Criminal Justice

Lawsuit Charges NYC Police With Criminalizing Kids

by Michelle Chen on January 21 2010, 9:42AM

After years of complaints and mounting tensions in New York City public schools, civil liberties activists have filed landmark lawsuit against the city government and police force. The NYCLU accuses the NYPD’s School Safety Division of systematically violating children’s…

Topics: Criminal Justice

Her Crime? Sex Work in New Orleans

Her Crime? Sex Work in New Orleans

by Jordan Flaherty on January 13 2010, 12:00PM

With police charging sex workers as sex offenders, activists hope the city’s elections will pave the way for fighting the law.

Topics: Criminal Justice

Divorced from Reality, Bushies Debate Racial Profiling

by Michelle Chen on January 4 2010, 6:54PM

Think Progress reports: In the wake of the underpants terror plot that caught everyone off guard, former Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff says profiling is “arguably dangerous” on Meet the Press:…when David Gregory asked former Bush CIA director Michael…

Topics: Criminal Justice, National Security, Politics

Gone But Not Forgotten: Oakland Artists Remember Oscar Grant’s Murder, One Year Later

by Guest Columnist on January 1 2010, 4:39PM

Written by Jesus Barraza and Melanie Cervantes This post was originally published on and Oakland Local. A year ago, early New Year’s Day in the Fruitvale District of Oakland, BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) police murdered unarmed, 22-year old,…

Topics: Criminal Justice

Virgin Island Prisoners Who Won’t Cut Hair Held In Isolation In Virginia State Prisons

by Guest Columnist on December 22 2009, 3:11PM

By Rend Smith In the early part of this decade, a prisoner named Bradley Maxwell got into trouble for refusing a haircut. He was serving time at the Wallens Ridge State Prison in Virginia. He had been convicted of a…

Topics: Criminal Justice

Classroom as Hostile Territory: Stopping School “Push Out”

by Michelle Chen on December 5 2009, 9:40AM

Schools are supposed to offer children in struggling communities a pathway to better prospects, but they’re increasingly becoming instruments of exclusion. A coalition civil rights and community groups has launched a national campaign against school “push out.” It’s a…

Topics: Criminal Justice, Schools & Youth

Today Is National Call-in Day to Eliminate the Cocaine Disparity

by Terry Keleher on December 2 2009, 12:53PM

The Sentencing Project has issued a call for action today to end one of the most notorious examples of seemingly race-neutral public policies that have devastating adverse impacts on communities of color. 23 years ago, Congress established mandatory minimum sentences…

Topics: Criminal Justice

The Right to Live Again

by Leticia Miranda on November 4 2009, 12:00PM

As California prepares to start shrinking its prison system, advocates see more peril than promise.

Topics: Criminal Justice

Legal Dissonance: Immigration Policies Clash with Worker Protections

by Michelle Chen on October 27 2009, 6:55PM

It’s hard to make sense of the news headlines about immigrant workers these days.A police sweep in Maricopa County, Arizona, home of the famously anti-immigrant Sheriff Joe Arpaio, snatched up 66 people in the latest “crime-suppression sweep.” After figuring…

Topics: Criminal Justice, Economy, Immigration

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