Wilson Center for Science and Justice
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Life Without Parole for Kids Is Cruelty With No Benefit

The United States is the only country that allows this practice, and soon the Supreme Court could get rid of it.

In 2005, when Brett Jones was convicted of murder in Mississippi, his sentence was an automatic one: life without parole. No judge or juror could advocate for him to get anything less. Mississippi, like many other states, had adopted mandatory life without parole for first-degree murder. What makes Jones’s case, which the Supreme Court will hear next month, particularly urgent is that he was just 15 years old at the time of the crime.


Guest Post: Improving police accountability will create police reform

In the discussion over police reform, there are concrete, achievable steps that states and cities can take to reduce the number of people killed by police officers. Here, Duke University law professor Brandon Garrett outlines a number of them:

Last week, grand jurors failed to return murder or manslaughter indictments in the death of Breonna Taylor in Louisville. Instead, the grand jury returned less serious wanton endangerment charges — and no charges against the officers who shot Taylor. More than six months after Taylor’s death, we should be outraged but not surprised.


In the News


Duke Center Tackles Criminal Justice Reform with $5 Million Grant

DURHAM, N.C. — Duke University has received a $5 million grant to bolster legal and scientific data-driven research at Duke Law School that specifically addresses criminal justice reform, President Vincent E. Price announced today.

The grant from alumnus Derek Wilson, through the Wilson Foundation, will provide significant funding for Duke Law’s Center for Science and Justice to advance criminal justice research, education and policy. In recognition of the grant, the center — which launched in September 2019 — will be named the Wilson Center for Science and Justice.


Houston Bail Monitor 6-Month Report Shows Increased Releases, Reduced Use of Cash Bail

HOUSTON, T.X. – The independent monitors overseeing Harris County’s historic bail reform agreement filed its report this morning describing their first six-months of work and findings with the federal court, noting an increase in releases and a reduced use of cash bail.

The implementation of the ODonnell Consent Decree in Harris County, Texas – which encompasses Houston and, with nearly 5 million people, is the nation’s third most populous county – governs what happens to thousands of people arrested on low-level misdemeanor offenses.


Duke Law Magazine: Data Driven

With the launch of the Duke Center for Science and Justice, Duke Law School is betting that empirical, interdisciplinary research can produce evidence-based reforms in the criminal justice system. In this in-depth profile of the center, Duke Law Magazine explores how Professor Brandon Garrett (right) and his team of researchers and collaborators are using data to find ways to improve on criminal justice reform.