mass incarceration

Events

Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994

1994

t is the largest crime bill in the history of the United States and consisted of 356 pages that provided for 100,000 new police officers, $9.7 billion in funding for prisons and $6.1 billion in funding for prevention programs, which were designed with significant input from experienced police officers

California passes 3 strike law

1994

The three-strikes law significantly increases the prison sentences of persons convicted of a felony who have been previously convicted of two or more violent crimes or serious felonies, and limits the ability of these offenders to receive a punishment other than a life sentence.

Clinton signs welfare reform

1996

Clinton signs welfare reform, increasing obstacles for
people convicted of drug felonies to access the social safety net,
and immigration reform, which increases deportation for noncitizens
convicted of past and current crimes.

Conditional Sentencing

1996

is an imprisonment (jail) sentence, except that the offender serves the sentence outside of jail, under strict, jail-like conditions. Conditional sentences are sometimes called “house arrest ,” because they often require an offender to spend all or part of the sentence in their house.

Anti-Drug Abuse Act

1998

concerns the mandatory minimum penalties to drug trafficking conspiracies and attempts that previously were applicable only to substantive completed drug trafficking offenses. The Act amended to make crack cocaine the only drug with a mandatory minimum penalty for a first offense of simple possession. The Act made possession of more than five grams of a mixture or substance containing cocaine base punishable by at least five years in prison. The five year minimum penalty also applies to possession of more than three grams of cocaine base if the defendant has a prior conviction for crack cocaine possession

War on Terror

2001

9/11 attacks prompt War on Terror, which increasingly
is used as just cation for intrusive policing in the name of
homeland security and counter-terrorism.

Immigration and Customs enforcement

2002

2002 US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) formed.

U.S v.s Booker

2005

In United States v. Booker, the U.S. Supreme
Court ruled that when imposing a sentence,
federal judges must only consider the facts
admitted or proven beyond a reasonable
doubt at trial. This ended judges’ ability to
impose harsher sentences due to federal
sentencing guidelines.

Targeting of racial students and Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006

2006

Jena High School in Louisiana makes
major headlines over a prosecutor allegedly
targeting students on racial grounds.
The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety
Act of 2006 expands sex offender registries
and increases federal punishments for crimes against children.

Second Chance Act of 2007

2007

Second Chance Act of 2007, which increases the programs that people
have access to in prison and reforms the re-entry
process to give those released a second chance

Fair Sentencing Act of 2010

2010

Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 was passed to reduce
the 100 to 1 disparity between crack and powder
cocaine possessions laws to 18 to 1. Mandatory
minimum sentencing around crack cocaine
possession convictions is also eliminated. This
has tremendous implication in reducing racial
disparities in the criminal justice system.

Trayvon Martin shooting

2012

The fatal shooting of teenager Trayvon Martin by
a local vigilante sparked a national outcry against
potentially racist motivations in the way the case
was handled and led to a re-examination of
Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, a gun policy
promoted by the American Legislative Exchange
Council (ALEC). During the November elections, voters in state

Proposition 47 and reverse policy on asylum

2014

Obama administration reverses its policy on asylum
seekers, deciding that ICE will detain all arriving Central
American families, even those judged to be "fleeing a “credible
threat” who will likely be granted asylum.
California voters pass Proposition 47, which reclasses
many non-serious, non-violent property and drug crimes as
misdemeanors.