An ideal corrections program focuses first on keeping the public safe. Public safety depends on crime prevention, which means that an effective corrections program is one that isn't simply punitive, but is transformative, aimed at stopping the cycle of crime.
I hope that when we reach success, when a federal bill to reform the criminal justice system is signed into law, when states and the federal government celebrate a major reduction in incarceration, when there are substantial reforms in police practices.
South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, one of the world's leading peace and justice advocates, has called Bryan Stevenson "America's Nelson Mandela." He has gotten innocent men off death row, successfully argued before the U.S. Supreme Court multiple times, including to ban "death sentences."
Arrested, cuffed and booked, I was close enough to share the same breath as the lower depths of modern day America. Child molesters. Rapists. Murderers. Nazis. Gangbangers. Drug dealers. Thieves. Recidivists. Taxpayers. Voters. Citizens. People who were just like you and me.
As a black male in Chicago, I find it hard for one to argue that the criminal justice system has not been used unfairly and unjustly to discriminate against black people and to outcast them from society.
The recent spotlight on systematic racial profiling and police brutality against Black boys and men has exposed a painful truth long known in the Black community: just about every Black youth and man seems to have a story about being stopped by the police.
Ndume Olatushani is an artist, organizer, and a passionate advocate for justice who works with the Children's Defense Fund's Nashville organizing team. He helps us fight to keep children and people of color, especially Black boys, out of the Cradle to Prison Pipeline™.
I think back to that experience with Kamala and I can honestly tell you that even with all of Kamala's strengths -- an extremely successful litigation career, an excellent fundraising network and plenty of charisma -- taking on "the Old Boys' Club" was extremely challenging.
A shocking report by Amnesty International found not a single state in the U.S. has laws that meet international human rights standards for "use of force" by police officers.
The Kalief Browder case reminds me that no one like me was at the table when the Constitution was created. What good are Constitutional rights, if they are not afforded to everyone?
It doesn't have to be this way. Although the First Amendment and the strong American free press tradition make it difficult to put limits on private media actors, the government doesn't have to pile on.
Continually Jesus drew our attention not to loving people "in general" but to specifically caring for those we would tend to discount or condemn. Black lives matter is exactly the kind of thing Jesus would say.
The recently announced case alleging corruption within FIFA, soccer's international governing body, will be prominently featured in the legal headlines in the coming months and years. That case comes at an opportune time for those interested in critiquing the American criminal justice system.
Growing political unity on the Left and Right on the need for criminal justice reform is an important development. But if bipartisanship fails to incorporate the experiences and voices of those previously ignored, it won't lead to the breakthrough we need.
Technology affords us a new hope. With the advent of the iPhone we're in a national state of shock regarding the incredibly destructive "shoot first" culture of many police departments. This shock could lead to major reform that could uplift and save so many lives.
Nurses contribute to the criminal justice system every day, but they rarely get recognized for it. A friend who is a nurse, remembering my story, used the Internet to help the police identify an unconscious Jane Doe who landed in her ICU, shaving hours off of notifying her family.