The rate of Native Americans in federal prison has increased by 27 percent in the last five years, according to reporting from the Wall Street Journal. Because of the special relationship tribes have with the federal government, many crimes committed on Indian Reservations are subject to federal sentencing guidelines. This can create a dramatic difference in the sentences for the same crimes that are handed down to Native Americans. The United States Sentencing Commission created a Tribal Issues Advisory Group to look at the issue of federal sentencing in Indian Country. In this first installment of our 4-part series on prison issues in Native America, we discuss the disparities Native Americans face in federal sentencing. How does this issue impact you or your community? What is needed to create a more equitable sentencing system for Native Americans?
Heather Dawn Thompson (Cheyenne River Sioux) – Attorney at Greenburg Traurig
Barbara Creel (Pueblo of Jemez) – professor of law at the University of New Mexico
Break Music: Dohinoo (song) Morley Loon (artist) Native America Calling – Music From Indian Country (album)