Trump Grants Clemency to Alice Johnson Thanks to Work From Lawyer Brittany K. Barnett and Advocate Kim Kardashian West

Following a visit to the White House from Kim Kardashian West last week, President Donald Trump today commuted the sentence of Alice Johnson—a great-grandmother serving life without parole for a first-time, nonviolent drug offense. Johnson’s story numbers among the many of the people that attorney Brittany K. Barnett has represented.

While working to get her law degree at Southern Methodist University, Barnett took on the case of Sharanda Jones, another woman who was sentenced to life without parole for a first-time, nonviolent offense. Barnett was also ultimately successful in securing clemency for her.

People like Alice Johnson and Sharanda Jones are hardly alone.

Right now,  about 2,000 Americans are serving life without parole sentences for federal, non-violent drug offences. And Barnett plans to do something about it. She’s a practitioner-in-residence with SMU’s Deason Criminal Justice Reform Center as well as a co-founder of the Buried Alive Project, which raises public awareness about and eliminates unreasonable life sentences.

Since October the Buried Alive Project has worked with more than 50 SMU law students as well as creative writing and statistics graduate students who have volunteered more than 750 hours to the project. Students not only work on these individuals’ cases, but they tell their stories to shine a light on the human impact of current approaches to sentencing in our criminal justice system and the need for reform. And today their work made a real world impact.

02-15-2019 03:02pm

The Charles Koch Foundation is Leading Efforts to Unite on Key Challenges

In January, the Charles Koch Foundation participated in The Seminar Network conference, a three-day event in California where more than 700 scholars, researchers, policymakers, newsmakers, and philanthropists discussed the challenges facing the country and how individuals can come together, regardless of their differences, to develop solutions.

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02-07-2019 10:02am

National Institute for Civil Discourse Projects To Provide Models For How To Restore Civility

The National Institute for Civil Discourse is issuing a request for proposals to scholars with different ideologies and from different disciplines who seek to come together to research the core concepts and institutions that are vital to American political and civic life.

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01-31-2019 12:01pm

The Vera Institute of Justice Launches New Visual Data Tool to Provide Clarity on Arrest Trends

With the support of the Charles Koch Foundation, the Vera Institute of Justice launched a new data visualization tool, Arrest Trends, which provides easy access to valuable data on arrest trends across the country.

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