Trump Wants to Get Tough on Crime: Victims Don’t Agree

Sending more people to prison, deporting illegal immigrants, cracking down on marijuana use — those are some of the things the Trump administration has said will make America safer. But what do crime victims think about all this? It is a group whose views are rarely measured, but a poll commissioned by the Alliance for Safety and Justice sought to find out. A few notes of caution: The group supports criminal justice reform, including incarcerating fewer people, and seeks to promote the … [Read more...]

Tyranny of the Minority

Historian Timothy Snyder got it exactly right in his commentary on the political situation we face today "when the less popular of the two parties controls every lever of power at the federal level, as well as the majority of the statehouses." In such circumstances, he wrote, "The party that exercises such control proposes few policies that are popular with the society at large, and several that are generally unpopular — and thus must either fear democracy or weaken it." Snyder's worrying … [Read more...]

The Essential Role of Medicaid and Criminal Justice

This past month America’s first mental health court celebrated its 20th anniversary. The behind the scenes story, which led to the creation of Broward’s Mental Health Court, is a case-study of the need to preserve and expand Medicaid from a criminal justice perspective; and what happens when people in need of mental health and primary care are left behind. Aaron Wynn, a young man living in South Florida, was preparing to leave for college. According to his family, Aaron loved the ocean, his … [Read more...]

The Justice Dilemma: When the Cure Is Worse Than the Disease

Harm to a patient caused by treatment rather than disease is called “iatrogenic”—coming from the healer. Some iatrogenic harm is caused by medical error—surgery on the wrong patient or at the wrong site on the right patient.   Other iatrogenic harm—some fatal drug interactions— might have been impossible to anticipate. Predictable consequences of treatment—a scar after necessary surgery—could be called iatrogenic too.  Some iatrogenic injuries, such as a toxic needle-stick to a nurse, hurt … [Read more...]

2017 Bills Could Limit Juvenile Shackling, Repeal Sentencing Enhancements, and More

Each year, the California State Legislature considers hundreds of juvenile and criminal justice bills, many of which seek to repair the harms of mass incarceration and bring humane, commonsense reforms to the state’s justice system. This year, members of the Assembly and Senate have introduced public safety bills that address topics as varied as voting rights, access to technology in juvenile facilities, and fair hiring practices. CJCJ is co-sponsoring two bills, SB 190 and SB 439, which will … [Read more...]

Behind Many ‘Mom and Pop’ Bail Bonds Shops Is a Huge Insurance Corporation Out to Profit from Misery

Eleven years ago, San Diego, California, resident Melodie Henderson was arrested for assault after a minor altercation with a former coworker. Her bail was set at $50,000. This was before a judge ever laid eyes on her. Although she was employed, there was just no way Melodie would ever have been able to come up with the $50,000 she needed to post bail to be released while she fought her case in court. Her other option was to pay a bail bonds company a 10% nonrefundable fee, but with a $50,000 … [Read more...]

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...]