Panel Looks into Sentencing Reform in Indian Country

July 7, 2016

Are Native Americans living on reservations disproportionately dealt harsher punishments for crimes than other Americans? A federal panel is looking into this question.

Ralph Erickson. a chief federal district court judge for North Dakota. and an outspoken proponent of sentencing reforms for Native American reservations, is spearheading the federal review. Called the Tribal Issues Advisory Group, the panel is made up of 22 judges and law enforcement administrators, 11 of which are Native American.

“No matter how long I have been sentencing in Indian Country, I find it gut-wrenching when I am asked by a family member of a person I have sentenced why Indians are sentenced to longer sentences than white people who commit the same crime,” Erickson told the Wall Street Journal’s Dan Frosch. The Wall Street Journal interview is here.  A similar article published by Quartz is here.

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