The State of Sentencing 2009: Developments in Policy and Practice (The Sentencing Project)

  • Organization: The Sentencing Project
  • Author: Nicole Porter
  • Document Type: Report
  • Date Created: Thursday, March 04, 2010
  • Submitted: Thursday, March 04, 2010
  • Attachment(s): LINK

The 2009 State of Sentencing report highlights reforms in at least 19 states that hold the potential of further prison population reductions. Key among these reforms are:

• Three states - Minnesota, New York, and Rhode Island - significantly scaled back the scope of mandatory sentencing laws for certain drug offenses.
• Seven states increased the proportion of "good time" credits to be earned in prison to expedite parole eligibility.
• Four states Arkansas, Illinois, Nebraska and New Jersey - established oversight committees to examine sentencing policies, prison overcrowding and reentry services.

Figures recently released by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics document a record prison and jail population of 2.3 million as of 2008, but also indicate that the population in state prisons is stabilizing. Overall, 20 states achieved at least modest reductions in their prison populations between 2007 and 2008.


Reentry NetPractice Areas

Pro Bono and legal aid attorney resources - Pro Bono Net