Colorlines

Criminal Justice

Justice, Peace, and Hate Crime: Looking at Matthew Shepard’s Law

by Michelle Chen on October 23 2009, 11:58PM

To many civil rights activists, the passage of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act in the Senate on Thursday was an unequivocal victory. The legislation, now headed to Obama’s desk, would expand federal laws against hate crimes to…

Topics: Criminal Justice

Risks and Returns: Exploiting the Immigrant Detention Industry

by Michelle Chen on October 23 2009, 4:37PM

Last winter, a remote Texas prison convulsed in a cry of outrage, voicing the desperation of the immigration system’s silenced captives.Two recent articles in the Boston Review and Texas Observer reflect on violent uprisings at the Reeves County Detention…

Topics: Criminal Justice, Immigration

Justice for San Francisco Immigrant Youth

by Leticia Miranda on October 19 2009, 2:30PM

San Francisco immigrant youth and advocates are planning to attend tomorrow’s City Council vote to adopt a policy that would restore due process for immigrant youth who are arrested for a felony. The last and final hearing is scheduled for…

Topics: Criminal Justice, Immigration

Bill Moving Through Congress to Close Crack/Cocaine Sentencing Disparity

by Leticia Miranda on October 19 2009, 9:30AM

After over 20 years of unjust sentencing laws around crack cocaine, Congress is considering a bill that would eliminate the sentencing disparity between crack cocaine and cocaine powder. Right now, someone possessing 5 grams of crack cocaine, which weighs…

Topics: Criminal Justice

Righting Wrongful Convictions of Youth: What You Can Do

by Terry Keleher on October 14 2009, 12:50PM

Each year in the US, millions of young people interact with juvenile and criminal courts where they often face unfair treatment and racial discrimination. Last week, Northwestern University Law School launched the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth. The…

Topics: Criminal Justice

Felon Enfranchisement: Getting Out the Vote Inside

by Michelle Chen on September 29 2009, 10:52PM

Schools, town halls, and even legislative chambers are feeling increasingly uneasy these days, besieged by an onslaught of racist hostility. Yet civil rights activists are working to open up new space for democracy in one of the least friendly…

Topics: Criminal Justice

NFL Comeback

by David Leonard on September 29 2009, 12:00PM

Race, media and the demonization of Michael Vick

Topics: Criminal Justice

American Indians Look to Sotomayor for Change

by Matthew L.M. Fletcher on September 9 2009, 12:00PM

Justice Sotomayor could make a dent in reversing unjust Supreme Court decisions on tribal law.

Topics: Criminal Justice

Good Gangs

by Michelle Chen on August 31 2009, 8:48PM

Over the past few years, the phenomenon of youth gangs has spawned its own field of criminology—part social science, part political spectacle. Police have been declaring war on gangs for decades, officials have deployed social workers, teachers and “gang…

Topics: Criminal Justice

Beyond ‘Hard-Working’: Rinku Sen Talks About Talking About Race at Netroots Nation [VIDEO]

by Channing Kennedy on August 25 2009, 11:32AM

Courtesy of Sum of Change, here’s our own Rinku Sen (executive director of the Applied Research Center, publisher of ColorLines, author of The Accidental American) at Netroots Nation 2009. Speaking on the “Stepping it up: Creating Powerful Multiracial Alliances…

Topics: Criminal Justice, Immigration, Media, Video & Multimedia

Albany’s Latest Boondoggle: Racial Justice

by Michelle Chen on August 18 2009, 5:01PM

The New York Post—that paragon of journalistic excellence—ran an editorial today blasting the latest piece of pork to come out of Albany. Under the headline “Your Tax Dollars At Waste,” the paper took aim at a State Senate earmark…

Topics: Criminal Justice, Politics

Bad (White) Men Punished

by Daisy Hernandez on August 13 2009, 12:00PM

A federal judge honors a 150-year-old treaty between the Oglala Sioux Tribe and the federal government.

Topics: Criminal Justice

“All Races Had Injuries”: Riot at Chino

by Michelle Chen on August 10 2009, 11:04PM

The explosion of violence at the California Institution for Men in Chino was an almost too-perfect snapshot of the crisis engulfing California’s prisons. By Sunday morning, hours of rioting had left dozens hospitalized and much of the facility in…

Topics: Criminal Justice

Prisons: The New Asylum for Youth

by Leticia Miranda on August 10 2009, 3:16PM

A New York Times article reports that more and more courts are ordering mentally ill youth to jail as community mental health programs are facing bigger cuts and thinning resources. “We’re seeing more and more mentally ill kids who…

Topics: Criminal Justice

Reading Race in the Death Penalty

by Michelle Chen on August 6 2009, 8:56PM

The power of racial bias has long loomed over the death penalty, yet has seldom been directly confronted in the courts. But in North Carolina, a race analysis of capital punishment is now being written into law. The passage…

Topics: Criminal Justice

Crunch Time for California’s Prisons

by Michelle Chen on August 5 2009, 5:35PM

Capping several years of litigation, a federal court on Tuesday ordered California to reduce its prison population by 43,000 inmates within two years, giving the state 45 days to produce a plan to comply with constitutional standards. The ruling…

Topics: Criminal Justice

Do Unto Others: the Moral Slope of Hate Crimes Laws

by Michelle Chen on August 4 2009, 10:07PM

Sometimes, it just feels good to punish someone. That emotional impetus has colored our criminal justice system, and some of the clearest examples are laws that enhance penalties for crimes deemed especially heinous. But the eye-for-an-eye mentality can also…

Topics: Criminal Justice, Politics

Oped: Boston’s race problem

by Talia Whyte on July 29 2009, 12:00PM

In one survey, 17 percent of respondents said they’d experienced racial discrimination from police.

Topics: Criminal Justice

“Bad girls”

by Michelle Chen on July 24 2009, 6:27PM

Zoot suit riots, West Side Story, Bloods and Crips—America has long had a fascination with the deviant teen. While the dramatic narrative has always been threaded with race and class struggle, the gender dimension of youth “delinquency” is often…

Topics: Criminal Justice

Hate v. Death in the Matthew Shepard Act

by Michelle Chen on July 21 2009, 4:56PM

Senator Jeff Sessions took a strong stance on hate crime today—in a way that only an unabashedly bigoted lawmaker could. He has tacked an amendment onto the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act (passed by the Senate last week),…

Topics: Criminal Justice