Behind the Badge

Police work has always been hard. Today police say it is even harder. In a new Pew Research Center national survey conducted by the National Police Research Platform, majorities of police officers say that recent high-profile fatal encounters between black citizens and police officers have made their jobs riskier, aggravated tensions between police and blacks, and left many officers reluctant to fully carry out some of their duties. The wide-ranging survey, one of the largest ever conducted … [Read more...]

Jolted by Deaths, Obama Found His Voice on Race

Only weeks after 70 million Americans chose a black man for president, shattering a racial barrier that had stood for the entirety of the nation’s 232-year history, no one in the White House, especially the man in the Oval Office, wanted to talk about race. President Obama had made a pragmatic calculation in January 2009, as the financial crisis drove communities across the United States toward economic collapse. Whatever he did for African-Americans, whose neighborhoods were suffering more … [Read more...]

Dylann Roof Sentenced to Death

Dylann Roof was sentenced to death for murdering nine people participating in a Bible study to which he had been welcomed. In a hail of bullets and horror he killed Cynthia Marie Graham, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lee Lance, Depayne Middleton, Clementa Pinckney, Tywanza Sanders, Daniel Simmons, Sharonda Coleman and Myra Thompson. Roof is a radicalized white supremacist, espousing an ideology and acting violently upon his beliefs. Nothing in the time between the commission of the crime and the trial … [Read more...]

Drug Enforcement Declines After Proposition 47

A new report finds arrests and citations for drug possession have decreased in Los Angeles and San Diego counties after Prop 47: Declining Drug Enforcement Report. n November 2014, California took a significant step toward reforming mass criminalization and over-incarceration by passing Proposition 47, a ballot measure that changed certain low-level crimes from potential felonies to misdemeanors; prioritizing drug treatment over punishment. In 2015, the first full year after Prop 47, felony … [Read more...]

Join WeSayEnough Week of Solidarity

2017 has begun and I'm reaching out to see if you'd be willing to join together as the Interfaith Organizing Iniative's WeSayEnough Campaign in a week of solidarity organized around the principle of fasting. We've realized that as we get closer to the inauguration of Trump as our next president the tension, fear, anxiety and rage of our people has been reaching palpable proportions. Many folks are gearing up for actions around the country and systems of sanctuary, particularly for our … [Read more...]

Another Century of Mass Incarceration?

It’s that time of the year again, when many of us like to take stock and commit to changes that will bring us closer to our goals. It’s not a bad time for policymakers to do the same. Here at the Prison Policy Initiative, we often find it useful to look back at how our criminal justice system has evolved over time. Year-to-year fluctuations are less distracting from that perspective, so we can also identify the pivotal political changes that have had truly dramatic impacts, like the “tough on … [Read more...]

Marijuana Legalization Must Also Focus on Racial Justice

The following excerpts are from “Marijuana Legalization Without Racial Justice Risks   Being Another Extension of White Privilege” by Bill Piper, Senior Director of National Affairs for the Drug Police Alliance.  Written before last November’s elections, Piper argues marijuana legislation must also include racial justice- which has not been part of the marijuana legalization discussion. “The trend to legalize marijuana for medical use is good news because it reduces marijuana arrests and the … [Read more...]

Rev. Barber: Will a “Moral Center,” Not a “Religioius Left,” Save Us in 2017?

While many Americans partied at their local watering hole or watched Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin clown around at the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration, hundreds gathered in Washington, D.C.’s historic Metropolitan AME Church for a Watch Night service led by the Rev. William Barber, other clergy, and activists. He and his colleagues are calling for a new Poor People’s Campaign, 50 years after Dr. Martin Luther King announced plans for the original. Barber, head of the North … [Read more...]

2017 Theology in the Hood Revival

Rev. Michael Waters, D. Min. says he is called to make a difference wherever he finds himself, and you can be a part of this prophetic experience. A broad coalition of faith and community activist voices agreed and will bring his strong tête-à-tête to the greater Los Angeles community. Host pastor, Rev. John E Cager, III, reminds us that Revivalist Waters was one of the leaders on the peaceful Dallas March and Rally in July 2016 that was plagued with gunfire leaving five Dallas police slain and … [Read more...]

Big Police Diversity Gaps Found for Blacks, Hispanics

In at least 50 cities with more than 100,000 residents, the percentage of black police is less than half of what blacks represent in the population, reports USA Today based on an analysis of Census estimates. Although attention has focused on under-representation of blacks on police forces, large gaps exist for Hispanics in even more cities. Hispanic representation among police is less than half of their share of the population in at least 100 cities. “You’ve got to have a diverse police … [Read more...]