Reliable information on deaths that occur during arrests and while in jail and prison is important. Such data allow us to identify problems in the criminal justice system and come up with solutions based on evidence. It also provides greater transparency and accountability, and ultimately can help gain communities' trust.
May 4th was a day I'd been anticipating for some time. That was the day Assistant Attorney General Karol Mason, who heads the Office of Justice Programs in the Department of Justice, publicly announced a new agency-wide policy directing her staff to stop using "disparaging labels" like "ex-convict" and "ex-felon" in all their communications.