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Ferguson Shows Why Courts Need to Be Accountable

Ferguson Shows Why Courts Need to Be Accountable

MAPLEWOOD, Mo. — Earlier this month, officials in Ferguson left their positions at dizzying speed in the wake of a scathing U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) report documenting corrupt court practices. As the city government collapsed like a house of cards, I stood in line at the municipal court in neighboring Maplewood, 15 minutes south […]

Shifting From Prisons to Schools: Redemption in California

Shifting From Prisons to Schools: Redemption in California

In 1999, about this time of the year, I was hanging billboard-size banners off freeway overpasses with a bunch of people I just met that morning. The spray-painted bedsheets read “No on Prop 21!” and “Stop Criminalizing Youth of Color.” We were part of California’s burgeoning youth movement – mainly twentysomethings who were coming of […]

Cornealious "Mike" Anderson and Mandatory Sentences

Cornealious "Mike" Anderson and Mandatory Sentences

The story of Cornealious “Mike” Anderson, the convicted Missouri man who, because of a state Department of Corrections error, lived free for the 13 years of his prescribed prison sentence, sparked a national debate: Should a rehabilitated man be sent to prison? As Anderson awaited a judge’s decision about his fate, some argued he must […]

Movement Building and Challenging Mass Incarceration

Movement Building and Challenging Mass Incarceration

I recently received a spoken word piece called “The New Jim Crows” from an unlikely source – a public defender in North Carolina named Danny Spiegel. The title pays tribute to Michelle Alexander’s groundbreaking book: “The New Jim Crow Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.” Spiegel’s poem is an outpouring of the heartache and frustrations […]