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Criminal Justice Reform

A Pastoral Letter to White Americans

Jim Wallis | Posted 12.12.2014 | Religion
Jim Wallis

Many white Americans tend to see this problem as unfortunate incidents based on individual circumstances. Black Americans see a system in which their black lives matter less than white lives. The question is: Are we white people going to listen or not?

Arthur Delaney

Andy Harris, Anti-Pot Republican, Glad Congress Overruled D.C. Residents On Legalization

HuffingtonPost.com | Arthur Delaney | Posted 12.10.2014 | Politics

WASHINGTON -- The Republican congressman who has crusaded against the District of Columbia's ever-liberalizing pot laws cheered a new congressional sp...

What Death Penalty Opponents Don't Get

The Marshall Project | James Ridgeway and Jean Casella | Posted 12.01.2014 | Politics

This commentary was written for The Marshall Project, a nonprofit news organization. For more criminal justice news produced and curated by The Marsh...

A Sad Night for America

Jim Wallis | Posted 11.27.2014 | Politics
Jim Wallis

We now all have the chance to examine the evidence -- released last night -- in the grand jury's decision not to indict white police officer Darren Wilson, who fired multiple bullets into Michael Brown. But the verdict on America's criminal justice system is already in for many Americans: guilty, for treating young black men differently than young white men.

The Worst Place in the World for a Child

Charles Radcliffe | Posted 11.21.2014 | Impact
Charles Radcliffe

Prison really is the worst place in the world to put a child. Which is why, as a response to juvenile criminality, it should only ever be considered a response of absolute last resort.

Hard Time: Lessons From a Maximum-Security Prison

Jade Chong-Smith | Posted 11.19.2014 | Crime
Jade Chong-Smith

Republicans argue that punitive sentences are essential to a tough-on-crime approach that keeps our streets safe. I see building stronger communities with adequate support mechanisms, not building stronger prisons, as the path to a safer society.

Michael Calderone

The Marshall Project Aims Spotlight On 'Abysmal Status' Of Criminal Justice

HuffingtonPost.com | Michael Calderone | Posted 11.16.2014 | Media

NEW YORK –- Neil Barsky has taken on varied roles over the years, from Wall Street Journal reporter to Wall Street analyst, hedge fund manager to do...

Race Matters, Even Though It Shouldn't

Jessica S. Henry | Posted 11.14.2014 | Crime
Jessica S. Henry

Even though a person's skin color does not have anything whatsoever to do with whether or not they are guilty of a crime, it matters. Race matters in ways that it shouldn't. And a recent Sentencing Project report about racial perceptions of criminal justice emphasizes just how much.

Ryan Grim

The Dark-Horse Policy Reform That Has Both Obama And Some GOPers Optimistic

HuffingtonPost.com | Ryan Grim | Posted 11.11.2014 | Politics

With Democrats holding the White House and Republicans controlling both chambers of Congress, it's been suggested that the odds are slim of any major ...

DC's Attorney General Race: A Serious Impact on District Youth

Michael Shank | Posted 11.04.2014 | DC
Michael Shank

Now, more than ever, we must pay attention to the practices and policies of the office tasked with prosecuting our youth. In 2011, there were 3,464 arrests of youth in the District and more than 42 percent of these were for non-violent misdemeanors.

Safer Neighborhoods and Schools in California

Ben Jealous | Posted 10.31.2014 | Black Voices
Ben Jealous

Next week, California voters will have a chance to vote for historic criminal justice reform in a state that badly needs it. A ballot initiative called Proposition 47 is poised to rebalance California's priorities away from incarceration and towards rehabilitation and education.

Changing Prison From the Inside Out

Mark Olmsted | Posted 10.27.2014 | Crime
Mark Olmsted

Millions of men and women in the country are paid slave labor wages and then charged for food and substandard medical care. They eat, sleep and bathe in dirty, overcrowded conditions--nowhere worse than in the South.

Why We Marched

Renaldo Pearson | Posted 10.24.2014 | Politics
Renaldo Pearson

Because we have already called for an end to mass incarceration, but, though there has been progress, our elected local, state and especially federal officials haven't gone far enough.

Prison for Teen Who Lit "Agender" Youth's Skirt on Fire Thwarts Healing

Sue Burrell | Posted 12.21.2014 | Crime
Sue Burrell

The news of Richard Thomas' seven-year prison sentence raises fresh questions about how the justice system intervenes in dangerous, but clearly adolescent behavior.

Changing Direction: A Roadmap for Reforming Illinois' Prison System

John Maki | Posted 12.02.2014 | Chicago
John Maki

After decades of using incarceration as the country's primary response to crime, leading Republicans and Democrats are embracing safe, fair, and cost-effective prison reform. As Illinois prepares to elect its next governor, voters should ask the candidates what their vision and goals are for the state's crowded and under-resourced $1.3-billion prison system.

Let Us Eat Cake: The New Census Data on Poverty

Karen Dolan | Posted 11.19.2014 | Politics
Karen Dolan

Poverty fell in 2013 U.S. Census data shows. It inched down from 15 percent in 2012 to 14.5 percent in 2013, but still higher than when the Recession officially ended in 2009. So not yet time to eat cake. ...Or is it?

The Drug War and the Mass Incarceration It Caused: Where We Are and Where We Still Must Go (Part 5 of 5)

Renaldo Pearson | Posted 11.16.2014 | Politics
Renaldo Pearson

As we face the rugged terrain ahead, our marching orders must be the sobering words that speak presciently from the grave of the late Coretta Scott King: "Struggle is a never ending process. Freedom is never really won, you earn it and win it in every generation."

The Drug War and the Mass Incarceration It Caused: Where We Are and Where We Still Must Go (Part 4 of 5)

Renaldo Pearson | Posted 11.15.2014 | Politics
Renaldo Pearson

As we witness the drug and criminal justice policies of the "greatest democracy in the world" lag behind those of an ever expanding list of other countries around the world, more and more are coming down on the right side of history.

The Drug War and the Mass Incarceration It Caused: Where We Are and Where We Still Must Go (Part 3 of 5)

Renaldo Pearson | Posted 11.11.2014 | Politics
Renaldo Pearson

This move could result in the release of thousands of low-level federal inmates caught up in the drug war. For a president who, hitherto, had the most conservative pardon record in recent history (e.g. in Obama's first term, he pardoned 1 in 50 applicants, while Ronald Reagan pardoned 1 in 3), such a shift is noteworthy.

The Drug War and the Mass Incarceration It Caused: Where We Are and Where We Still Must Go (Part 2 of 5)

Renaldo Pearson | Posted 11.11.2014 | Politics
Renaldo Pearson

What changes have come about since our #EndMassIncarceration petition? Well, there's been about 20 developments and victories in the way of criminal justice reform (not including changes at the state/local level), at least 6 of which that are having or will have measurable impact.

The Drug War and the Mass Incarceration It Caused: Where We Are and Where We Still Must Go (Part 1 of 5)

Renaldo Pearson | Posted 11.10.2014 | Politics
Renaldo Pearson

At the core of all of this is an ignominious reality at odds with one of the nation's most (publicly) cherished ideals, and one of our Constitution's most sacred laws: the Fourteenth Amendment right to "equal protection of the laws."

In a Do-Nothing Year, Here's One Thing Congress Can Actually Do

Jeremy Haile | Posted 11.09.2014 | Politics
Jeremy Haile

In a town where Republicans and Democrats cannot agree on light bulbs or cafeteria utensils, legislation to address overcrowding in the federal prison system had the backing of both President Obama and Senator Ted Cruz.

States Lead - Will the Feds Follow?

Megan Quattlebaum | Posted 11.09.2014 | Crime
Megan Quattlebaum

In the criminal justice reform arena, states have taken the lead. From rolling back harsh mandatory minimum sentences to decreasing their prisons' populations states are taking steps to be smart on crime.

White People Are Fine With Laws That Harm Blacks

Slate | Jamelle Bouie | Posted 08.08.2014 | Black Voices

When I want to emphasize a point on criminal justice reform, I lead with the data. There are huge racial gaps in arrests, convictions, and sentences. ...

Answers From Red States For Our Broken Criminal Justice System

Laura Barrett | Posted 09.23.2014 | Politics
Laura Barrett

Left, right or center, few dispute that our criminal justice system is broken. But two new and thrilling victories this month are giving real hope to activists who want more effective and humane crimes policies.