justice from the frontlines: April 10, 2023
DC Black teen killed by U.S. park police
The Metropolitan Police Department and the U.S. Park Police released video footage of the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Dalaneo Martin in Northeast D.C. last month. Martin was found asleep in a car that police suspected of being stolen. Footage shows officers ambushing Martin while he was asleep and a Park Police officer shooting him five times after he woke up and accelerated with the officer inside the car. Martin’s family demanded justice for their loved one. His mother called for the release of the name of the officer who shot her son and for all officers involved in the shooting to be charged with murder. The DCist (Apr. 4, 2023
No one wants to be D.C. Five-O
D.C. Mayor, Muriel Bowser, announced an increased hiring bonus for police officers, raising the amount to $25,000, a $5,000 increase from the current amount, as police departments across the U.S. are struggling to hire and retain officers. The new bonus surpasses the $20,000 incentives offered in Montgomery County and Anne Arundel County. New recruits receive $15,000 when hired, with the remaining $10,000 paid after completing the police academy. The move comes amid debates over police staffing and budget cuts, with Bowser pushing for the force to return to 4,000 officers, while critics advocate limiting police responsibilities by diverting to other agencies to improve response times and reduce overtime costs. The DCist (Apr. 7, 2023)
Juvenile Justice Overhaul
The Department of Juvenile Justice in Virginia is implementing new rules for the discipline of youth held in the state’s detention centers and juvenile prisons, including limits on physical restraints and requirements of frequent checks on young people isolated after an infraction. The changes have been made to establish clearer guidelines and set new rules on the use of room restriction and physical and mechanical restraints. The use of physical restraint will be a last resort measure when other methods have failed and will be used only when the residents’ behavior threatens their safety or others’. The Richmond Times-Dispatch (Apr. 5, 2023)
Christian programming blocks inmate‘s release
Andrew Miller, an atheist and secular humanist incarcerated at Saint Marys Correctional Center and Jail in West Virginia, is suing the officials in charge of the state’s jails and prisons for violating his constitutional rights. Miller alleges that the state has required Christian-affiliated programming as a condition of release, including Christian reading materials and mandated Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meetings where the Serenity and Lord’s Prayer are recited. His attorneys are requesting the court immediately provide secular alternatives for all religious elements in the program and remove the program as a requirement of Miller’s reentry plan. AP (Apr. 7, 2023)
AG pressures D.C. on crime
Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares urged D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and the D.C. Council to address a “crime explosion” that he says is putting Virginia residents at risk. In a letter, Miyares claimed that officials refused to address the increase in crime in D.C., which has seen a 30% rise in homicides and a 21% increase in carjackings compared to the same time last year. Miyares cited the killing of a Virginia resident at a D.C. motel last week, whose alleged murderer had previously been released on bail for a robbery offense. Violent crimes committed by adults are prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney for D.C., but Miyares urged Bowser and the council to do more to address crime. The DCist (Apr. 6, 2023)
Voting rights reversal
The trend of states loosening restrictions on voting rights for former felons in the United States could be at risk of reversing, as some Republican-led states roll back policies that allow those who have served time to cast a ballot. While Virginia’s governor recently revoked an automatic restoration of voting rights policy, North Carolina’s Supreme Court is expected to rule on a lower court’s decision to restore voting rights to residents who completed their sentences. Experts say political polarization is eroding the bipartisan consensus that previously existed on restoring voting rights to those who have paid their debt to society. The New York Times (Apr. 6, 2023)
CARES Act house home confinement inmates can stay
The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has been able to monitor minimum-security inmates on home confinement under the CARES Act since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the program is set to end in mid-May 2023, but the success of the initiative led BOP Director Colette Peters to issue a memorandum to all Residential Reentry Managers that individuals placed on home confinement under the CARES Act will remain there for the remainder of their sentence, provided they follow the rules and regulations of community placement. Forbes (Apr. 5, 2023)
From the Des
Baltimore police punishments raises eyebrows; mental health faces reform in VA; D.C.’s homicide rate at 20-year high
The Department of Forensic Sciences in D.C. struggles with reform due to internal conflicts, raising concerns about the city’s criminal legal system. Former Baltimore police sergeant’s lenient sentence for misconduct stirs concerns about policing reform. Virginia State Senator dedicates career to mental health reform in the wake of personal tragedy. Former College Park Mayor is…
Ex-cop in Baltimore is sentenced for misconduct in false arrests; D.C. mayor focuses on youth violence
D.C. tackles opioid crisis and youth violence with public emergency declaration. Retired Baltimore cop receives home detention for misconduct. Logan Circle small businesses doubt crime bill’s effectiveness. DAT’s questionable traffic stops spark concerns. Juvenile detention center faces crisis with rising incidents. Inmate mastermind’s escape attempt foiled.
Mishandling of fractured wrist in D.C. prison awards victory till company claims bankruptcy; Youth in D.C. detention centers react to draw attention to their despair
The Pentagon faces a dog fighting scandal. Carjackings surge in D.C., and Maryland’s highest court deliberates on the fate of Adnan Syed, whose murder conviction gained notoriety through the “Serial” podcast.
in other news
- How Fair Chance Hiring Is Good For Businesses And Talent
- Giving Incarcerated People What They Want — Better News Access
- The premiere of “Violation,” a podcast from The Marshall Project and WBUR, examines the decades-long ripple effects of an inexplicable crime
Lulia started working as a Research & Reporting Intern for The Des in January 2023. She is a third-year student at The University of Texas at Austin, majoring in Journalism, International Relations & Global Studies and East Asian Studies. Growing up in the US, Saudi Arabia, and China has given her a unique perspective on international relations and sparked her interest in understanding the ways in which technology impacts civil rights and privacy.
Before joining The Des, Lulia worked as an undergraduate researcher at the Global Disinformation Lab, where she gained valuable experience in researching and understanding the ways in which disinformation and emerging technologies impact policy. She hopes to continue gaining valuable experience and knowledge through her internship at The Des, and use this experience to further her career in journalism and public policy.