imprisoned youth in TX denied bathrooms, Iowa teen who stabbed her rapist won’t get felony or prison time, woman sues San Francisco after her DNA from rape kit used to accuse her of 2021 robbery

from the frontlines: Sept. 19, 2022

Imprisoned kids denied bathrooms

Children in Texas youth prisons have been trapped in their cells and forced to urinate in water bottles, milk cartons, lunch trays or pieces of paper as makeshift toilets. At Giddings State School, dozens of detained youth reported officers didn’t let them out of their cells to use the bathroom and were kept in their cells for 22 hours some weekends, due to a lack of teachers and case managers to fill in officer positions. Gov. Greg Abbott remained silent on the crisis. Texas Tribune (Sep. 12, 2022)

Billions of covid funds to police?

President Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act gave local governments $350 billion to recover from COVID-19. Funds were spent on police, prisons, and courts. The Treasury Department’s lax reporting requirements make it difficult to track how much was spent on law enforcement but data showed that billions of dollars went towards the criminal justice system. The Marshall Project (Sep. 7, 2022)

prosecuting pregnant women for weed use

Two district attorneys in Oklahoma have been targeting pregnant women with child neglect due to using marijuana during their pregnancy. Amanda Aguilar, a mother who struggled with severe nausea, was approved for a medical marijuana license by a doctor to ease her morning sickness. Two months after having her baby she was charged with child neglect, a felony. She is among 26 other women who were charged with child neglect.  The crime can be punishable with up to life in Oklahoma prisons. The Marshall Project (Sep. 13, 2022)

black hole

Cleveland residents and elected leaders question whether $60 million spent has improved policing in the city and end federal oversight. Consent decrees force cities to change abusive police tactics.The consent decree agreed to between the Cleveland Division of Police and the U.S. Department of Justice in 2015 did not assign guilt or liability.  Instead, it was a blueprint to repair the community and stop excessive force. The Marshall Project (Sep. 12, 2022)

teen who stabbed rapist won't go behind bars

An Iowa teen who pleaded guilty in the fatal stabbing of her alleged rapist will not go to prison and might escape a felony record. Pieper Lewis received five years of probation and a deferred judgment. Lewis was ordered to stay at the Fresh Start Women’s Center while she is on probation and is ordered to pay $150,000 to the man’s family. USA Today (Sep. 14, 2022)

denied medical evaluation

Incarcerated people in Washington state prisons who developed COVID-19 symptoms died due to not being adequately evaluated after they requested to be seen for symptoms. This issue is one of more than half a dozen reports that were delayed or shelved after the departure of the Ombuds office’s inaugural director. The delay of the COVID-19 reports raises questions about the state’s response to the pandemic. Crosscut (Sep. 14, 2022)

lawsuit for the use of DNA

A woman sued San Francisco after her DNA from her sexual assault case was used to convict her of an unrelated crime. The woman’s DNA, which was collected and stored in the system back in 2016 for a domestic violence and sexual assault case, was tied to a burglary in late 2021. Without her consent or knowledge of the woman, her DNA was placed in the database to identify suspects in crimes. The woman filed the lawsuit under the alias of Jane Doe to protect her privacy. CBS News (Sep. 13, 2022) 

treated like animals

People with severe mental illness in the Los Angeles County Jail’s booking center have been chained to chairs and benches for days. The Los Angeles County jail system’s Inmate Reception Center has become so overcrowded that detainees are left to sleep on the ground without blankets, while the floor is covered in garbage and urine, the attorney of the American Civil Liberties Union alleged in a filing submitted in federal court. The Appeal (Sep. 13, 2022)

Jail deaths not publicly disclosed

Seven deaths have occurred in the D.C. Jail this year. Giovanni Love was one of those who  died in custody of the D.C. Department of Corrections. Love died at the age of 20 from what seems to be a suicide but his family is still searching for answers about his death and to hold the Department of Corrections accountable. Four out of the seven deaths including Love’s have not been previously reported or publicly disclosed. DCist (Sep. 15, 2022)

limit long sentences

North Carolina’s Supreme Court broke new ground in protecting the rights of criminal defendants in recent years. Their high court which has a 4-3 Democratic majority, ruled along party lines to limit long sentences for juvenile offenders. Depending on the outcome of the high courts election, the progress may come to a halt’s next year. Two democratic seats are on the ballot and a Republican group has pledged millions of dollars to flip one of the seats. Facing South (Sep. 15, 2022)

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juvenile arrests double, judge grants Trump’s request for special master, staffing shortages prevents victims from trial

from the frontlines: Sept. 12, 2022

increase in guns

Juvenile arrest charges have doubled this year, and police are concerned about the increase they’ve seen in teenagers carrying guns. There were 986 arrests of children under 18 between Jan. 1 and Aug. 28. Dayton Daily News (Sep. 5, 2022) 

violent Labor Day weekend

At least 12 people were shot in Philadelphia during the Labor Day weekend. One of the shootings involved six victims, including a 33-year-old woman and 19-year-old man. Philadelphia Inquirer (Sep. 5, 2022) 

special master request

A judge granted former President Donald Trump’s request for a special master to review documents from Mar-a-Lago. She also ordered the government to cease any review or use of the materials for its criminal investigation. At the Sept. 1 hearing, the Justice Department laid out its argument against the special master and signaled it was likely to appeal such a ruling. Cannon set a deadline for Sept. 9 for the two parties to submit joint filing. NPR (Sep. 5, 2022)

curfew enforced

In one Maryland county will temporarily enforce a state curfew for teens. 430 juvenile’s have been arrested so far this year charged with carjacking, violent crime, or gun offense. In D.C., teens criticized the effectiveness of a similar curfew ABC News (Sep. 6, 2022) 

pubic defenders overwhelmed

Maine officials may ask lawyers to stop accepting new assignments from the courts because lawyers who represent defendants who cannot afford their own counsel are overwhelmed. Eleven lawyers have more than 301 open cases and half of the open cases are managed by 33 lawyers. Among the attorneys still accepting new cases as of Aug. 9, there were 23,655 open cases. Maine Monitor (Sep. 4, 2022)

population skyrockets

Height of the pandemic led Colorado prisons and county jails to make policy changes to lower inmate populations. By the end of June 2019, the state had a total of 14,227 incarcerated people. In January of 2021, population was low as 10, 636, but it increased by almost 2000 people by the end of June 2022. Colorado Newsline (Sep. 6, 2022)

standstill

A cross agency group in Vermont has not been able to agree on proposals for treating criminal defendants with severe mental illness. The debate underlines the challenge in addressing one of the root causes of some of Vermont’s most high-profile violent crimes. The final report was supposed to be completed by Aug. 1 of this year but is being pushed to Jan. 2023. VT Digger (Sep. 5, 2022)

prison system shrinks

Michigan’s inmate population hit a 30-year-low. This resulted in cost-cutting and downsizing measures that include the closure of a prison. Michigan ranks in the top five worst in the nation for released people ending up incarcerated again. MLive (Sep. 7, 2022)

understaffed

Three presidents of King County’s largest law enforcement unions claim staffing shortages are jeopardizing victim’s right to justice due to inmates suffering from long lockups. One woman says her boyfriend has been awaiting trial for 18 months. The King County Police Officers Guild and King County Corrections Guild are losing more officers than that are being hired. They are down 100 officers and the staff that are there are only being used for emergency cases in the jails. The three unions are considering a campaign to raise awareness of the staffing issues. Fox 13 Seattle (Sep. 7, 2022) 

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gun violence spikes in cities; Biden discusses $37M in police funding; DC sniper to be resentenced

from the frontlines: SEPT. 5, 2022

shootings spike

Gun violence reaches new highs in recent memory  Philadelphia and Baltimore are some of the most troubling cities. Some residents say they want to be able to carry guns because it would make them feel safer but doing so could result in young people getting ahold of those weapons and arming themselves. NPR (Aug. 29, 2022)

national funding for police

President Joe Biden traveled to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania on Tuesday to discuss funding police and crime prevention efforts across the country. He laid out a $37 billion budget proposal for Congress that plans to focus on hiring and retaining officers, intervention strategies and improving the criminal justice system. Biden also spoke on enforcing gun laws through Biden’s Safer American plan. Spectrum News 1 (Aug. 29, 2022)

delayed care

Sandra Quinone, a pregnant inmate in California, lost her baby after jail employees stopped at Starbucks for a coffee run in March of 2016. Last week, the Orange County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to pay $480,000 to settle the civil lawsuit over the delayed care. Washington Post (Aug. 29, 2022)

big brother

Some of the largest wireless carriers like AT&T and Verizon not only know where you are when you make a phone call or use a data connection but they keep your location for years and provide it to law enforcement. CNN (Aug. 29, 2022)

what does forgiveness look like decades later

A mass school shooting in Kentucky in 1997 left three students dead and another five others wounded. The teen shooter, now an adult, is up for parole forcing the victims and families to confront the tough question of forgiveness of a teen shooter who claimed bullying. Washington Post (Aug. 28, 2022)

court orders resentencing

DC-area sniper Lee Boyd Malvo must be resentenced. Maryland Court of Appeals based the ruling on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions relating to constitutional protections for juveniles. Malvo was sentenced to six life sentences, but it is unlikely he’ll be released from custody due to serving separate life sentences. DCist (Aug.29, 2022) 

fired over denial

Florida Judge received national attention for denying a 17-year-old an abortion due to her grades. As a result of that, Judge Jared Smith lost his re-election bid on Tuesday against attorney Nancy Jacobs. Bolts (Aug. 25, 2022)

back down

San Francisco, DA, Brooke Jenkins backs out of the release of a man many believe to be wrongly convicted. Jenkins sought to postpone the resentencing hearing for Ronnie Louvier, who is serving a life sentence for a shooting of 17-year-old Marquise Washington. Davis Vanguard (Aug. 31, 2022)

execution botched

An anti-death penalty group alleges that Alabama corrections officials botched an inmate’s execution last month. The group said that his arm may have been cut to find a vein for the lethal injection. AP (Aug. 31, 2022)

fallout of roe

Mothers who lose their babies and test positive for drugs can end up in jail. Over 50 women have been prosecuted in the United States since 1999 for testing positive for drugs after a miscarriage or stillbirth. Since Roe fell, the number could increase. Washington Post (Sep. 1, 2022) 

seven year sentence

Prison chaplain who sexually abused inmates was sentenced Wednesday to seven years. James Theodore Highhouse forced inmates seeking spiritual guidance to have sex with him. AP (Sep. 1, 2022) 

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gun violence surges despite crime fighting efforts; package snatching is now a felony in some states; new laws could provide relief to survivors of domestic violence in prison

from the frontlines: AUGUST EDITION

sentence delivered

A federal court sentenced Gregory McMichael, the shooter of Ahmaud Arbery to life in prison for hate crimes. His son who also participated in the killing of the Black runner, also received a life sentence. Arbery’s mother responded to McMichael’s statement: “Unfortunately his apology doesn’t bring back my son, but I do accept it.” Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Aug. 8, 2022)

DA saga in the bay drags on

Brooke Jenkins, the recalled San Francisco District Attorney’s former employee not only quit to successfully replace him in the recent recall election, but also received $100k as a consultant for a nonprofit that shares the same address and almost the same name as the organization behind the recall ballot, according to new ethics records. The Appeal’s Nick Wing makes some sense of the madness here.The San Francisco Standard (Aug. 9, 2022)

cracking down on snatches

Porch piracy in eight states is now a felony, and five states have introduced similar legislation. But others argue that these penalties are too severe and will disproportionately affect people of color. Type Investigations (Aug. 25, 2022)

cashed out

Baltimore school police officers earned almost $1.8 million in overtime and additional pay during a pandemic school year. They worked as after-hours security for other agencies and Orioles and Ravens’ games. Baltimore Banner (Aug. 26, 2022)

 

what does forgiveness look like decades later

A mass school shooting in Kentucky in 1997 left three students dead and another five others wounded. The teen shooter, now an adult, is up for parole forcing the victims and families to confront the tough question of forgiveness of a teen shooter who claimed bullying. Washington Post (Aug. 28, 2022)

call in the troops

As the humanitarian crisis in Alabama’s prisons continues to deteriorate, a former warden said that the national guard should be called in to support record low numbers of staffing. WAAY31ABC (Aug. 5, 2022)

shots continue to rain from B-more to DC

A press conference about crime-fighting team work in Baltimore last week was overshadowed by a mass shooting of seven people. Multiple people were shot and killed in D.C., P.G. County and Baltimore this month in a continued resurgence of gun violence. A football player for the Washington Commanders was shot multiple times this weekend on H St. NE. Baltimore Banner (Aug. 24, 2022)

forced labor

A year-long investigation into Arizona Correctional Industries found that the nearly 2,000 workers are employed for less than $1 an hour, and at times have to pay to live in their own cells and receive no benefits.They are also leased to other companies. KJZZ (July 18, 2022)

punished for protecting yourself

Women’s prisons are full of domestic violence survivors who took their fate into their own hands and killed their abusive partner. Laws passed to allow judges to consider abuse survivors for early release could fix this. Mother Jones (Aug. 11, 2022)

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05.02.2022

from the frontlines: april 25 - may 1

fighting for safety inside

Cynthia Alvarado was raped in jail before going to prison to serve a life sentence for a murder she did not commit. Now, sentence overturned after she already served 12-years, Alvarado is fighting for other women who faced sexual assault while incarcerated. The Appeal (April 18, 2022)

solution or political blunder?

Two bills moving through the California legislature that propose a mental health court to address houseless people gained criticism from disability advocates who say the court “forces treatment on mentally ill people with little regard for their civil rights.”  The Sacramento Bee  (April 25, 2022)

cover up

A LA sheriff commander filed legal papers accusing the LA Sheriff, Alex Villanueva, of obstructing justice and retaliating against those who blew the whistle on a deputy who kneeled on an inmate’s head in 2021.  LA Times (April 25, 2022)

saved, for the moment

A few days before being executed Melissa Lucio was granted a stay, but she could still face being killed. Her 2-year-old daughter died after falling downstairs. Lucio was prosecuted and convicted based on a coerced false confession. Truthout (April 26, 2022)

biden makes a weak pardon effort

Biden pardoned three convicted felons and commuted 75 other sentences in the first use of his presidential clemency power. As we reported, thousands are still caught in a broken clemency system that Biden has yet to address. USA Today (April 26, 2022)

fighting for identity

In six years, a special LA diversion program kept over 3,500 people with serious mental health disorders, physical illnesses and/or substance abuse issues out of jail. But for over a year, it hasn’t been able to take on new clients and no new funds have been proposed to expand capacity. LAist (April 27, 2022)

a pattern of racism before Floyd's murder

“The Minneapolis Police Department has engaged in a pattern of race discrimination for at least a decade, including stopping and arresting Black people at a higher rate than white people, using force more often on people of color and maintaining a culture where racist language is tolerated, a state investigation launched after George Floyd’s killing found.”
AP (April 27, 2022) 

it's not the kids

As car jackings sweep the nation, a new study sheds light on motives in Chicago. It’s not vagabond youth joy riding on four wheels, but adults with economic motives selling cars on the black market. WBEZ (April 27, 2022)

Michigan faces prison staff shortage

“There are worker shortages in just about every industry these days and Michigan’s prison system isn’t immune– a new bill aims to change that by allowing recently retired corrections officers to return to the job temporarily.” FOX17 (April 25, 2022)

"Collier lived close to the place where Emmett Till had been lynched 16 years earlier. Yet her case didn’t have the same kind of national attention and staying power—at the time, the media often got her name wrong, misspelling it as “Jo Etha.” Her killing, and the subsequent court proceedings, did briefly galvanize civil-rights activists during the 1970s, but her story has since faded from the public imagination."

Must Read: a black girl's death faded from memory

An 18-year-old Black teenager was shot dead by a car filled with three drunk white men in 1971, her case never drew the attention that Emmet Till’s lynching did. A conviction sent her murder to prison, but he got out quickly. Her case exposes the truth behind the rose colored narrative of the civil rights movement. The Atlantic (April 28, 2022)

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04.25.2022

from the frontlines: April 18-24, 2022

into the night

The warden who ran the jail where Jeffery Epstein killed himself was allowed to quietly retire this February, the Bureau of Prisons confirmed to the AP last week. AP (April 19, 2022)

weed continues to be put on the back burner

Despite the majority of Americans supporting the legalization of cannabis, the most recent federal legislation has hit deadlock in Congress. The DOJ could deschedule and decriminalize marijuana and Biden could pardon federal prisoners of cannabis charges, but there is no indication either agency or president will act. Arizona Mirror (April 20, 2022)

on hold

South Carolina’s highest court on Wednesday issued a temporary stay blocking the state from carrying out what was set to be its first-ever firing squad execution.” AP (April 20, 2022)

deplorable prison conditions

A department of justice investigation “uncovered evidence of systemic violations that have generated a violent and unsafe environment for people incarcerated at Parchman.” The department began investigating after a January story  detailed gang control and subhuman living conditions. MCIR (April 20, 2022)

Flakka takes over Alabama prisons

The mother of an incarcerated person in Alabama is calling for change after her son died of a suspected flakka overdose. Flakka is a notorious drug in the state’s prison system which acts much like bath salts. WBRC (April 18, 2022)

fighting for identity

Trans people with felony convictions in Illinois are fighting to be able to change their legal names. One woman’s experience of using her deadname that she believes led to housing discrimination. Injustice Watch (April 21, 2022)

continued arrests of a cop watcher raises first amendment questions

The Real News Network (April 22, 2022) 

must read: millions of TX grants assault judges

A Texas crime stopper organization is turning millions of donors and state backed grants to attack judges it labels “activist judges.” Many of the judges it attacked, cut into the organizations revenue by “curbing a common practice requiring many people sentenced to probation to pay a $50 fee that goes to Crime Stoppers. The nonprofit’s revenue from those fees has fallen by half since Democrats swept the county’s judicial races in 2018.” The Marshall Project and The New York Times (April 21, 2022)

"The evolution of Crime Stoppers of Houston underscores the potential conflicts of interest that can arise when charities become dependent on financial support from politicians. And it illustrates how nonprofit organizations technically barred from participating in political campaigns can nonetheless exert outsize influence, especially when they wade into a potent issue like violent crime."

programmed racism

The justice department says it is moving to change a tool that it uses to predict a inmates risk of returning to prison after release. Critics have pointed to it over predicting the number of Black women who will go back to prison compared to white women. If an inmate rates high of reoffending risk they can be denied early release. NPR (April 19, 2022)

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04.18.2022

"In May of last year, Fair submitted her public-records requests for the DAVID and criminal background searches performed on her. She also persuaded fellow mermaid Smiley, whom Mia also occasionally attacked on social media, and their boss Anderson to submit identical requests."

shot dead

Grand Rapids Police Department released multiple videos last week of the deadly traffic stop that led to Patrick Lyoya, a 26-year-old Black man, being shot dead by police officers. The Michigan State Police are leading the criminal investigation into the shooting and will forward evidence to county prosecutors. The Washington Post (April 14, 2022)

more police on more police

After a man shot up a subway car full of people in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York City Mayor Eric Adams said he would double the number of police officers on subways. But there already is a heavy police presence in the subway. From the beginning of his term, Adams has made aggressive policing of subways a centerpiece of his administration. Within a month of taking office, he had already flooded the system with 1,000 additional officers. The Intercept (April 13, 2022)

confusion

A woman’s arrest after her abortion in Texas, caused national outcry and fear about the state criminalizing women’s healthcare, but the truth of the situation may come down to an error by a first-term Democratic district attorney. The state law “explicitly exempts a woman from a criminal homicide charge for aborting her pregnancy.” People on both sides of the abortion issue condemned her arrest. The Washington Post (April 13, 2022)

imprisoned with poison

Illinois prison and health officials made misleading and inconsistent statements about a Legionella outbreak at several state prisons last month, according to records and interviews with incarcerated people. Advocates and prison watchdogs say the inconsistencies highlight long-standing problems with accountability and oversight of the prison system’s water treatment practices. During routine water testing. When inhaled into the lungs, Legionella can cause Legionnaires’ disease, a potentially deadly form of pneumonia. Injustice Watch (April 12, 2022)

a death in shadows

Her husband died after he was transferred from jail to a hospital. Now members of the jail's oversight board and her have questions about her husband undergoing surgery and having a Do Not Resuscitate code issued when she never even knew he was even in the hospital. It took two months for her to learn details about his death. PINJ (April 12, 2022)

slow moving

A government watchdog found a “substantial likelihood” the federal Bureau of Prisons committed wrongdoing when it ignored complaints and failed to address asbestos and mold contamination at a federal women’s prison in California that has already been under scrutiny for rampant sexual abuse of inmates. AP (April 12, 2022)

no follow up

"The Senate delivered former President Donald Trump a bipartisan criminal justice reform deal shortly after the last midterm election. Staging a sequel for President Joe Biden this year won’t be so easy. Dick Durbin and Chuck Grassley, the top Democrat and Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, are still in talks over finalizing a package that would serve as a more narrow follow-up to the 2018 prison and sentencing reform bill known as the First Step Act." POLITICO (Mar. 9, 2022)

retraction

A panel of state lawmakers moved to make possession of any more than 1 gram of a substance containing fentanyl a felony in Colorado, undoing part of a bipartisan 2019 law that made possession of up to 4 grams of a controlled substance a misdemeanor. Nearly 2,000 people have died after ingesting substances containing fentanyl, which is 50 times more potent than heroin, since 2015. Colorado Newsline (April 14, 2022)

must read: how a mermaid took down a sheriff

"It began with online attacks from Mia and her husband Jeff and became worse when the couple moved in next door to Fair’s home in Fort Lauderdale. [...] Fair says the scariest part of it all is that Jeff has the power of the badge: He’s a lieutenant with the Broward Sheriff’s Office" Miami New Times (April 20, 2022)

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04.11.2022

"In Fresno, the city allocated more than double of its Cares money to police than it did to Covid testing, contact tracing, small business grants, childcare vouchers and transitional housing combined. Oakland’s police allocation was greater than the amounts spent on a housing initiative, a small business grant program and a workforce initiative."

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04.11.2022

mugshots could be protected in LA; covid relief was sunk into to law enforcement, they’re spending it on armoured vehicles and drones; police officer who shot Amir Locke is not charged

standard of privacy

The Louisiana Legislature is considering a bill that would remove most mug shots from public record and prevent the photos being published by news outlets in stories about arrests. Utah and Illinois have already enacted similar laws. Louisiana Illuminator (Mar. 23, 2022)

scot-free

The Minneapolis police officer who shot and killed Amir Locke, a 22-year-old Black man, in a no-knock raid earlier this year will not face charges. A 44-page joint report, ruled that it was reasonable that the officer perceived a threat and was justified in using deadly force. WCCO (April 6, 2022)

covid relief rained $$$ of law enforcement

Most large California cities used covid funds and Biden's signature stimulus package as million dollar cash injections into local law enforcement. Budgeting records make it difficult to see how the departments used the funds, and it was recently reported that other states are buying new surveillance tech with the funds. The Guardian (April. 7, 2022)

covid relief is outfitting police departments

State and local officials are spending funds from Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act, a $1.9 trillion relief package on drones, armored vehicles and license plate readers. VICE (Mar. 29, 2022)

prison tiktok

Prison TikTok is a new viral section of the app dominated by former and current incarcerated people detailing life inside and after prison. There are few content creators of color though, raising questions about the algorithm. The Marshall Project (April. 7, 2022)

history revisited

NYC’s mayor and NYPD announced a new initiative to respond to violent crime which will include cracking down on dice games, public drinking and selling drugs. A retired officer said that it is a return to broken windows policing. “It’s never the tools that are wrong, it’s the innocent people that are abused by the officers that don’t follow the law when applying those tools.” The Davis Vanguard (April 4, 2022)

Must read: fire squads resume

"On Thursday, South Carolina scheduled the execution of Richard Moore — convicted of murder in a 2001 convenience story robbery — for April 29. Because state officials say they can’t secure lethal injection drugs, they will give him the choice between the electric chair and the firing squad. Officials have spent $53,000, by their own estimate, to renovate part of a prison to allow a three-person firing squad to carry out executions, including adding bulletproof glass to protect witnesses." The Marshall Project (April 8, 2022)

abortion arrests begin

A Texas woman was arrested and held over the weekend for murder after a ‘self-induced abortion’ worked. Texas law prevents most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. The district attorney dismissed the indictment. NBC (April 10, 2022)

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04.04.22

"Hochul’s budget proposals would also allocate $527,000 to NYSIC to hire a new social media analysis team. That team would 'perform daily analysis of publicly available social media activity related to school violence threats, gang activity, and illegal firearms,' according to materials the governor published with her budget proposal — a prospect civil liberties advocates find especially alarming."

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04.04.2022

Biden dedicates at least $30M to new police funding; NY Gov to increase scale of police surveillance 

defunding forgotten

"Community organizers focused on eliminating police violence say they are disappointed by President Joe Biden’s proposed budget announced this week, which would allocate at least $30 billion in new police spending." NBC (April 1, 2022)

circling back around

Three years after New York bail reform changes were hailed as a national victory to address unfair detainment, the state law and its effects are now a political grenade being lobbed from both the right and left amid surging crime. The debate has become a growing symbol of rifts among progressive and moderate Democrats that is playing out in statehouses across the U.S.  POLITICO (Mar. 27, 2022)

under the influence

You’re not allowed to be under the influence of marijuana while driving in Louisiana, but there’s no law that expressly prohibits drivers or passengers from smoking weed. That could change soon. House Bill 234, which would outlaw marijuana smoking in a moving car, advanced from a legislative committee in an 11-3 vote Tuesday morning. The Louisiana Illuminator (Mar. 29, 2022)

prison mail for profit

A massive increase in censorship and monitoring of prison communication over the last 30 years has led to companies monetizing communications for incarcerated people. “For decades, prisoners and their families have been paying outrageous rates for phone calls to stay in touch with their families. It hadn’t been uncommon for prisoners and their families to be paying up to $25 for a 20 minute phone call with loved ones.” The Real News Network (Mar. 28, 2022)

death

"Two men have died in custody at the Fairfax County jail in the last two days, according to reports from the county sheriff and the police department, which is investigating the deaths." DCist (Mar. 31, 2022)

slow moving

DC jail finally had to answer some questions, but the DOC’s director said he implemented specific plans to address concerns but refused to give details. Washington Post (Mar. 3, 2022)

Denver Liable in 2020 protester injuries

"After three weeks of trial, all eight jurors who awarded $14 million to protesters injured during the 2020 George Floyd protests in Denver agreed without debate that the city was at fault for its police officers’ actions, according to one of the jurors in the room." The Denver Post (Mar. 29, 2022)

must read: mass surveillance of a new kind

The New York Gov. silently slipped bills proposing tens of millions of dollars and several new initiatives to expand state policing and investigative power, including agencies’ ability to surveil New Yorkers and gather intelligence on people not yet suspected of breaking the law, into this years budget plan. The Intercept (Mar. 29, 2022)

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03.14.22

"At least two of the teens in the facility harmed themselves so badly that they required medical attention. Some destroyed beds and shattered light fixtures, using the metal shards to hack holes in the cinder block walls large enough for them to escape."

TOP STORIES

03.14.2022

kids held in secret prison in Louisiana, hacked holes in concrete walls to escape; 16-y-o drill rapper will be tried as juvenile after shooting police officer

about damn time

The senate quietly passed an antilynching bill, The Emmett Till Antilynching Act. It makes lynching a federal hate crime and comes after more than a century of similar legislation failing to pass. The Washington Post (Mar. 7, 2022)

killings continue

Three men were killed in Alabama’s Donaldson prison in ten days, causes of death included asphyxiation and blunt force trauma to the head. One was killed in a segregation unit which is supposedly the most secure unit in a prison. EJI (Mar. 3, 2022)

united front

The supreme court actually joined hands across the political aisle to deliver a bipartisan ruling it unconstitutional that a man was charged for multiple burglaries since he broke into multiple storage units at one time. He was charged as a career criminal and sentenced to about 14 years longer than the recommended sentence. The New York Times (Mar. 7, 2022)

denied release, left to die

As previously reported by Kaiser Health News, thousands of federal inmates have appealed for release and been denied effectively turning hundreds of prisoners sentences into death sentences as the pandemic raged behind bars. NPR (Mar. 7, 2022)

overzealous

"A Bronx judge ruled drill rapper C Blu should be tried as a juvenile Tuesday on charges of shooting a police officer — after slamming his arresting officer for 'incredible and unreliable' testimony that 'had no value.' " NY Daily News (Mar. 8, 2022)

slow moving

DC jail finally had to answer some questions, but the DOC’s director said he implemented specific plans to address concerns but refused to give details. Washington Post (Mar. 3, 2022)

fishy

"State lawmakers on a special committee investigating allegations of a coverup in the 2019 death of a Black motorist in State Police custody want to know more about trooper cellphones that were 'sanitized' or wiped clean of data and more recent text messages sent to Gov. John Bel Edwards." Louisiana Illuminator (Mar. 9, 2022)

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profit from prison

The pandemic brought tablets to roughly 50,000 incarcerated people in New York. But the price tag meant JPay projected a net profit of about $8.8 million by August 2022. The Appeal (Mar. 9, 2022)

the consequences of distrust

A new study from New York State’s Correctional Association reveals the lack of success in getting incarcerated people to take the vaccine has a lot to do with general distrust of the prison system.  Prison Policy Initiative (Mar. 9, 2022)

must read: the kids are not alright

"Scrambling to respond to a wave of violence and escapes from other juvenile facilities, state officials quietly opened the high-security lockup last summer to regain control of the most troubled teens in their care. Instead, they created a powder keg, according to dozens of interviews, photos, video footage, hundreds of pages of incident reports, emergency response logs, emails and education records." The Marshall Project (Mar. 10, 2022)

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DC homicides on track with last years record high and robberies have almost doubled

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