Colorlines

Criminal Justice

Raves

by Julianne Hing on May 6 2009, 12:00PM

The good (and sometimes great) things people of color and their allies made happen.

Topics: Criminal Justice

“It wasn’t their priority”

by Michelle Chen on May 4 2009, 6:15PM

We may never know their true motivations, but according to a jury in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, whatever drove a group of teens to beat a Mexican immigrant to death last year, “ethnic intimidation” apparently had nothing to do with…

Topics: Criminal Justice, Immigration

Crack, powder and kicking butt in drug policy

by Michelle Chen on April 29 2009, 5:31PM

After years of frustration under Reagan-era drug laws, a Senate subcommittee hearing today parsed the fine line between crack and powder. The notorious 100-to-1 gap between sentencing policies for powder and crack cocaine is a linchpin of the mandatory-sentencing…

Topics: Criminal Justice, Politics

Take Action to End Racial Disparities in Drug Sentencing

by Terry Keleher on April 23 2009, 1:36PM

cartoon: Khalil Bendib Today is National Call-In Day in a month-long “Crack the Disparity” campaign to eliminate the sentencing disparity between crack and powder campaign. The Sentencing Project is mobilizing thousands of people across the country to phone their…

Topics: Criminal Justice

Priced out of justice

by Michelle Chen on April 15 2009, 4:50PM

If you’re accused of a crime, you have a right to a competent lawyer. That’s what the Constitution says, anyway. The Sixth Amendment plays out differently when you’re standing before a judge and your court-appointed counsel is dozing off…

Topics: Criminal Justice

Is the drug war leveling out?

by Michelle Chen on April 15 2009, 2:44PM

The latest trend lines suggest the war on drugs is becoming perversely more equal. Between 1999 and 2005, the number of white drug offenders in state prisons rose about 43 percent, while the number of Black offenders declined by…

Topics: Criminal Justice

Seeing through “broken windows”

by Michelle Chen on April 14 2009, 4:50AM

The “broken windows” theory has loomed large in urban law enforcement policies for years. Officials have framed public safety in urban neighborhoods as a matter of stamping out “disorder,” contending that the decline of a community starts with small…

Topics: Criminal Justice

Colorblind No More

by Daisy Hernandez on April 8 2009, 12:00PM

A growing number of states assess the racial impact of drug laws.

Topics: Criminal Justice

Latinos, Blacks and the Criminal Justice System: Low Confidence, High Exposure

by Jorge Rivas on April 8 2009, 9:01AM

The Pew Research Center has released a survey that sampled confidence levels of Blacks, Latinos and whites have on the Criminal Justice System. Six-in-ten (61%) Hispanics say they have a great deal or a fair amount of confidence that the…

Topics: Criminal Justice

Witholding Judgment After a Weekend of Shootings

by Julianne Hing on April 6 2009, 2:04PM

After hearing about the Binghamton shooting on Friday, I knew I did not want to turn on the TV all weekend. I didn’t want to sink into a blood-soaked stupor of non-stop updates about the story. And once I…

Topics: Criminal Justice

Getting to the bottom of prison reform

by Michelle Chen on April 2 2009, 9:40PM

Senator Jim Webb (D-Virginia) has a crazy idea: reform the system that has locked up more than two million people, devastated communities, and undermined public safety. His bill, the National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2009, is far from…

Topics: Criminal Justice

Oakland’s Young People Respond [VIDEO]

by Guest Columnist on April 2 2009, 10:58AM

by Nick James, Charles McDonald This past November Oakland voters approved a measure that would increase funding to after school programs and services, overwhelmingly supporting youth of color. Unfortunately, after the election some members of the council passed a…

Topics: Criminal Justice, Schools & Youth

Another kind of toxic debt

by Michelle Chen on March 23 2009, 8:54PM

Unprecedented outrage over the Wall Street bailout has stoked accusations of criminality, both real and figurative, and calls for retributive justice. Incidentally, amid rising populist anger at white-collar depravity, some more conventional targets for public disdain are looking for…

Topics: Criminal Justice

Finding the Words for This Tragedy

by Julianne Hing on March 23 2009, 4:33PM

An officer guards the building where Lovelle Mixon and two Oakland police officers were shot and killed. photo credit: Getty Images All day I’ve been sifting through the news reports from the tragic fatal shootings of Lovelle Mixon and…

Topics: Criminal Justice

Calling it like they see it

by Michelle Chen on March 19 2009, 10:15PM

Often seen as a cloistered outpost of New York City, Long Island is now becoming known for the blight of racial violence. Last November, the killing of Marcelo Lucero, an Ecuadorean immigrant, sparked public outcry over hate crimes on…

Topics: Criminal Justice, Immigration

Kids on the inside

by Michelle Chen on March 17 2009, 7:15AM

The beating death of a young prisoner at New York’s infamous Rikers Island jail was not an isolated incident; new evidence has emerged that even the facility’s staff was complicit in enforcing a system of brutality. According to local…

Topics: Criminal Justice

Reproductive health in lockdown

by Michelle Chen on March 12 2009, 6:08PM

For many women behind bars, barriers to reproductive health follow them from their communities to their prison cells. A study published in the current issue of Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health found that an incarcerated woman’s ability to…

Topics: Criminal Justice, Health

New York’s uphill climb to drop the rock

by Michelle Chen on March 6 2009, 3:55PM

All eyes are on New York as it moves toward reforming the Rockefeller Drug Laws. The mandatory-sentencing statutes have reshaped the prison population since the 1970s by drawing in thousands of people of color and low-level and nonviolent offenders….

Topics: Criminal Justice, Politics

Targeting Another Generation of Black Men

by Ali Winston on March 2 2009, 12:00PM

Despite lawsuits, review boards and more, Oakland fails to reform its police department.

Topics: Criminal Justice

Juvenile justice report

by Michelle Chen on February 12 2009, 1:56PM

Some interesting recent twists at the intersection of youth and the prison system. A dozen young people in the custody of Massachusetts Department of Youth Services could soon be liberated, thanks to a Supreme Judicial Court decision striking down a…

Topics: Criminal Justice