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Criminal Justice Reform

Senators Introduce Criminal Justice Overhaul Plan — Again

Senators Introduce Criminal Justice Overhaul Plan — Again

WASHINGTON (AP) — A bipartisan group of senators unveiled legislation on Thursday to give judges more discretion in sentencing offenders, a renewed push to overhaul the nation’s criminal justice system after objections from some conservatives and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz. Legislation approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee last November would allow some nonviolent drug […]

Meet a Man Who Backs Nonviolent Offenders Returning to Society

Meet a Man Who Backs Nonviolent Offenders Returning to Society

WASHINGTON (AP) — Twenty years after being busted for cocaine trafficking, Daryl Atkinson is the public face of the Justice Department’s efforts to help convicted felons re-enter society. Atkinson finished college and earned a law degree after spending three and a half years behind bars for his drug crimes. Now, he’s joined the Justice Department […]

U.S. Jails Win Millions in Grants to Reduce Inmate Populations

U.S. Jails Win Millions in Grants to Reduce Inmate Populations

NEW YORK (AP) — Eleven U.S. jail systems will receive millions of dollars in grants to overhaul operations in order to reduce their overall inmate populations — some by as much as one third, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced Wednesday.  The two-year grants of between $1.5 million and $3.5 million to […]

Group: New Orleans Court Sentences Latinos to Costly Classes

Group: New Orleans Court Sentences Latinos to Costly Classes

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A suburban New Orleans court discriminates against Latinos by charging them for inadequate English interpreters and making them attend overpriced, ineffective English classes as a condition of probation, the Southern Poverty Law Center said Wednesday in a letter to the U.S. Justice Department.  The SPLC complaint centers on practices in 1st […]

Texas Inmates Win Phone Privacy Victory, Legal Groups Say

Texas Inmates Win Phone Privacy Victory, Legal Groups Say

Jail inmates in Travis County, Texas have secured phone privacy rights with their attorneys in what advocates say is a first-of-its-kind legal settlement in the country, the Texas Civil Rights Project and other legal organizations reported on March 15.  The recent settlement requires officials and Securus Technologies, a vendor, to not record phone conversations involving […]

Counseling, Not Detention, Is Recommended for Tribal Youth

Counseling, Not Detention, Is Recommended for Tribal Youth

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The federal government recommends Native American children’s courts dole out treatment, counseling and foster care instead of fines and detention, a change in tribal guidelines that reflects a national shift in juvenile justice reform.  The Interior, Justice and Health and Human Services departments released their guidelines Monday, updating a three-decade-old juvenile […]

Advocates: Revoked Voting Rights in Ky. Hurt Democracy

Advocates: Revoked Voting Rights in Ky. Hurt Democracy

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin’s executive order to rescind voting rights for about 150,000 nonviolent former felons was announced just three days before Christmas 2015.  By Dec. 23, grassroots advocates with Kentuckians for the Commonwealth had alerted the public that former Gov. Steve Beshear’s decision on Nov. 24 to restore those rights – which supporters called […]

U.S. Task Force: Reduce Number of Inmates by 60,000

U.S. Task Force: Reduce Number of Inmates by 60,000

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department should limit the types of cases it brings and more nonviolent criminals should be steered toward probation and away from prison, according to task force recommendations designed to cut the federal inmate count and save more than $5 billion.  The recommendations provide concrete steps prosecutors, judges, prison officials and […]

Solitary Confinement for Youth in Federal Prisons to be Banned

Solitary Confinement for Youth in Federal Prisons to be Banned

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama said Monday he will ban the use of solitary confinement for juvenile and low-level offenders in federal prisons, citing the potential for “devastating, lasting psychological consequences” from the use of the isolation as punishment.  “It has been linked to depression, alienation, withdrawal, a reduced ability to interact with others […]

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