Shutting Down American-Style Authoritarianism

It is impossible to imagine the damage Trump and his white nationalists, economic fundamentalists, and white supremacists friends will do to civil liberties, the social contract, the planet, and life itself in the next few years. Rather than address climate change, the threat of nuclear war, galloping inequality, the elimination of public goods, Trump and his vicious acolytes have accelerated the threats faced by these growing dangers. Moreover, the authoritarian steam roller just keeps … [Read more...]

Two Views on Extending Prop 57 from San Quentin

CDCR's proposed regulations for the implementation of Prop 57 are being reviewed in the California State Assembly and Senate Budget Committee hearings Thursday and this coming Monday. Advocates from CURB, Initiate Justice and the Ella Baker Center are working with people in prison and their families to respond to the regulations, they forwarded these two articles.  Ending the Cycle of Violence roposition 57 falls short of its potential to reduce the prison population and make society safer … [Read more...]

What to Do with Prop 47 Savings?

Prop. 47 got thousands out of prison. Now, $103 million in savings will go towards keeping them out Vonya Quarles grew up in South Los Angeles and describes herself as a third-generation convicted felon. But by the time she took the microphone at a Highland town hall meeting in January 2016, she was a lawyer and executive director of a Riverside County nonprofit that helps connect the homeless, formerly incarcerated and mentally ill to transitional housing. With applause from the audience, … [Read more...]

Sex Offender Sentencing: Did the Supreme Court Base a Ruling on a Myth?

Last week at the Supreme Court, a lawyer made what seemed like an unremarkable point about registered sex offenders. “This court has recognized that they have a high rate of recidivism and are very likely to do this again,” said the lawyer, Robert C. Montgomery, who was defending a North Carolina statute that bars sex offenders from using Facebook, Twitter and other social media services. The Supreme Court has indeed said the risk that sex offenders will commit new crimes is “frightening … [Read more...]

Trump Budget Draft Targets Cops, Crime Victims

Recently, the Hill reported that the Trump team hopes to slash federal spending by $10.5 trillion over 10 years. In a proposed federal budget prepared by the president elect’s transition team, the Department of Justice and related agencies comes in for almost $1.3 billion in cuts in the first fiscal year alone. This represents less than 1 percent of the department’s $29 billion annual budget, but the targets are telling. The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services and Violence Against … [Read more...]

Understanding How Counties Implement Criminal Justice Policy Changes

The California Sentencing Institute (CASI) interactive map now shows annual criminal and juvenile justice statistics for 2009-2015. The map provides users with county-by-county visual comparisons illustrating law enforcement practices, incarceration rates, and trends over seven years. Given the shift in criminal justice policies stemming from Public Safety Realignment in 2011, juvenile justice realignment in 2007, and Proposition 47 in 2014, the CASI map provides a useful visual tool for … [Read more...]

Brown Picks Becerra for Attorney General

California’s wily governor just pulled a fast one with his announcement Thursday that he was appointing U.S. Rep. Xavier Becerra of Los Angeles to replace Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris when she moves to the U.S. Senate next month. No one saw this coming. Apparently, not even Becerra, who told a Sacramento Bee reporter that it was a “whirlwind.” The names of possible appointees had been circulating among political circles for months. Becerra’s wasn’t among them. The candidates were primarily men … [Read more...]

8 Ways Jeff Sessions Could Change Criminal Justice

Under Sen. Jeff Sessions, the Alabama Republican reported to be President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for Attorney General, the Justice Department — like much of the federal government — is poised to undergo a radical shift. The great majority of criminal prosecutions take place at the state level: About 211,000 people are locked up in federal prisons, compared with 1.3 million in state prisons, according to this useful chart from the Prison Policy Initiative. But Sessions would set the agenda … [Read more...]

Will Civil Rights Protections Survive the Trump Era?

Two of the nation’s most powerful civil rights organizations signaled Thursday that they hoped to persuade the incoming Administration to support existing bipartisan efforts for justice reform. But they also warned they would mount challenges—including legal challenges—if President-elect Donald Trump tried to implement the some of the more controversial “law and order” policy pledges he made during the campaign or otherwise turn back the clock on civil rights achievements to date. (On Friday, … [Read more...]

Post-Election Protesting? Know Your Rights to Demonstrate – #ACLUTimeMachine

Leading up to the election, last-minute get-out-the-vote pleas were everywhere: “Vote Tuesday. Protest Wednesday, Thursday, all weekend if you want.” In response to the news of Donald Trump’s election as president to the United States, people have already gathered, rallied, and protested – and continue to do so – everywhere from New York to Oakland. You have the right to speak out, today and every other day. But what exactly does that mean when you decide to demonstrate? What’s allowed and … [Read more...]