D.C. substance abuse expert provides awareness to end stigma over the opioid crisis by demonstrating the use of Narcan and reconstruction tactics; Baltimore State Attorney published a ‘Do Not Call’ list of police officers in order to protect the integrity of the department

justice from the frontlines: Sept. 24, 2023

Overcoming addiction stigma

Expert in substance abuse and mental health Ocelia Pearsall fights against stigma and disregard for drug addiction, especially in the context of the opioid crisis. Despite campaigns to increase awareness and prove Narcan, an opioid antidote, some people are still insensitive and think addicts themselves are to blame for their situation. In order to assist addicts in recovery and reconstruct their lives, Pearsall emphasizes the significance of realizing that opioid exposure can occur accidentally. She also stresses the need for compassion and community support. The Washington Post (Sep. 19, 2023)

Controversial D.C. crime proposals

In response to an increase in crime in D.C., Brooke Pinto, D.C. Council member, has suggested seven pieces of legislation. She suggested permitting police to conduct random searches on people on pretrial release who have been charged with violent crimes, increasing crime prevention and monitoring in high-traffic locations, and enforcing stronger laws and punishments for those found guilty of crime involving guns. Judges have reacted negatively to these proposals, claiming that warrantless searches without probable cause may be against the law. With an eye on balancing worries about over-policing and racial inequities in the criminal justice system, Pinto’s efforts seek to combat rising crime rates. The Washington Post | DCist (Sep. 18-19, 2023)

“Do not call” list of Baltimore police officers

Ivan Bates, the Baltimore State Attorney, has published an updated list of the 60 police officers whose testimonies his office would not summon due to doubts about their trustworthiness. The list includes officers who have sustained findings of dishonesty linked to their testimony, those who are facing criminal charges or convictions that cast doubt on their capacity to testify truthfully, and those for whom Bates has exercised discretion due to actions that raise doubts about their honesty. This action strives to protect the integrity of law enforcement while recognizing the commitment of officers who carry out their responsibilities with honor. The Baltimore Banner (Sep. 18, 2023)

Maryland county looking to diversify police department

In order to fill staff gaps caused by growing crime and the fallout from the “Defund the Police” movement, Prince George’s County Police in Maryland plan to recruit individuals from Latin descent, looking closely in Puerto Rico. They are in search of bilingual Spanish speakers to assist the county’s expanding Spanish-speaking population. In order to attract a varied and educated pool of applicants, other police agencies in the area are also using a variety of recruitment techniques, such as hiring bonuses and incentives, and the majority are reporting an increase in recruitment numbers. Fox 5 Washington (Sep. 18, 2023)

Syed’s request for investigation denied

Adnan Syed, who was released from prison a year ago after serving over 20 years for the 1999 death of Hae Min Lee, has called on Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown to investigate alleged prosecutorial misconduct in his case. Syed maintains his innocence and presented examples of how he believes prosecutors wronged him before and during his trial. However, the Attorney General’s office declined to conduct the requested investigation, citing a lack of authority, and Syed’s case is pending before the Supreme Court of Maryland, with competing appeals from Syed and Lee’s family. The Baltimore Sun (Sep. 19, 2023)

D.C.’s NEAR Act is not living up to the hype

The Neighborhood Engagement Achieves Results Amendment Act (NEAR Act), according to a report by D.C. Auditor Kathy Patterson, has enhanced data collecting and openness in the criminal justice system, but it hasn’t led to any substantial changes in the city’s public safety system. Despite evidence showing differences in stop-and-frisk procedures, these problems have not been resolved quickly. The NEAR Act has had an impact on specific aspects of police behavior, as seen by the fact that it has successfully decreased arrests for attacking police officers and ended pretextual stops. Washington City Paper (Sep. 14, 2023)

Challenges and solutions for Baltimore’s fire department

In addressing problems like high call numbers, a staffing shortage, and public health issues like the opioid crisis, the Baltimore City Fire Department is making some success. However, significant issues still exist, such as lengthy response times brought on by a lack of medics, a congested 911 call center, and an excess of non-emergency calls that overwhelm the system. The department is concentrating on population health strategies, such as diverting non-medical mental health calls, but members of the City Council expressed concerns about disjointed efforts to address mental health crises and called for improved hospital collaboration for frequent ambulance users with complex needs. The Baltimore Banner (Sep. 20, 2023)

in other news

Mississippi courts lacking in their 6-year obligations. In 2017, the Mississippi Supreme Court mandated that judges explain how they provide legal representation to poor criminal defendants, aiming to improve the state’s deficient public defense system. However, six years later, only one of the 23 circuit court districts in the state has complied, highlighting persistent issues in Mississippi’s indigent defense system, including lack of oversight and funding. Mississippi ranks last in per capita spending on public defense nationally and relies heavily on local officials, making reform efforts challenging. The Marshall Project (Sep. 18, 2023)

St. Louis jail commissioner’s turmoil. The jail commissioner in St. Louis, Jennifer Clemons-Abdullah, is dealing with a number of challenges, including nine deaths, riots, hostage situations, lawsuits alleging use-of-force issues, and the deletion of data pertaining to abuses in the jail. Although there is concern over Clemons-Abdullah’s future, Mayor Tishaura O. Jones recently expressed confidence in her despite requests for her resignation from supporters of the candidate, who ran on a platform of humane jail administration. Even if Clemons-Abdullah continues in charge, critics, including members of the jail monitoring board, are determined to look into the problems at the jail in the hopes that she would finally see the need for reform. St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Sep. 15, 2023)

Historic criminal justice reform in Illinois. Illinois is set to become the first U.S. state to completely eliminate the cash bail system with the Illinois Pretrial Fairness Act, effective from Monday. This groundbreaking move aims to combat economic and racial disparities in the criminal justice system by allowing defendants charged with most offenses to be released from jail while awaiting trial without the need for cash bail. While some law enforcement and public concerns have been raised about public safety, the law does not extend to those charged with violent crimes, sexual offenses, or gun charges. This decision in Illinois may inspire other states to consider similar reforms, potentially marking a significant shift in the approach to economic and racial inequality within the criminal justice system. New Pittsburgh Courier (Sep. 18, 2023)

Corizon Healhcare’s controversial restructuring. Corizon Health Inc., a private healthcare provider in prisons, faces lawsuits from over 100 individuals claiming poor medical care during incarceration. Corizon moved its debts to a new entity, Tehum Care Services, which filed for bankruptcy in a controversial move. This has left creditors uncertain about compensation, while Corizon operates under a new name, YesCare, potentially minimizing its liability. Creditors are now seeking to reverse the merger and make YesCare’s assets available to those owed millions. The Marshall Project (Sep. 19, 2023)

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  • Read | Reflection: Revealing Who is Made Invisible by the Carceral State
  • Read | Column: The Company Getting Rich Off My Prison’s Awful Food
  • Read | Reflection: Erasing Court Costs/Fines in Relation to Mass Incarceration
  • Watch | Conversation: Racial Disparities and Criminal Justice
  • Read | Column: What to Expect When Your Loved One Gets Out of Prison
  • Read | Study: National Public Defense Workload Study
  • Read | Opinion: Lockdown is Only Making Prisons’ Problems Worse
  • Buy | New Book: They Killed Freddie Gray: The Anatomy of a Police Brutality Cover-Up
  • Read | Editorial: D.C. Should Ban Solitary Confinement
  • Read | Opinion: Alabama Has a Horrible New Way of Killing People on Death Row
  • Read | Announcement: SBA Loan Program Offers to Those with Criminal Records
  • Read | Interview: This Homicide Victim’s Family Chose Reconciliation Over a Life Sentence

Maryland’s youth justice system faces potential reform as offense rates rise, the attorney general and public defender of Maryland went on a barbershop tour in hopes to lower mass incarceration rates.

justice from the frontlines: Sept. 17, 2023

Barbershop tour tackles mass incarceration

In Maryland, Anthony Brown, the attorney general, and Natasha Dartigue, the public defender, took part in a historic barbershop tour in Baltimore to discuss issues concerning mass incarceration. They spoke with the community, discussed workable alternatives, and acknowledged the need for investments in community assistance and education to lower crime and taxpayer expenses. This community-wide initiative was viewed as a step in the right direction toward encouraging change and understanding. CBS Baltimore (Sep. 9, 2023)

D.C.’s safety dilemma

Residents of D.C., who have seen an increase in violent crime over the past year, are now dealing with more fears about their safety. Even while the city’s reputation for crime has improved since the 1990s, recent increases in homicides, shootings and carjackings have made people feel uneasy, even in neighborhoods not typically known for high crime rates. Residents are forced to deal with a new reality where safety is becoming an increasing concern in different communities, despite efforts by local leaders and the police to address the problem. The Washington Post (Sep. 11, 2023)

License battle unveils discriminatory bias

The Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) and the restaurant’s neighbors presented Chef James Robinson, owner of KitchenCray in H Street, D.C., with several obstacles that ultimately forced him to close his restaurant in August. Robinson argues that despite the ANC’s assurances to the contrary, its actions were racially discriminatory and disproportionately targeted Black-owned businesses like his. DCist (Sep. 11, 2023)

Rethinking Maryland’s youth justice

In the face of a rise in youth-related offenses, Maryland officials are at a crossroads and debating the need for improvements in the juvenile justice system. Although requests for reform have been sparked by a few high-profile events, the state has steadily moved toward a more rehabilitative strategy. The course of these reforms is still changing due to a new governor, a new secretary of juvenile services and continuous discussions among politicians. The Baltimore Banner (Sep. 12, 2023)

Ward 8 community crime walk

D.C. residents joined police in a call for action for public safety during a crime walk in Ward 8, an area experiencing a sharp rise in murders and violent crime. Acting MPD Chief Pamela Smith mandated these walks in all police districts to build community relationships. Ward 8 has seen 74 homicides, nearly double other wards, and violent crime is up 30%, prompting efforts to increase police-community interactions and address concerns about officers’ accessibility. ABC 7 News (Sep. 12, 2023)

Peltier rally ending in mass arrests

In Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, 35 people were arrested and cited during a planned demonstration near the White House calling for the release of Leonard Peltier from federal prison. The event, organized near Lafayette Square, saw hundreds of supporters advocating for Peltier’s release on his 79th birthday. Peltier, who has been incarcerated for nearly 50 years, was convicted of the murder of two FBI officers in 1975. The rally aimed to increase awareness and pressure President Biden for Executive Clemency. Native News Online (Sep. 12, 2023)

Change needed in the prison system

The Federal Bureau of Prisons’ director, Colette Peters, spoke to the Senate Judiciary Committee in D.C. about her initiatives to improve the suffering prison system. She stressed the value of responsibility and dedication in achieving agency reform. Concerns regarding transgender inmates, sexual assaults, solitary confinement, prenatal care for prisoners, drug control and drone-related difficulties in federal prisons were among the themes highlighted during the session. Iowa Capital Dispatch (Sep. 13, 2023)

in other news

Body cams tell all. A Philadelphia police officer, Mark Dial, has been charged with first-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and other offenses after fatally shooting 27-year-old Eddie Irizarry. His death was initially described as a result of a car chase and knife confrontation. However, body camera footage revealed a different account, showing Irizarry still inside his car when shot. The incident ignited community anger and protests, with Dial released on $500,000 bail. The case is the fourth since 2018 where Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner has charged a police officer involved in an on-duty shooting. The New York Times(Sep. 8, 2023)

Marsy’s Law used in disgrace. Ta’Kiya Young, a 21-year-old pregnant Black woman, lost her life in late August when an Ohio police officer shot through the window of her car after she resisted commands during a shoplifting accusation. Surprisingly, due to the treatment of the police officers engaged in the incident as victims under Marsy’s Law, a law designed to protect crime victims, neither Young nor her unborn child are currently regarded as victims of a crime. Advocates for civil liberties claim that this approach, which is becoming more prevalent in several states, including Ohio, inhibits transparency and accountability in situations of police use of force. The Marshall Project (Sep. 9, 2023)

Unlawful Memphis police tactics. When Memphis police stopped Maurice Vaughn in 2018 when he was parked in his brother-in-law’s driveway, his life took a catastrophic turn. He was found to be driving on a suspended license. Vaughn spent nearly a year in jail, lost his job, and had to move out of his house because of subsequent events, including an unlawful search that ended in a felony charge of gun possession. This case shows concerns about aggressive enforcement techniques and has attracted attention from the U.S. Department of Justice amid continuing investigations into police conduct. The Marshall Project (Sep. 12, 2023)

Praised Boston police forces. In the midst of ongoing concerns about disruptive teen mobs in Boston, the city’s police response has drawn praise. Recent incidents, including downtown melees, were quelled using de-escalation tactics instead of forceful measures, marking a significant shift from previous confrontations with protesters. This approach, emphasizing professionalism and restraint, serves as a potential model for police reform efforts nationwide, aiming to rebuild trust within communities and maintain consistency in law enforcement practices. Boston Globe (Sep. 8, 2023)

Parents charged in children’s overdoses. Parents Madison Bernard and Evan Frostick are facing murder charges after their toddler overdosed on fentanyl in California. While California prosecutors use drunk driving statutes to hold parents responsible for their children’s fentanyl-related fatalities, several states have passed “drug-induced homicide” legislation to pursue drug dealers. The argument is falls on whether or not these parents, who are motivated by addiction, should be viewed as criminals or as needing assistance and rehabilitation. AP News (Sep. 8, 2023)

Puppy held for ransom. After an incident in which Irvine police said they saved a pit bull puppy from a fentanyl overdose, the owner, Caleb Gibson, has been cleared to regain custody of his dog. However, he now faces a daunting bill of over $2,000 for the animal’s care, leading him to describe the situation as his puppy being “held for ransom.” Despite preliminary tests showing no drugs in the puppy’s system, the case remains under investigation, and Gibson is left with the challenge of covering the unexpected costs while striving to rebuild his life. Los Angeles Times (Sep. 14, 2023)

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  • Read | Study | Tracking the Size of America’s Criminal Justice System

Baltimore jail healthcare conditions are at a low; new Maryland appellate court decision bans people from applying for expungement who haven’t finished probation

justice from the frontlines: Sept. 10, 2023

Redemption put to halt

Following an altercation between roommates Kenneil Cole and Keon Wallace in 2018, their families’ lives were tragically turned upside down. Cole, who was formerly seen as a community leader overcoming a difficult past, was charged with the murder of roommate Wallace. After a court battle, the case was dismissed in February 2023 on Cole’s claims of self-defense. The futures of both men are in shambles as Cole works to mend his reputation despite the fact that the charges against him were dropped, while Wallace’s family is still unsatisfied with the outcome of the case. The Washington Post (Sep. 3, 2023)

Baltimore jail medical legal battle

In order to defend the Baltimore jail healthcare system, the Maryland Office of the Attorney General has taken a more assertive legal approach. They have recruited the outside law firm Butler Snow LLP, which is run by William Lunsford, a former state prison defense lawyer. The ACLU’s National Prison Project objected to this decision, alleging that the state is undermining the medical monitor in charge of ensuring compliance with a 2016 settlement meant to improve medical conditions in Baltimore jails. This has led to questions about how seriously the state is taking the agreement’s requirements overall. The Baltimore Banner (Sep. 5 2023)

Debate over youth rights in Baltimore

Maryland’s Child Interrogation Project Act, which requires that minor defendants have an attorney explain their Miranda rights before interrogation, is being scrutinized because Baltimore Police officers routinely broke it. The statute is intended to protect children from possible coercion and false confessions, but prosecutors claim it obstructs criminal investigations, sparking a heated dispute among local legal professionals and politicians. The Baltimore Sun (Sep. 6, 2023)

D.C. curfew backlash

There has been a 39% increase in violent crime in D.C., which has led to the adoption of a juvenile curfew in some areas. The action attempts to reduce youth involvement in high-profile violent incidents, but opinions on its efficacy are divided. There are worries about how it may affect at-risk youth. Local groups like TRAPP Stars push for more thorough strategies to shield the city’s youngsters from the ongoing violence, including community programming and enhanced safety measures. CBC News (Sep. 2, 2023)

D.C. possible solitary confinement ban

A campaign to outlaw the use of solitary confinement in the D.C. Jail and other local Department of Corrections institutions has been reintroduced by D.C. Councilmember Brianne Nadeau. The ERASE (Eliminating Restrictive and Segregated Enclosures) Solitary Confinement Act of 2023 would outlaw all types of isolation, with the exception of short-term measures to prevent suicide or for medical reasons. In order to alleviate the negative impacts of this practice, the legislation also requires increased resident out-of-cell time, mental health assistance during extended incarceration and transparency in reporting solitary confinement use. DCist (Sep. 6, 2023)

Punishment beyond release

According to a recent Maryland appellate court decision, people who have not successfully finished their probation cannot apply for expungement, leaving many people like Carlos Battle, a reformed former offender, in an uncertain position. The subject of when one’s punishment genuinely ends and whether they ought to be judged by their past is raised by supporters of the ruling, who claim that it goes against the spirit of rehabilitation and prevents people from moving on with their lives after serving their terms. The Baltimore Banner (Sep. 6, 2023)

Crime surge in D.C.

In a recent wave of violence, there have been seven homicides in Washington, D.C., all of which were caused by gunshot wounds. The most recent occurrence took place in the Washington Highlands area, increasing the year’s overall number of homicides by 29% when compared to the same time last year. To combat the rise in violence, local authorities have put in place a number of measures, such as tighter pretrial detention and curfew enforcement. But these methods have not slowed any of the violence or crime. The Washington Post (Sep. 4, 2023)

in other news

Other states can learn from Cali. The ongoing discussion about solitary confinement in California is an extension of a larger national issue. Even though there have been previous attempts to restrict its usage, recent events, including California Governor Gavin Newsom’s veto of a bill that met international standards, demonstrate the difficulties in changing this practice. The national discussion over the effects of solitary confinement on convicts’ mental health and its potential for abuse continues to boil as other states struggle with related challenges. The Marshall Project (Sep. 2, 2023)

Federal prison guards get away with rape. In a disturbing tale of institutional failure and abuse, federal prison guards at FCC Coleman in Florida admitted to repeatedly raping incarcerated women, yet escaped prosecution due to a little-known Supreme Court precedent. Despite the Senate’s investigation and damning evidence, a culture of corruption within the prison system shielded these guards. The women’s fight for justice continues, highlighting the urgent need for prison reform and accountability within the system. Reason (Sep. 2023)

Small American towns suffer police scarcity. Small towns across America are experiencing a scarcity of police officers, which has been made worse by the pandemic’s negative effects on morale and the increased public scrutiny of law enforcement in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. As a result, several communities dissolved their police forces and now depend on the county sheriff or adjacent communities for law enforcement assistance. Communities around the country are facing a variety of difficulties as a result of the departure of experienced officers and the dearth of new recruits willing to go through the necessary training, especially those unable to compete with the pay and incentives provided by larger towns. AP News (Sep. 5, 2023)

Healthcare restrictions in WV. West Virginia’s new law, Senate Bill 1009, restricts state funds for incarcerated individuals’ healthcare, raising concerns about inadequate medical care in prisons and potential legal challenges. Critics fear the law may limit crucial services like gender-affirming care and contraception while leaving “medically necessary” open to interpretation by state officials rather than healthcare professionals. Bolts (Sep. 6, 2023)

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  • Watch: Documentary | Two Strikes – examines the impact of a little-known “two-strikes” law.
  • Read: Commentary | Curbing violent crime in Baltimore requires all of us to act
  • Watch: Survey | DC is America’s least desirable place to live
  • Read: New Book Feedback | The Chronicle’s Prison Heat Series
  • Read: New Book Feedback | Correction: Parole, Prison, and the Possibility of Change

73-year-old woman’s death in VA jail highlights lack of proper medical attention; Maryland is planning to reform juvenile justice in the system

justice from the frontlines: Sept. 3, 2023

Questionable death in Arlington County jail

Abonesh Woldegeorges, a 73-year-old woman, passed away after being discovered unresponsive in an Arlington County jail cell where she was being held on trespassing charges. Her cause of death is still unknown. The Arlington County jail has seen eight deaths ever, and this one took place while run by Sheriff Jose Quiroz who took over for Beth Arthur after she was criticized for earlier deaths. The Arlington NAACP has expressed concern about how inmates who require medical attention are handled by the jail. The Washington Post (Aug. 27, 2023)

Return of prosecuting petty crimes

Baltimore resident Dallis Glover was issued a citation in June for carrying an open container of alcohol. The prosecutor presented him with a deal when he appeared in court in August: complete five hours of community service, and the charge would be dismissed. Resuming prosecution for minor offenses like public intoxication, according to critics, may result in pointless arrests and unfairly target marginalized communities. They also raise concerns about the logistical difficulties vulnerable people may encounter in attending court. Governing (Aug. 25, 2023)

Maryland juvenile justice reform

There have been calls for changes to the juvenile justice laws in Maryland as a result of the rise in juvenile involvement in the criminal justice system. However, Senator Jill Carter wants to make filing Child in Need of Supervision (CINS) petitions mandatory during the upcoming legislative session to address the issue and improve education about the resources available for all stakeholders involved with young offenders. Some law enforcement agencies and prosecutors are pushing for amendments to bring more accountability to young offenders. Fox Baltimore (Aug. 28, 2023)

D.C. youth violence initiatives

With 13 children killed in the city this year, youth violence in Washington, D.C. continues to be a serious problem. City officials announced a pilot program of increased curfew enforcement in some neighborhoods beginning Sept. 1 as part of their efforts to address the problem as violent youth crimes have increased by 38% this year. However, some residents, like Leola Smith, think that more extensive measures are required to combat the violence, which has an effect on both communities and businesses. Fox 5 D.C.  (Aug. 28, 2023)

Exonerees support Adnan Syed

Adnan Syed, whose case gained notoriety through the “Serial” podcast, has received support from over 70 wrongfully convicted individuals from across the United States. As Syed’s case moves forward in the appeals process, they filed a brief with Maryland’s highest court highlighting the shortcomings in the criminal justice system and the difficulties exonerees face after being freed. This raised issues regarding victims’ rights and potential repercussions for criminal justice reform initiatives. AP News (Aug. 28, 2023)

Police failures during mass shooting

The D.C. Jail.

Prior to a mass shooting at a Brooklyn Day block party in Baltimore, a 100-page report issued by the Baltimore Police Department stated that a police district commander gave officers instructions to watch the crowd as it grew but not to get involved out of concern that they would become targets. The research reveals that a number of reasons, including supervisory indifference and poor management, contributed to the insufficient police reaction to the incident, which resulted in two deaths and 28 injuries, and indicates a lack of readiness and interaction with citizens in specific regions of the city. Police are beginning to discipline staff after the incident to re-evaluate the system.  The Baltimore Banner (Aug. 30, 2023)

D.C. teen prosecuted as adult

In connection with armed robberies and carjackings, 16-year-old Zakyh Samuel has been prosecuted as an adult in Washington, D.C. This reflects the U.S. attorney’s office’s new policy of evaluating more cases involving 16- and 17-year-olds for adult prosecution in situations of numerous crimes. In connection with a number of carjackings and robberies, Samuel is accused of armed robbery, armed carjacking, and handgun possession during a violent crime. The Washington Post (Sept. 1, 2023)

Baltimore’s inadequate citations

Baltimore’s plan to resume police enforcement of “quality-of-life” offenses has run into problems. In the first two months, officers issued 50 citations, 47 of which were identified as insufficient and never made it to the court docket. City council members broadly support the program’s philosophy despite their reservations about the program’s mechanics, while they have voiced concerns about biased enforcement and the absence of comprehensive demographic information on contacts. The Baltimore Banner (Aug. 30, 2023)


Mayor Bowser Reminds Residents that the Juvenile Curfew Enforcement Pilot Begins on September 1

Washington, DC Will Pay $5.1 Million For Arresting Gun Owners

D.C.’s Efforts to Take Back Control of Parole from the Feds Are ’As Good as Dead‘

in other news

Jacksonville hate crime Three Black individuals were killed by a White shooter who opened fire at a Dollar General store in Jacksonville, Florida on Saturday before turning the gun on himself, according to local law enforcement, who also described the crime as racially motivated. Vice President Harris launched a civil rights investigation into the shooting while highlighting the “epidemic of hate” in the country. The FBI’s Jacksonville branch is looking into the shooting as a hate crime. The Washington Post (Aug. 27, 2023)

Deceiving patterns in the LAPD Federal prosecutors and the FBI’s civil rights division have launched their own inquiries into a LAPD gang unit accused of failing to record their actions during traffic stops after LAPD internal affairs detectives searched officers’ lockers and discovered a pattern of misconduct involving the Mission Division Gang Enforcement Detail. There are worries about the deterioration of public confidence and transparency within the department as a result of the officers’ apparent failure to properly record detentions and actions taken during traffic stops. The Los Angeles Times (Aug. 25, 2023)

Woman gives birth in jail After seeking medical aid more than an hour before giving birth, a pregnant woman at the Montgomery County Jail in Tennessee was forced to give birth by herself in her cell, raising questions and prompting inquiries into the situation. Although an internal investigation has been undertaken, authorities have not publicly revealed why the woman was not transferred to a hospital before giving delivery. It is still unclear whether anyone will face disciplinary action. The Washington Post (Aug, 31, 2023)

Man with mental illness shot by police After being tragically shot by police, the family of Andrew Jerome Washington, a mentally ill resident of Jersey City, is looking for answers. The family had phoned the Jersey City Medical Center Crisis Center for aid, but cops showed up instead, starting a dispute that resulted in Washington being shot and murdered. Pix 11 (Aug. 27, 2023)

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Death of 10 dogs highlights D.C. 911 response issues; Ward 8 gets a new community center; Baltimore wants a returning citizens office

justice from the frontlines: Aug. 27, 2023

Delayed response at doggy daycare

Emergency services took longer than expected to arrive at a doggy daycare in D.C., during a flash flood that took the lives of 10 dogs. Despite urgent calls describing the hazardous situation, dispatchers first classified it as a “water leak”, delaying the initial response. Responders didn’t arrive at the facility for about 30 minutes following the call. Owners of the dog-victims are outraged at D.C.’s mayor and the public safety communications center. The Washington Post | Twitter (Aug. 21, 2023)

Virtual learning as discipline

Baltimore County Public Schools came under fire for putting children in disciplinary action in their virtual learning program, which resulted in lower grades and decreased engagement. Critics suggest that virtual learning is the wrong strategy for students who are facing disciplinary action because it lacks the in-person assistance they require, negatively impacts their academic performance and potentially pushes them to enter the criminal justice system. The Baltimore Sun (Aug. 22, 2023)

Baltimore’s recidivism reduction initiative

The Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement (MONSE), led by Baltimore Mayor Scott, has put forward legislation to create an Office of Returning Citizens. In order to lower recidivism rates and address the issues faced by formerly incarcerated Baltimore residents, this office will coordinate programs and support networks for those individuals reentering society. Approximately 2,000 people return from prison each year in the city. CBS Baltimore (Aug. 21, 2023)

Crime-fighting recreation center

A view of the D.C. Superior Court building in downtown Washington.

In an effort to counteract rising crime rates, particularly among young people, Ward 8 residents and city officials in D.C. are celebrating the construction of the neighborhood’s first recreation facility in 20 years. The center is regarded as a crucial tool for giving young residents alternatives to crime and offering the neighborhood a secure, enjoyable area to hang out. DC News Now (Aug. 21, 2023)

D.C. officer shoots man

Following a report of a possible domestic incident with a gun in an apartment, a D.C. police officer shot a man who had reportedly fired numerous shots during an attempt to communicate with officers. According to Acting D.C. Police Chief Pamela A. Smith, the event illustrates the dangers of bringing firearms into domestic situations because the man, who is in serious condition, shot at police before being injured himself. The Washington Post (Aug. 17, 2023)

DNA evidence exonerates?

The D.C. Jail.

The Innocence Project of New York and other lawyers have backed Dontae Spivey in his fight for acquittal after he served nearly 25 years in prison for a murder in Baltimore that he says he did not commit. Spivey was excluded as the donor to DNA samples obtained from a sweatshirt and hat found at the crime scene, according to new DNA evidence that was previously kept hidden during his 1999 trial. This could potentially call into question Spivey’s original conviction. The Baltimore Banner (Aug. 25, 2023)

DMV retail theft concerns

The future of grocery stores and residents’ access to fresh produce in impacted communities are at risk due to rising retail theft and shoplifting concerns in D.C. and Fairfax County, VA. Although local authorities have been contacted about the issue raised by D.C. Councilman Trayon White, it is still unclear what exactly will be done to stop stealing and theft from the community. ABC 7 News (Aug. 23, 2023)

in other news

Body cameras in exchange for raises Police unions have called for salary increases for officers who wear body cameras in a number of American cities. While others contend that these cameras ought to be standard equipment, unions have used the argument that wearing cameras comes with more responsibility and a loss of privacy to push for higher pay. The New York Times (Aug. 20, 2023)

Tallest NYC jail sparks controversy Resident’s in NYC’s Chinatown, which has historically served as a center for immigrant workers, are worried about the effects of the controversial construction of a tall jail next to a nearby business. The project will affect the neighborhood’s disadvantaged immigrants and businesses, according to critics, including local landlords and activists, who disagree with the city’s assertion that the new jail is a crucial step toward closing the notorious Riker’s Island. The Guardian (Aug. 21, 2023)

Utah’s criminal reform Rep. Burgess Owens spoke as the keynote speaker at the Right on Crime employer engagement forum about the value of creating a culture of possibilities and second chances for people who have served time in prison. In particular at the municipal level in Utah, he emphasized the need for empathy and inventiveness in criminal justice reform. Deseret News (Aug. 24, 2023)

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  • Read: First Step Act – An Early Analysis of Recidivism
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  • Buy: New Book | They Killed Freddie Gray: The Anatomy of a Police Brutality Cover-up
  • Read: Opinion | Angola’s Death Row Shouldn’t Be Housing Kids