Insights on Public Safety: Baltimore Police Leadership Change, Controversial D.C. Crime Bill, Officer Convicted of Child Assault, Youth Crisis Listening Session, Legislative Actions, Lawsuit & Support for Emergency Crime Measures

Justice From the Frontlines: July 16, 2023

Leadership Change In Baltimore Police Department

From left, former Police Commissioner Michael Harrison, Mayor Brandon Scott and Acting Commissioner Richard Worley sit down for an interview with The Baltimore Banner and its media partner, WJZ-TV at City Hall on July 12, 2023. (Kaitlin Newman/The Baltimore Banner)

In mid-May, Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison gave his 90-day notice as he resigned as the city’s head cop. Less than a month later, Harrison during a press conference announced that he would immediately be stepping down from the role. Deputy Richard Worley had already been chosen and then took charge in the span of 10-hours. Later in an interview with Baltimore Banner, Harrison confirmed that it was “totally his decision.” This is one of the several high-profile departures from City Hall, during Scott’s administration. The Baltimore Banner (July 13, 2023)

Controversial Crime Bill In D.C.

D.C. City Council passed an emergency bill that some critics are concerned will disproportionately affect residents and lead to mass incarceration. The bill was passed in light of the rising crime in D.C. This year, the homicide rate is at 17% with 129 people killed and 500 people shot. Its critics have said that it will unfairly target Black people and will keep juveniles and adults jailed before pre-trial if charged with a serious crime. Despite their concerns and lack of research to back it up, Mayor Murial Bowser and supporters believe that it will have an immediate and positive impact in D.C. DC News Now (July 11, 2023)

D.C. Police Officer Guilty Of Repeated Sexual Assault Of Child

Charles Johnson was convicted of numerous child sex abuse charges, including multiple counts of first degree child sexual abuse, multiple counts of first-degree sexual abuse, second-degree child sexual abuse, and attempted first-degree child sexual abuse and assault. Johnson will be sentenced in October and faces life in prison. He has since been suspended from his  position with the Metropolitan Police Department without pay and is in the process of being fired. If released, Johnson will be required to register as a sex offender for the remainder of his life. NBC Washington (July 12, 2023)

Listening Session For Youth Crisis

Members of one Montgomery County community gathered together to address the youth crisis. The listening session was hosted by the Wheaton Urban District Advisory Committee and had speakers who worked on the front-lines of the crisis. The purpose of the gathering was to listen and give community members to voice their fears. County agencies were on hand with information about mental health and substance abuse resources. Montgomery County leaders said that this is the first of the many meetings they will host to tackle the youth crisis. NBC Washington (July 11, 2023)

Multiple Bills Passed Addressing Crime In D.C

The D.C. Council passed multiple bills aimed at addressing crime and accountability in Washington, D.C. One bill allows judges to hold individuals in jail before trial if they are likely to have committed a violent crime, targeting repeat offenders. However, council member Janeese Lewis George voted against the bill, expressing concerns about potential unjust imprisonment. Another bill requires the 911 call center to publicly disclose data on mistakes and dropped calls, increasing transparency and accountability. The Council also approved a bill permitting high speed car chases by D.C. police officers, with strict limitations to ensure public safety. Lastly, the Council unanimously passed a bill mandating an independent investigation into sexual harassment allegations against the former chief of staff to Mayor Muriel Bowser: John Falcicchio. Wtopnews (July 11, 2023)

D.C Sued For Poor First Response Protocol For Mental Health Crisis

Nonprofit organization Bread for the City, alongside the D.C. ACLU and law firm Sheppard Mullin sued Washington, D.C., for dispatching armed police officers as the default first responders to mental health crises. The lawsuit argues that this violates the Americans with Disabilities Act by denying people with mental health disabilities equal access to emergency care. D.C.’s community response teams, staffed by mental health professionals are understaffed and underfunded, resulting in less than 1% of mental health emergency calls receiving a response from these teams. In contrast, police officers who aren’t equipped to handle mental health crises, are often the first to arrive. The lawsuit cites instances where police responses have led to excessive force and harm. WAMU 88.5 (July 11, 2023)

Chairman Of The D.C Police Union Voices Support Of Emergency Crime Legislation 

Gregg Pemberton, chairman of the D.C. Police Union, supports emergency crime legislation proposed by Councilmember Brooke Pinto but believes it is insufficient in addressing overall crime statistics. Pemberton blames progressive factions of the D.C. Council for a rise in violent crime and a decline in police recruitment. He criticizes bills he views as anti-police and pro-criminal and commends the council for finally discussing measures to hold criminals accountable. (July 11, 2023) Fox 5 Washington D.C

Wilson Family Lawsuit Against Fatal Shooting

The family of Lazarus Wilson, who was fatally shot by off-duty MPD Commander Jason Bagshaw at the Wharf in July 2022, has filed a $25 million lawsuit against the District, MPD and Bagshaw. The lawsuit claims that Bagshaw’s use of force was excessive and that his failure to identify himself as a police officer led to Wilson’s wrongful death. The family also accuses Bagshaw, the department, and the District of gross negligence. The suit seeks damages and requests the implementation of training protocols to prevent similar incidents. MPD declined to comment on the lawsuit. If not dismissed the case may take several years to go to trial. dcist  (July 13, 2023)

From the Des

In Other News

A Nebraska woman pleaded guilty to two felonies and one misdemeanor, after helping her 17-year-old daughter get an abortion in 2022. Her now 18-year-old daughter was charged as an adult for removing, concealing or abandoning a dead body and took a plea deal. She faces up to two years in prison. ABC News (June 7, 2023)

A new law will give a formerly incarcerated man in Oakland the opportunity to serve others, by creating a support network for those looking for a fresh start. The law will allow ex-felons to seal their criminal records. CBS Bay Area (July 12, 2023)

Teenagers are reportedly purchasing ghost guns and parts online. Experts are concerned at the ease with which they can now require deadly weapons. This comes at a time when the Biden administration is trying to rein in the use of ghost guns in violent crimes. Washington Post (July 12, 2023)

Jessica Burgess, a Nebraska mother, pleaded guilty to providing her 17-year-old daughter with pills for an illegal abortion after 20 weeks of gestation. Burgess also admitted to false reporting and tampering with human skeletal remains. After the abortion, Burgess and her daughter burned and buried the remains in a field. The daughter pleaded guilty to removing, concealing, or abandoning a dead body. Both women face sentencing, with Burgess scheduled for September 22 and her daughter for July 20. abc News (July 7, 2023)

On July 3rd Jarrell Garris, a 37 year old Black man was shot by police in New Rochelle, New York. Garris was accused of stealing fruit from a grocery store and the police claimed Garris attempted to grab an officer’s gun, leading to the shooting. Garris died in the hospital a week later. His family has filed a lawsuit, alleging excessive use of force and racial bias. The incident highlights tensions between law enforcement and Black residents in Westchester County and reflects broader systemic issues surrounding mental health and policing. The New York Times (July 13, 2023)

The Supreme Court declined to hear the case of Tony Clark. A Black death row inmate from Mississippi, convicted of murdering a 13-year-old during a robbery. His lawyers claim prosecutors unlawfully removed Black jurors during his trial. The decision drew dissent from the liberal justices, who accused the conservative majority of backtracking on their previous stance against racial bias. The court’s refusal to intervene raised concerns about its commitment to addressing systemic racial bias in the criminal justice system. The decision marked a departure from the court’s previous ruling in a similar case, fueling criticism of its approach to equal protection. NBC News (July 5, 2023)

Community Board

  • Publication: Incarceration gap between immigrant and US-born 
  • Read: Life After Release holds annual Ocean City retreat
  • Read: Upcoming D.C Justice events
  •  Tweet: Attend the community safety fair July, 29th

Unclear Reasons for Baltimore Police Commissioner’s Resignation; Lee Family Seeks to Expand Victims’ Rights in Adnan Syed Case; Prince George’s County Jail Short-Staffed, Compromising Safety

Justice From The Frontlines: June 25, 2023

Resignation of Baltimore Police Commissioner

After 4 years leading the Baltimore police force, former Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison announced his resignation on June 8th. Harrison remains on the city payroll without disclosure of the terms of his separation, and Mayor Brandon Scott’s administration has not provided the resignation letter or its date. Harrison was set to serve until March 2024 under a five-year contract, and the reasons for his resignation and the circumstances surrounding it are unclear. Mayor Scott named Deputy Commissioner Richard Worley as Harrison’s replacement.  The Baltimore Banner (June 21, 2023)

Adnan Syed’s Lawyers Oppose Expansion of Victims’ Rights

Adnan Syed was convicted of the murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee in 2000 and sentenced to life in prison. Syed’s conviction was initially overturned in 2022 due to withheld evidence and information on alternative suspects. However, the Appellate Court of Maryland later reinstated the conviction and ordered a new hearing. Syed’s lawyers are now urging the Maryland Supreme Court to reject a petition from Lee’s brother seeking to expand victims’ rights in the case. The family is requesting that he be allowed as a victim representative to participate in hearings and potentially challenge evidence and cross-examine witnesses. The role Lee’s brother seeks is not recognized in any state or federal court system. Syed has consistently maintained his innocence and is currently free pending the appeals process.  The Baltimore Banner (June 22, 2023)  

D.C Council Considers New Bill

The D.C. Council is considering a bill that aims to strengthen penalties for domestic and sexual violence cases. Introduced by Councilmembers Brooke Pinto, Zachary Parker, and Anita Bonds, the bill includes provisions to give prosecutors more power in certain cases. The legislation addresses gaps in the legal system and responds to an increase in crimes such as murder and sex abuse. The bill aims to improve prosecution rates by providing prosecutors with increased power and leverage. While some advocates support the bill’s provisions, others object to sections that could violate victims’ privacy. Critics argue that making piecemeal changes to the outdated criminal code exacerbates existing problems and advocate for a comprehensive revision instead. Despite the need for a complete overhaul, Councilmember Pinto believes it is important to make changes in the meantime, as Congress has blocked previous attempts to revise the code. DCist (June 22, 2023)

Short Staffing in Prince George

The I-Team uncovered that Prince George’s County jail has lost nearly one-third of its workforce since 2020. Correction officers report that short staffing is compromising safety within the jail for staff and inmates. One former officer spoke to News4 “It’s a runway machine, and we don’t have the wheels anymore.” Short staffed, the prison has forced officers to work overtime. In every local jurisdiction, corrections staffing is down.The significant number of those who left Prince George have gone to other different jurisdictions. In response, one corrections officer said “What does that say? It says it’s not the profession… It’s our county in particular.” Currently, the county is seeking to fill around 175 vacancies.  NBC Washington (June 21, 2023)

Firearm Experts No Longer Testify Bullet Techniques

The Supreme Court of Maryland ruled that firearm experts can no longer testify a bullet came from a specific gun. Chief Judge Matthew Fader wrote the ruling, after recognizing that firearms identification has been unreliable in linking a particular unknown bullet to a known firearm. Three justices dissented on the decision, claiming that ballistic experts can produce accurate, repeatable, and reproducible results. Others have called it “a step in the right direction.” The ruling was made after a man appealed his conviction of first-degree murder and handgun offenses in the killing of his roommate. The Baltimore Banner (June 22, 2023)

Win for Reform Prosecutor

In Arlington County, reform prosecutor Parisa Dehghani-Tafti wins second term while the county board race remains undecided. The Arlington Democrat received around 56% of the vote, according to the unofficial results of the Virginia Department of Elections. Over 98% of early and day-of votes have been counted as of Tuesday night. Dehgani-Tafti built her campaign around reforming the county’s criminal legal system. She pushed for diversion and treatment for people accused of crimes and ending the practice of cash bail and prosecuting for simple marijuana possession. In a statement to DCist/WAMY, Dehgani-Tafti said “Tonight’s victory showed the voter’s renewed trust in us to continue that work.”  DCist (June 20, 2023)

“It’s a Hate Crime”

The fatal shooting of Nicholas Mireles, his son Mario, and his friend Christian Segovia by a neighbor during a parking spot dispute has been labeled a hate crime by demonstrators. The shooter was a U.S. Army veteran who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. Over 200 people marched the streets of Annopolis to mourn the death of three Latino men. Julian Segovia, who lost his brother in a mass shooting in downtown Annapolis, has said “This senseless act of violence was racially-motivated. And we want the world to know.” Other protestors voiced their fears for her children and community. The Baltimore Banner (June 18, 2023)

From the Des

In Other News

The intersection of alcohol and guns poses significant dangers, as research indicates that alcohol misuse increases the risk of gun violence and suicide. Alcohol impairs judgment and lowers inhibitions, leading individuals to make impulsive and dangerous decisions involving firearms. Studies have also shown that individuals with alcohol-related offenses, such as DUI convictions, are more likely to be arrested for violent or gun-related crimes. Efforts to pass laws regulating alcohol and guns have gained momentum in recent years. There is public support for regulations, including a federal gun ban for alcohol abusers. The Trace (June 21, 2023)

Starting July 1, over 700,000 incarcerated individuals in the United States will become eligible for Pell Grants, making higher education more affordable for them. Pell Grants are need-based financial aid from the federal government that do not require repayment and can provide up to $7,395 per academic year for college costs. These grants can now be used by incarcerated individuals in prison education programs (PEPs) to pursue professional certificates, associate degrees, or bachelor’s degrees from partner universities. DCNewsNow  (June 19, 2023)

The New Hampshire judicial branch wants to provide mental health alternatives to incarceration. Commissioner Hanks has reported that up to 90% of incarcerated women in the state have a mental health diagnosis. They plan to implement training for judges and staff, hire a judicial health coordinator, and initiate sequential intercept mapping. WMUR (June 21, 2023) 

Philadelphia’s District Attorney’s Office has reported and analyzed 290,000 cases, concluding that Black Philadelphians were more likely to be charged with felonies and over-assessed for risks. City Councilmember Jamie Gauthier acknowledged past policies that have left majority Black neighborhoods in Philadelphia with disinvestment and “set neighborhoods on a downward trajectory.” The Philadelphia Inquirer (June 19, 2023)

Community Board

  • Watch: Victim/Suspect chronicles journalists Rae de Leon’s investigation into a shocking nationwide pattern
  • Read: For nearly 30 years, only a small percentage of incarcerated people have been able to get college degrees. 
  • Read: Emerging Adult Justice Project develops specialized units for young adults in correctional facilities that offer greater access to educational opportunities and mental health treatment
  • Tweet: Police raid on elderly man’s house but had “the wrong house”
  • Read: How mass incarceration destroys the lives of New York adolescents
  • Read: Challenges arise from an increase in jail population 
  • Hiring: DC Justice Lab seeking full-time Events Producer and Director of Communications 

Harm reduction is saving lives in Baltimore; ex-guards smuggled meth in MD prison; D.C. gun violence claims 22-Year-Old pregnant woman

justice from the frontlines: June 18, 2023

“healthcare on the spot”

Baltimore’s “Healthcare on the Spot” has successfully stemmed overdose deaths. The city’s harm reduction approach is supported and funded by the Biden administration. In comparison to past approaches, it offers life-saving services to opioid users without demanding abstinence. Proponents want to keep opioid users alive, but opponents say that the approach encourages illegal activity. Baltimore’s deputy mayor, Dr. Letitia Dzirasa, defended the approach: “We should be thinking about harm reduction on a spectrum. Some people want to stop using, others want to use safer. It’s about reducing the stigma. Because this is a disease, not a moral failing.” AP News (June 11, 2023)

pregnant woman killed

In a D.C. shooting, a 22-year-old pregnant woman, Samya Gill, was killed while in a vehicle with a man. The man in the vehicle was shot, but his injuries were not life-threatening. Her baby is reported to be in critical condition. Police officers went to the shooting after the department’s ShotSpotter identified sounds of gunfire. The department said that the shooting was captured on camera and showed two men in a white four-door sedan. Both men got out of their vehicle with assault rifles and fired shots at the vehicle. Assistant Chief Andre Wright called this a brazen act and asked the public for assistance in identifying the two shooters. WUSA9 (June 16, 2023)

DSJ secretary on youth gun violence

Maryland’s Department of Juvenile Services Secretary Vincent Schiraldi spoke out against the youth gun violence problem in Baltimore city and county. Youth gun violence is a pressing issue in the city. Schiraldi urged the community to get more involved, suggesting that community members offer mental health services to at-risk youth. WBAL (June 10, 2023)

Biden vetoes republican resolution

The House of Representative failed to override Biden’s veto of a Republican-sponsored resolution which would have blocked a police discipline and accountability bill. The vote fell short of the two-thirds majority necessary to override a presidential override. The bill lays out restrictions for police officers in response to George Floyd’s killing. It orders all body camera footage to be public within five days, restricts the use of tear gas and chemical sprays during protests, and strengthens the jurisdiction of the Office of Police Complaints. Republicans and the police unions argue that it hamstrings police and will make it more challenging for departments to retain officers. DCist (June 14, 2023)

officers arrested for smuggling scheme 

Two Maryland Department of Corrections officers, Julie Chatterton and Monica Shields, were arrested for a smuggling scheme at Roxbury Correctional Institute. Chatterton and Shields used drones to deliver meth to the Institute. The State Secretary for the Department of Corrections Carolyn Scruggs reassured the public, “Our diligent staff recognized what was going on and were able to get enough information to our intelligence and investigative team.” DC News Now (June 13, 2023)

police shooting of Donnell Rochester

In February 2022, Donnell Rochester was shot by Officer Murray. Maryland’s Attorney General Office declared that there was probable cause to charge Murray with second-degree murder. Despite this, Attorney Ivan Bates said that he would not bring any charges against the officers. This is the first of a two-part investigation of the police shooting of Donnell Rochester. The community was outraged by the shooting of Rochester who had just turned 18 and was just beginning to chase his dreams. Baltimore Beat (June 13, 2023)

marijuana use while possessing firearm

The mother of a 6-year-old boy who shot his teacher in Virginia plead guilty in federal court Monday to using a marijuana while possessing a firearm. This is illegal under U.S. law., but this is facing greater scrutiny as more states are legalizing marijuana. The mother has taken the first steps in a negotiated plea agreement with prosecutors that call for a two-year prison sentence. The federal case against her is separate from the charges she faces on the state level. NBC News (June 12, 2023)

From the Des

in other news

New York states tried to limit writings and artistic works from prisoners, showcasing a growing issue of incarcerated rights across the country. The Department of Corrections and Community Supervision reported that it never sought to prohibit free speech or creative endeavors. The Marshall Project (June 10, 2023).

Climate change has worsened conditions for incarcerated Black people. Formerly incarcerated people say heat has always been an issue, but it is becoming unbearable. AFRO News (June 13, 2023)

A study uncovered that more people die of overdose after police seize drugs. It provides the first empirical evidence that cops seizing illicit opioids can result in an increase in overdoses. VICE News (June 15, 2023)

community board

  • Watch: Metro Atlanta nonprofit works to end generational incarceration
  • Attend: Juneteenth celebrations in the DMV
  • Attend: Law lecture on the costs and benefits of taxing incarcerated workers

nepotism in Baltimore police department, Virginia dismissing $50 million lawsuit in police shooting death

June 11, 2023: Justice from the frontlines

cozy relationship in Baltimore

The person who led the oversight of the Baltimore Police Department’s federal consent decree, Ken Thompson, is a family member of the city’s acting city solicitor. This relationship was revealed to a judge but not to the greater public. This relationship underscores complaints within the community over the independence of the people enforcing the consent decree. City officials said that Thompson and his great niece are not in violation of the ethics code. The Baltimore Banner (June 5, 2023)

dismissing $50 million lawsuit

The City of Virginia Beach asked a judge to dismiss a $50 million lawsuit filed against them by the family of Deshayla Harris. In March of 2021, officers struck and killed Harris by a stray bullet when he was a bystander of a feud. This occurred the same night that Donovan Lync was killed by Virginia Beach police officers. Two years later, Harris’ family filed a lawsuit, claiming that the city withheld evidence in the case. In response, the City of Virginia Beach filed a 21-page report to dismiss all the counts to the lawsuit. It argued that it undermines work and efforts to make an arrest.  3WTKR (June 5, 2023)

shooting in Richmond graduation

Eighteen year old Shawn Jackson and his 36-year-old father Renzo Smith were shot after Jackson had received his diploma. The Huguenot High School graduation ceremony in RIchmond, Virginia was where the shooting took place. The police arraigned Amari Pollard who had a dispute with Jackson over a year ago.Police assured the public that the shooting was not gang-related. The assistant principal recalled Jackson as a “very bright young man who could master any textbook.” AXIOS Richmond (June 6, 2023)

neighbor wins no-smoking lawsuit

D.C. Judge Ebony Scott ruled in favor of Josefa Ippolito-Shepherd who sued neighbor Thomas Cacket for smoking medical mairjuana in his apartment. Ippolito-Shephard complained about the odor of marijuana that crept in her house. Scott said that though Cackett is licensed to buy marijuana, “he does not possess a license to disrupt the full use and enjoyment of one’s land.” Scott went on to say that this decision best serves the public interest, as involuntary smokers have no choice but to inhale toxins in the air. Washington Post (June 8, 2023)

michael harrison’s departure 

Last Thursday, Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrsion stepped down. This was a shock to the community. This came on the heels of the Tuesday police budget hearing. Harrison has been in this role since March 2019 and led his department through many federally mandated reforms. Gov.Wes Moore said that Harrison “took on a very, very challenging job, and he is a true man of honor and integrity.” The Baltimore Banner (June 8, 2023)

new Baltimore police leader

Richard Worley has been nominated to be the Baltimore Police lead. Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh chose Worley who was a district commander when she was a council woman.He has a reputation as a well-respected and knowledgeable officer, said many community members. The Baltimore Banner (June 8, 2023)

Virginia uses funding for gun violence

Virginia was given a $10 million grant in funding to lower the occurrence of gun crimes. The office of Attorney General Jason Miyares seeks to hire six prosecutors and violence intervention coordinators with the fund. In addition, another $5 million will be spent for hospital-based violence intervention programs. This grant was awarded through the 2023 Operation Ceasefire Grant Program, which will end in 2024. The Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services laid out a report that shows how they will spend the $10 million. The Virginia Mercury  (June 5, 2023)

in other news

Children of incarcerated mothers are “falling through the cracks.” Losing a mother figure can lead to traumatic outcomes for children and their families. Black and Hispanic mothers are said to be more severely affected. WRIC (June 5, 2023)

The city of New York is over-reliant  on a tactic called “stop and frisk” in order to combat gun violence. This tactic is proving to be harmful for communities of color and is a civil rights infringement. AP News (June 5, 2023)

After Hurricane Ida, there are reports showing how pollution and climate change affected policing and incarceration. One-third of all state and federal prisons are within health-altering proximity to a federal Superfund site. Capital B (June 7, 2023)

community board

  • Support: Preserve Now seeks to give incarcerated a second chance
  • Visit: In the Ford Foundation Gallery’s show, “No Justice Without Love,” past incarcerated artist showcases themes of mass incarceration and criminal justice
  • Read: #NoKidsInPrison exhibition advocated for alternative to youth incarceration through virtual reality
  • Tweet: Students uncover identity of active shooter

Maryland police unable to use smell of weed to stop people anymore; Virginia prison phone calls get more affordable

justice from the frontlines: June 4, 2023

officer impersonation

Maryland State Police issued a warning, alerting the public that impersonators are making phone calls acting like officers. MPS received reports that callers claimed to be state troopers or officers, asking for any donations or for support in a police investigation. In a few phone calls, the names of registered officers were used to gain trust. Anyone who has received one of these phone calls has been urged to reach out to the local police department or file an online complaint. In addition, the MPS has provided guidelines for what to do in the case that someone receives a suspicious call. DC News Now (June 2, 2023)

45 days for assaulting teen

Former Prince George’s County police officer was sentenced to 45 days in jail, after choking and punching 17-year-old Kayvon Hines. Officer Darryl Wormuth was charged with second-degree assault and misconduct for choking and throat-punching a handcuffed Hines. Since the assault, Hines said that he is terrified to go out and is “glad that we got justice, that [the officer] knows how it feels to be in handcuffs and how it feels to be arrested.” Wormuth has been suspended without pay for the past two years. Channel 4 Washington (May 31, 2023)

affordable phone calls in prison

The Martha Wright-Reed Just and Reasonable Communications Act passed in 2022 began regulating the costs of calls for incarcerated individuals. The cost of a call was brought down 12-14 cents per minute but only for interstate calls. The FCC will begin to look for other technologies as well that will allow prisoners to communicate more with their families. This law made great impact for families in Virginia. Paulettra James of Woodbridge, Virginia says that it has allowed her to cut costs of talking to her son.  A15-minute phone call in Virginia was as high as $4.20.  Marketplace (May 31, 2023)

Two shot in Alexandria

Two were shot in Alexandria, Virginia this Wednesday around 8:20 p.m., off of Van Dorn Street by I-395. The two victims were taken to the hospital with non life-threatening injuries. However, their ages have not been confirmed. At least one of the nearby houses was struck by gunfire.. Police officers are looking for any suspects who left the scene in a car, but they have no description of the shooter. Channel 4 Washington (May 31, 2023)

no charges for violent officer

There have been no charges filed against the Dunbar, West Virginia police officer who have been accused of slamming a man’s head to the pavement which led to his death. In Michael Scott Jr. ‘s death certificate, the coroner referred to his death as a homicide and attributed it to “blunt force injuries of the head.” The Kanawha County Prosecutor’s Office said that they oversaw the case’s camera footage and autopsy, yet they have taken no further steps. The lawyer representing Scott’s family called the footage tragic and inhumane. 13 News (May 30, 2023)

child arrests in D.C.

Last Sunday, police in D.C. arrested an 11-year-old boy and charged him with robbery while armed, assault with a dangerous weapon and robbery fear.  Earlier in May, a 12-year-old boy was charged with six counts of carjacking. The month before a 14-year-old girl was charged with robbery and armed carjacking. The community is heartbroken to see yet another child engage in crimes. Co-founder of Mute the Violence D.C, Derrick Lewis, spoke out that this is a pattern of younger and younger kids  engaging in increasingly serious crimes. A few experts attributed this pattern to an over-exposure to negativity and deteriorating mental health. DC News Now (May 31, 2023)

Cannabis laws in Maryland

House Bill 1071 passed in Maryland this past week. Police will no longer be allowed to pull over drivers because of the smell of marijuana. The law will serve to put an end to officers racial profiling drivers. However, there are worries that the new law will lead to greater gun violence, given that 75% of guns confiscated by Montgomery County law enforcement  came from searches  started due to the smell of pot. The ACLU spoken out against these claims, supporting the bill. In a statement to 7News, the ACLU celebrated the bill, given that “claims by police have been routinely used to infringe on individual’s privacy rights and justify racial profiling.” ABC 7News (May 31, 2023)

in other news

ending incarceration for girls:

Four California counties– Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, and Imperial– will be given funds to work towards ending the incarceration of girls and gender-expansive youth. In the first year of the initiative, the counties will each be given $125,000 for research and local efforts. If their efforts are successful, they will be given two-year grants of up to $750,000. The Imprint (May 31, 2023) 

tiktok showcases inhumane prisons: Bernard Jemison, an incarcerated man at Ventress correctional facility in Clayton, Alabama, posted numerous TikTok videos showcasing the conditions in prison. Videos with fellow prisoners reveal ailments ranging from untreated psoriasis infections, untreated surgery complications, broken ribs, and chronic untreated pain. Alabama has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world and sixth highest in the country The state has faced lawsuits against its treatment towards prisoners. However, the state has only built new facilities in response to their rising prison issues. The Guardian (May 26, 2023) 

45 words in traffic stops: Virginia Tech researchers uncovered that the first 45 words police use during a traffic stop decide whether the situation with the driver will escalate. If the officer starts off with a command rather than a reason, researchers believe that drivers can be in a “life or death” incident. The study similarly uncovered that Black men could often tell how a traffic stop would play out within the first 30 seconds of an encounter with an officer. The researchers observed 557 audio recordings and transcripts taken by police officer body cameras in a “medium-sized, racially diverse city.” They narrowed their research to Black drivers, after seeing that less than 1-percent of escalated stops involved a non-Black driver.  Study Finds (May 30, 2023)

lying officer gets out of 44 tickets: Chicago Officer Jeffrey Kriv has gotten out of 44 tickets by lying to judges that his ex-girlfriend stole his car. This “girlfriend alibi” began in 1996, and since then, he has had at least 92 misconduct complaints, according to city and police disciplinary records. Around 28% of these complaints against Kriv have evidence and merit. Kriv has been investigated at least 26 times over allegations of dishonesty as a police officer, which included claims of falsifying records, writing unwarranted tickets, performing improper searches, and making false arrests. ProRepublica (June 3, 2023)

These survivors rooted out sexual abuse in federal prison. Now they face deportation. (The Appeal)

community board

  • NCORE conference: The National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education or NCORE Conference is tackling the rising issue of incarceration. Wednesday’s keynote speaker Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, shared that areas have banned job interviewers from asking about any prior convictions and the great strides taken by prison abolitionists. To Alexander, the radically reformed justice system will take more courage than was needed in the Civil Rights Era. Diverse Education (June 1, 2023)
  • indiana women’s prison history project: The Indiana Women’s Prison History Project is working to showcase the shortcomings of police records. “Who Would Believe a Prisoner?” is a scholarly work that critiques prisons and the carceral state. To the authors, a “nonviolent woman-run correctional facility serving women is imaginary.”  Kauffman and her students observed hundreds of omitted and suppressed records and files of abuse. The Project has showcased and researched the proof that violence and abuse persist in prisons where all guards are women. The New Yorker (May 22, 2023)

Bowser introduces safety legislation. Congress Blocks D.C. Police Reform Bill. Stricter Gun Laws in MD. Black Victims and Families Disproportionately Denied Support.

justice from the frontlines:

May 22, 2023

Tougher Sentences and Limited Early Release

Mayor Muriel Bowser has proposed new legislation that includes measures to streamline the detention process for those accused of crimes, impose stricter penalties for gun possession, and make it more difficult for individuals convicted of serious crimes to secure early release from prison. The DCist (May 15, 2023)

Congress Blocks D.C. Police Reform Bill

The U.S. senate has voted after the congressional review period to repeal a D.C. police reform bill, joining the House in blocking the Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Amendment Act. The bill, which includes provisions such as banning chokeholds and creating a public database of police misconduct, was already law in D.C. via temporary legislation. The DCist (May 16, 2023) 

Mom charged in court room outburst

Karen Hylton, the mother of Karon Hylton-Brown, who died in a police chase, has been charged with assaulting security personnel during a courtroom outburst following the conviction of two D.C. police officers involved in the incident. Hylton is yet to enter a plea, and her whereabouts are currently unknown. A warrant for her arrest will be issued if she fails to appear in court by May 30. The Washington Post (May 17, 2023)

Shipley Hill Police Shooting

Body-worn camera footage shows an officer shooting and injuring 17-year-old Mekhi Franklin from behind as he ran away with a gun. Detective Cedric Elleby fired four shots during the pursuit. Franklin’s mother confirmed his name and stated that he is in stable condition after undergoing surgery. The Baltimore Banner (May 16, 2023)

Aim for Change: Stricter Gun Laws

Maryland’s gun laws will become stricter as Governor Wes Moore signs measures limiting concealed carry permits and usage. The bills, a response to a Supreme Court ruling, prohibit carrying concealed handguns in certain locations, raise the age requirement, increase penalties, and expand training requirements. The Baltimore Banner (May 16, 2023)

Baltimore Students Speak Out

High schoolers affected by gun violence are expressing feelings of hopelessness and frustration, calling for more attention and understanding from city officials. Many students have experienced traumatic events related to gun violence, leading to anxiety and post-traumatic stress. They want the city to take stronger action to prevent firearms from reaching the wrong hands and provide more resources and opportunities for youth, including mentorship programs and critical skill training. The Baltimore Banner (May 19, 2023)

Privacy vs. Security

The Virginia Criminal Justice Services Board approved $1.6 million in grants for the purchase of license plate readers, despite concerns about privacy. The grants will enable 32 localities to acquire 212 devices as part of a broader funding allocation for law enforcement equipment and training. Virginia Mercury (May 15, 2023)

Fairfax County Police Reform

In the past 15 months, the Fairfax County Police Department in Virginia has experienced an increase in officer-involved shootings, eight total, prompting community leaders and lawmakers to examine department policies. A work group commissioned by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has released its recommendations, which include establishing more community oversight and granting independent investigating authority to a civilian review panel. The recommendations will be reviewed by Police Chief Kevin Davis and the board of supervisors. WTOP News (May 18, 2023)

Understaffed and Overlooked

West Virginia corrections officials highlighted severe staffing shortages in their facilities during a state legislative committee meeting. The Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation Executive Officer Brad Douglas revealed that eight facilities had officer vacancy rates exceeding 40%, emphasizing the pressing staffing issues. However, little attention was given to overcrowded jails and prisons. Scrutiny of West Virginia’s correctional system has intensified due to increasing inmate deaths, with calls for an independent civil rights investigation. Charleston Gazette-Mail (May 20, 2023)

in other news

Police Accountability and Child Welfare

A video showing an NYPD officer pushing a father holding a toddler has sparked concerns about police use of force in the presence of children and the role of the city’s child welfare agency in custody cases involving arrests. Gothamist (May 15, 2023) 


Rachael S. Rollins, the U.S. attorney for Massachusetts, announced her resignation ahead of the release of a Justice Department inquiry into her conduct, including her appearance at a Democratic fundraiser, which later expanded to include her use of a personal cellphone for official business. The New York Times (May 16, 2023)

Black Victims and Families Disproportionately Denied Support

Black victims and their families are disproportionately denied compensation by state programs for crime victims. Investigation that found high denial rates in 19 out of 23 states examined, revealing systemic bias in the criminal justice system’s response to racial disparities. Associated Press News (May 17, 2023)

community board

video released of Black teen shot in D.C. by U.S Park Police; DC hiring bonuses increase in drought of applicants; VA AG calls out D.C. crime; CARES Act house home confinement inmates can stay

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

in other news

Clearview AI used nearly 1m times by US police, it tells the BBC

Robin Farris released from Colorado women’s prison after 30 years and governor’s commutation (read her essay for The Des)

The Bureau of Prisons Proposes to Raid Incarcerated People’s Bank Accounts

community board

D.C. police reform rollback. MD juvenile detention horror. MD police officer prosecution. execution recordings withheld.

justice from the frontlines: Mar. 13, 2023

police reform rollback

House Republicans put forward legislation aimed at reversing several police reforms in Washington, D.C following Congress’s recent measure blocking a separate D.C. crime bill. The reforms were enacted to increase transparency and limit the police union’s authority in disciplinary disputes. Among the changes were a prohibition on the use of neck restraints and more stringent limits on the police’s ability to disperse crowds. The Hill (Mar. 10, 2023)

juvenile detention horror

The Maryland Office of the Public Defender sent a letter to county leaders saying that children detained at Baltimore County Detention Center are locked up for 23 hours a day in rodent-infested cells that sometimes flood with sewage water, adding that the jail is not in compliance with federal laws governing juvenile detention. The office asked for the “immediate transfer” of detained youth to the Department of Juvenile Services. The Baltimore Sun (Mar. 10, 2023)

police officer prosecution

The Maryland Senate has approved legislation that would enable the attorney general to prosecute local police officers who are found to be criminally responsible for causing injury “likely to result” in death or killing someone. The proposed legislation would allow the attorney general to have exclusive authority over the prosecution of the officer or request that the local state’s attorney handle it. The Daily Record (Mar. 9, 2023)

families fight for justice

Families of 13 inmates who died at Southern Regional Jail gathered at the West Virginia State Capitol to demand a federal investigation into inhumane treatment and deaths at the jail and other local prisons. Bishop William Barber II and the West Virginia Poor People’s Campaign supported the families in presenting a petition to Governor Justice. WV Metro News (Mar. 10, 2023)

petitions skyrocket

Virginia’s Fairfax County courts have simplified the process for record-sealing petitions due to an increase in caseload, no longer requiring a court hearing for those seeking expungement. Since March 2022, the court received 701 petitions, up from 211 the previous year. Virginia’s recent law has made it easier to seal or expunge misdemeanors and certain felony convictions, with automatic sealing for eligible charges set to begin in 2025. FFX Now (Mar. 7, 2023)

execution recordings withheld

The Virginia Department of Corrections now possesses at least 35 audio tapes documenting executions between 1987 and 2017. However, the department has refused requests to release them, citing security, privacy and personal reasons. The tapes, which offer rare insight into a secretive process, came to light when NPR aired stories that prompted the Virginia Department of Corrections to ask for four tapes in the possession of the Library of Virginia to be returned. NBC Washington (Mar. 7, 2023)

in other news

The US Justice Department opposes a bipartisan proposal to limit judges’ ability to impose longer sentences based on alleged crimes, even if a unanimous jury has acquitted the defendant of the same allegations. Reuters (Mar. 7, 2023)

After Congress blocked the new D.C. criminal law, similar efforts to bypass local governance are taking place in other states, primarily led by Republicans. The Marshall Project (Mar. 11, 2023)

The Justice Department has found that the Louisville Metro Police Department in Kentucky engaged in a “pattern of discriminatory and abusive law enforcement practices.” The report found broad patterns of discrimination against Black people and those with behavioral health problems. The New York Times (Mar. 8, 2023)

A bill in Texas proposing a mandatory 10-year prison sentence for anyone who uses a gun while committing a felony has drawn criticism from both criminal justice reform advocates and gun rights groups. The Texas Tribune (Mar. 9, 2023)

community board

Biden blocks DC reforms; Fairfax streamlines record expungement; VA parole board faces transparency; W. VA approves campus carry

justice from the frontlines: Mar. 6, 2023

Biden blocks DC reforms

President Biden is willing to sign a Republican-sponsored resolution that would nullify the new DC criminal code laws. Biden’s willingness comes amid growing concern over rising crime in DC and across the US. The revisions passed by the DC Council aim to redefine crimes, change criminal justice policies, and rework how sentences are handed down. The Republican-controlled House believes that the city’s changes would contribute to rising crime and make it easier for some criminals to get out of prison. The bills backers says the reform will reduce the impact of the criminal justice system on minority groups. PBS NewsHour (Mar. 2, 2023) 

lawmakers push school policing

Four D.C. lawmakers have proposed legislation that would reverse a measure to remove police officers from schools by 2025. Council member Vincent C. Gray and others are backing the measure, citing concerns about safety. Critics of the bill claim that the presence of school resource officers leads to increased distrust of law enforcement and can cause student arrests. Although the proposed legislation may face obstacles, proponents of the bill argue that trained officers play a crucial role in school communities and public safety. The Washington Post (Mar. 2, 2023) 

Fairfax streamlines record expungement

Residents in Fairfax County no longer need to appear in court to expunge their criminal records. Petition for record expungement can be filed through paperwork, which will be reviewed weekly. Virginia has some of the most restrictive expungement criteria in the country, but the General Assembly passed a law in 2021 that would automatically seal non-convictions and some convictions in 2025. The new policy is the latest push to change the county’s criminal justice proceedings led by Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano. The DCist (Mar. 3, 2023)

VA parole board faces transparency

Virginia’s Parole Board will have to hold public hearings and provide more information to attorneys and inmates involved in cases as part of a new parole transparency measure that was approved by the Virginia General Assembly. The Parole Board would no longer have immunity from transparency rules that apply to most government bodies. The legislation, which the governor is reviewing, would require more frequent and detailed reports, making more of its investigative information available, and striking the Parole Board’s FOIA exemption from state law. The Virginia Mercury  (Mar. 1, 2023)

Baltimore intervention program succeeds

Roca, a nonviolence intervention program for 16- to 24-year-olds in Baltimore, is making a positive impact on its target population with a focus on teaching emotional control to those from violent and traumatic backgrounds. A new study released by Roca Baltimore indicates that participants in the program are seeing lower recidivism and arrest rates, more connections to employment, and improvements in mental health assessments. The group has purchased a building in Baltimore and plans to expand into Baltimore County while continuing to train juvenile services workers and Baltimore Police officers through its Roca Impact Institute. The Baltimore Sun (Mar. 2, 2023)

MD Republicans push crime measures

 MD state Republican caucus members are pushing crime-fighting measures in the General Assembly. They’re focusing on initiatives to make gun theft a felony, increase sentences for repeat gun offenders, and allow minors between the ages of 10 and 12 to be charged with gun crimes. Baltimore City State’s Attorney Ivan Bates is also receiving bipartisan support for his proposal to lengthen jail time for illegal gun possession from three to five years for people between the ages of 18 and 20. WBAL TV (Mar. 2, 2023)

W. VA approves campus carry

W. VA Governor Jim Justice signed a bill allowing people with concealed carry permits to bring firearms onto public college and university campuses. The law takes effect in July 2024 and bans open carry on campus. Exceptions are allowed in certain areas and institutions can regulate firearms in residence halls. The presidents of the state’s largest institutions of higher learning opposed the bill, and a public hearing last month saw almost all speakers oppose it. PBS NewsHour  (Mar. 1, 2023)

in other news

New York City has agreed to pay $21,500 each to hundreds of protesters who were “kettled” by police during 2020 protests against the killing of George Floyd. The legal settlement could cost the city between $4 million and $6 million. The New York Times  (Mar. 1, 2023)

A report from the Council on Criminal Justice, finds that a disjointed and haphazard system of programs and a lack of awareness are partly to blame for a staggering number of veterans getting arrested or otherwise having to deal with the justice system.  (Mar. 2, 2023)

The U.S. Marshals Service suffered a security breach on February 17, compromising sensitive information including law enforcement sensitive information, administrative information, and personally identifiable information, according to senior US law enforcement officials. NBC News (Feb. 27, 2023)

community board

DC and MD push for more Police. Lawsuit filed against DC police for 2020 George Floyd protests. Deaths behind bars rose 50% in pandemic year one

justice from the frontlines: Feb. 27, 2022

Call for more police

Ward 7 Councilmember Vince Gray introduced a bill to increase the Metropolitan Police Department’s force to 4,200 officers. The bill authorizes the mayor to fund recruitment and retention efforts without additional Council approval and requires MPD to deploy officers to neighborhoods with high levels of violent crime. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson criticized the bill, stating that it won’t get far and that the police department struggles to get applications. Washington City Paper (Feb. 23, 2023)

Sued for civil rights violations

A civil justice organization has filed a lawsuit against the D.C. police for violating demonstrators’ rights to free speech and assembly during the 2020 racial justice protests. The police used excessive force with stinger grenades, foam or rubber bullets, and flash-bang devices against peaceful protestors. The lawsuit claims that Mayor Muriel E. Bowser and then-D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham authorized the police to attack peaceful protesters. The plaintiffs are seeking compensation for medical expenses and pain and suffering, and punitive damages against each unnamed D.C. police officer. The Washington Post (Feb. 22, 2023)

To be heard

Terrence Richardson, who was sentenced to life in prison in 1998 for the intent to distribute crack cocaine, was granted an appeal by the Virginia Supreme Court. Prior to the drug case, Richardson was charged with the murder of a police officer but acquitted by a jury. However, federal prosecutors referenced the murder in the drug case against Richardson, resulting in his life sentence. Richardson’s attorney called the court’s decision to hear the appeal “a significant victory” for his client’s efforts to prove his innocence. ABC News (Feb. 24, 2023)

W. VA protest high number of jail deaths

Activists with the Poor People’s Campaign are calling for a federal investigation into West Virginia jails following a rise in the number of reported deaths. There were 13 reported deaths at the Southern Regional Jail in 2022 in comparison to over 100 deaths in the state’s total regional jail system in the past decade. They are planning rallies in Beckley and Charleston. WV Public Broadcasting (Feb. 23, 2023)

Democratic MD Gov. to rebuild state police

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore announced several initiatives to invest in public safety and rebuild the state police force. The governor ordered all public safety agencies to produce “After Action Reports” to promote transparency and accountability. Additionally, the governor announced $11 million in funding to support the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center, which will expand staffing, conduct training, and invest in technology infrastructure. The Southern Maryland Chronicle (Feb. 24, 2023)

MD Juvenile corrections under new leadership

The Maryland Senate has confirmed Vincent Schirald to lead the state’s Department of Juvenile Services. Schiraldi, a former commissioner of New York City’s Department of Correction, was the only governor nominee to be confirmed without unanimous approval. Republicans expressed concern that Schiraldi focuses too much on rehabilitation at the expense of accountability. However, Democratic lawmakers supported Schiraldi, with Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee Chair Will Smith calling his record “sterling” but also cautioning that Maryland needs accountability for the department and its new secretary. The Baltimore Sun (Feb. 22, 2023)

in other news

Deaths in state and federal prisons across America rose by nearly 50 percent during the first year of the pandemic. The New York Times (Feb. 19, 2023)

A prison in Georgia has a program called GBT that teaches incarcerated people how to transcribe braille. Filter Magazine (Feb. 16, 2023)

Virginia Senator Tim Kaine introduced the EQUAL Act, a bipartisan legislation that aims to eliminate the federal sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine and apply it retroactively. ABC News (Feb. 23, 2023)

in other news

Deaths in state and federal prisons across America rose by nearly 50 percent during the first year of the pandemic. The New York Times (Feb. 19, 2023)

A prison in Georgia has a program called GBT that teaches incarcerated people how to transcribe braille. Filter Magazine (Feb. 16, 2023)

Virginia Senator Tim Kaine introduced the EQUAL Act, a bipartisan legislation that aims to eliminate the federal sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine and apply it retroactively. ABC News (Feb. 23, 2023)

community board