02.28.2022

Top news stories from last week in the justice world. Hit the ground running and well informed every Monday. 

"Without a second chance, Donna Hylton would have never transformed her life. Without a second chance, Hylton may only be remembered for a traumatic childhood that included repeatedly being trafficked from native Jamaica and sexually and physically abused. Subsequently, Hylton would end up serving a 27-year prison stint for the kidnapping, torture, and murder of 62-year-old Long Island real-estate broker Thomas Vigliarolo who was held prisoner by Hylton and two accomplices for 15-20 days."

Robbie Sequeira for Bronx Times: A second chance: How the parole justice movement has gained steam in NY Tweet

STORIES FROM THE FRONTLINES

 

Biden nominates first Black women, second criminal defense lawyer, to serve on Supreme Court; more pressure to reform BOP; issues addressing the drug use within the criminal justice system; the abuse of plea bargaining practice. 

no follow through

$2.5 million in covid aid for prisons and jails in Montana sits unused, and the dozen of repairs it was supposed to fund to make facilities safer for staff and people incarcerated sit unfinished. KHN (Feb. 24, 2022)

historical

Biden nominated Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson for the Supreme Court. If confirmed, she will be the first Black woman nominated to serve on the nation’s highest court. She will be only the second criminal defense lawyer to serve. 19th News (Feb. 25, 2022)

constitutional right goes criminal

Correctional officer at the DC Jail was arrested for allegedly accepting bribes to smuggle drugs, knives and cellphones. This was uncovered after the fellow correctional officers found narcotics, a pocket knife and several cellphones hidden. News4 (Feb. 25, 2022)

not over yet

The parole justice movement gained a victory when Gov. Hochul signed a law providing people on parole with 30 days of credit for every 30 days in the community without a parole violation. But activists say the movement needs to continue to better secure safety nets to prevent recidivism. Bronx Times (Feb. 25, 2022)

deadly consequences

Senators wrote to Attorney General Garland demanding immediate action to reform BOP in response to AP investigations. The report exposed misconduct of COs and abuse in prisons, and the Senate had launched a bipartisan working group to focus on the reform last week. PBS (Feb. 23, 2022)

still higher

Despite the low incarceration rate, the number of those arrested in 2019 for drug charges remains nine times that of 1980, according to the report by Pew Charitable Trusts. The report also showed that addressing drug misuse via the criminal justice system has not been effective. The Crime Report (Feb. 23, 2022)

revival

The historic abolitionist newspaper, The Emancipator, is relaunched after almost 200 years. A group of journalists, scholars and community members have collaborated to start the national conversation on racial justice through this relaunch. The Hill (Feb. 24, 2022)

cruelty of plea bargaining

Pamela Moses received her sentence for requesting a jury trial. This reveals the issues of DAs abusing the plea bargain practice, which includes threatening defendants with longer sentencing. This leads many individuals to plead guilty for charges they didn’t commit, and even if they reject plea deals, to receive longer sentences. Interrogating Justice (Feb. 22, 2022)

will not pursue

Texas Harris County DA Kim Ogg responded to Gov. Greg Abbott’s latest order declaring gender-affirming healthcare as child abuse, saying she opposes this attempt. Ogg said in a statement that she will not prosecute anyone for providing medical care to trans and gender non-conforming children. Click 2 Houston (Feb. 25, 2022)

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