Colorlines

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

Facing racial profiling

by Michelle Chen on June 30 2009, 9:28PM

Civil liberties advocates told the United Nations today that racial profiling continues to tear away at the social fabric of American communities. In a report to the UN’s Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the ACLU and Rights…

Topics: Criminal Justice, National Security

Arrest of Gang Intervention Leader Alex Sanchez Raises Questions, Concerns in Community

by Guest Columnist on June 25 2009, 10:20AM

By Roberto Lovato This post originally appeared on Of America. Today’s FBI arrest of Alex Sanchez, one of the most respected gang intervention leaders in the country, has raised major concerns in Los Angeles and around the country. As his…

Topics: Criminal Justice

David Kao’s Murder Shows Anti-Asian Hate Crimes are Real

by Guest Columnist on June 17 2009, 6:07AM

by Christina Chen Four teens were charged last Thursday with the strangling death of 49 year old Chinese account executive David Kao, in Flushing, New York. Under questioning the teens, aged 16 and 17, confessed to dragging, choking, and beating…

Topics: Criminal Justice

Drug Policy is a Race and Poverty Issue — Let’s Push for Action

by Channing Kennedy on June 15 2009, 4:11PM

Ethan Nadelmann, director of Drug Policy Alliance, addressed the America’s Future Now conference last week, calling for broader and stronger involvement by progressives against draconian drug laws that disproportionately affect communities of color. From his remarks: The issue of race…

Topics: Criminal Justice

Why Deport Formerly Incarcerated Immigrants? Is the System Broken?

by on June 15 2009, 11:32AM

ColorLines magazine is in Jamaica this week investigating the devastating effect of American deportation policies on families. Check back for more updates soon. Christopher Johnson, 38, was deported from Washington, DC to Jamaica six weeks ago, after he finished…

Topics: Criminal Justice, Immigration

Hope in the Hopelessness of Deportation

by Julianne Hing on June 14 2009, 10:12AM

ColorLines magazine is in Jamaica this week investigating the devastating effect of American deportation policies on families. Check back for more updates soon. We’ve talked with a lot of deportees in Kingston since we arrived earlier this week. Even for…

Topics: Criminal Justice, Immigration

Drop Your Gun and Pick Up a Camera for Oscar Grant

by Tracy Kronzak on June 4 2009, 11:59AM

Guns are so 20th Century. I don’t feel safer thinking about carrying one. Nor do I feel safer in a society where everyone is encouraged to carry one to, you know, prevent crime. Why am I saying this? I’ve been…

Topics: Criminal Justice

Taking the sixth

by Michelle Chen on June 2 2009, 6:28PM

Prosecutors can thank the Supreme Court for making their job a bit easier, in a ruling that expands police authority to interrogate a suspect who does not have legal representation present. In Montejo v. State of Louisiana, Jesse Montejo…

Topics: Criminal Justice

Downsizing prisons

by Michelle Chen on June 1 2009, 2:04PM

For poor and distressed neighborhoods, the recession is the latest in a cascade of troubles. Yet state budget woes are also eating away at an institution that has historically contributed to the problems endemic in many communities of color….

Topics: Criminal Justice

The gang aptitude test

by Michelle Chen on May 25 2009, 4:50PM

Pop quiz: Do any of the following describe you? I try to be nice to other people because I care about their feelings. I get very angry and “lose my temper” (yell or get mad). I do as I…

Topics: Criminal Justice, Politics

Justice for Troy Davis

by Yvonne Yen Liu on May 19 2009, 12:14PM

Troy Davis was convicted of killing a police officer in Savannah, Georgia nearly two decades ago. He sits on death row waiting for execution tonight, even though evidence points to his innocence. Seven out of the nine witnesses have recanted…

Topics: Criminal Justice

Case closed

by Michelle Chen on May 18 2009, 3:37PM

When prosecutors are hell bent on scoring a conviction, some will go to any length to make their case. In an article profiling two men with convictions who believe DNA evidence will exonerate them, the New York Times reports…

Topics: Criminal Justice

“Arbitrary in Its Application?” Not Exactly.

by Guest Columnist on May 12 2009, 10:51AM

by Andrew Grant-Thomas This past Saturday I moderated a panel called “Perspectives on Ohio’s Death Penalty” at the Moritz College of Law at the Ohio State University. Here’re some takeaways. Don’t kill a white person, don’t kill a woman, and…

Topics: Criminal Justice