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Criminal Justice Reform

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 […]

Supreme Court Supports Freedom for Those Convicted as Teens

Supreme Court Supports Freedom for Those Convicted as Teens

WASHINGTON (AP) — More than 1,000 prison inmates, some behind bars more than 50 years for murders they committed as teenagers, will get a chance to seek their freedom under a Supreme Court decision announced Monday. The justices voted 6-3 to extend an earlier ruling from 2012 that struck down automatic life terms with no […]

Study: U.S. Jail Population Growth Driven by Smaller Counties

Study: U.S. Jail Population Growth Driven by Smaller Counties

NEW YORK (AP) — While big-city jails get most of the attention, lockups in small and medium-sized counties have actually driven the overall explosion in the U.S. inmate population, according to a new analysis of 45 years of jail statistics. U.S. jails now hold nearly 700,000 inmates on any given day, up from 157,000 in […]

How Families Navigate Courts Through ‘Cumulative Intelligence’

How Families Navigate Courts Through ‘Cumulative Intelligence’

Every week I sit in a room with families whose loved ones are facing criminal charges. It is part support group, part strategic planning session. There are no lawyers in the room and the families have no legal training. But week in, week out, the group translates the legalese to one another, navigates each other […]

The Death Penalty Doesn’t Reflect Alabama’s Values

The Death Penalty Doesn’t Reflect Alabama’s Values

Executions have been on hold in Alabama since 2013 amid litigation about lethal injection and the chemicals used to kill. Next year, a federal judge will hear two challenges to Alabama’s lethal injection protocol. No matter what the judge decides, the question is not whether Alabama will start executing people again, but how and when. […]

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