Protest the Moral Madness of LA County’s Jail Construction Plan

Later today, at a special budget meeting, the LA County supervisors will adopt a budget for the new fiscal year that begins July 1. That budget includes $92 million in interest payments for the cost of a new $2.2 billion dollar jail. We urge Justice Not Jails supporters to makes themselves heard on the ethical insanity of moving forward with a massive jail construction plan that totally ignores other ongoing efforts to divert people away from the jail system and to release significant numbers … [Read more...]

Philandro Castile and the Terror of an Ordinary Day

Philando Castile was shot to death last July on his way home from buying groceries with his girlfriend and her 4-year-old daughter. Last week, the Minnesota police officer who killed him was acquitted by a jury on all counts. I am haunted by how ordinary Mr. Castile’s final moments were. He was just running errands with his family. It’s this denial of the right to simply be — the perpetual state of otherness — that dangerously shadows black people. This is most obvious in our criminal … [Read more...]

The GOP Healthcare Bill Will Doom Millions of People Struggling with Addiction

"You are only as sick as your secrets,” we say. People in recovery from struggles with addiction know this line by heart. To be open and honest about my years of problematic substance use, and my 4 years of recovery, is key to keeping me alive. This morning, after weeks of backroom drafting and repeated calls for information — sometimes from their own party — the Senate released the text of their healthcare bill, an amended version of the Affordable Health Care Act passed recently in the … [Read more...]

When Twisted Justice Stops Prisoners from Starting Over

After Casey Irwin, 37, was released from prison, she worked a string of low-wage jobs that made it nearly impossible for her to pay the rent or put food on the table for herself and her two kids. Irwin's criminal record prevented her from getting affordable housing. She applied for higher-paying jobs, but her lack of education (she dropped out of high school) and history of incarceration limited her work options. Her husband was still in prison on the fraud charges that had gotten them both … [Read more...]

In Police Shootings, Blue Is the Color That Matters Most

Monday morning’s news out of Seattle that police officers shot and killed Charleena Lyles, an expectant mother who’d called for help because she suspected a robbery was taking place, is disheartening but not shocking. For many, last week’s acquittal of the police officer who shot Philando Castille, a permit-carrying gun owner riding in the passenger seat of a car with his family, is another example of how police literally get away with murder. Many people have pointed out that both victims were … [Read more...]

The Mental Health Crisis Facing Women in Prison

A new study shows a striking disparity between incarcerated men and women. More than two-thirds of incarcerated women in America reported having a history of mental health problems — a far higher percentage than their male counterparts, according to a study released Thursday by the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Although the prevalence of mental health disorders among people in prisons and jails is a well-known problem, the dramatic gender disparity exposed in the new report has been less … [Read more...]

ICE Director To All Undocumented Immigrants: ‘You Need To Be Worried’

The Trump administration will continue arresting undocumented immigrants who haven’t been convicted of crimes and won’t apologize for it, the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Tuesday. “If you’re in this country illegally and you committed a crime by entering this country, you should be uncomfortable,” Acting Director Thomas Homan told the House Appropriations Committee’s Homeland Security Subcommittee. “You should look over your shoulder, and you need to be … [Read more...]

After Creating Danger, Can Cops Use Force with Impunity?

Imagine police officers enter your home, without permission and without warning, while you’re sleeping. In a daze, you might think they were criminals breaking in. You might even seek to exercise your Second Amendment right to protect yourself and your family. But if the officers shoot you upon seeing that you’ve raised a weapon in self-defense, have they used excessive force? In other words, are police officers allowed to unreasonably provoke a response that will cause them to open fire? A … [Read more...]

The California Story: Reduced Crime, High Immigration

As California’s population moved from two-thirds white in 1980 to over 60 percent people of color today (Table 1), the state has seen dramatic reductions in crime in each category. Additionally, indicators of social health and safety—such as violence, violent death and school dropouts—have decreased significantly, and California has weathered the national opioid epidemic better than elsewhere in the country. Read the full report here: Refuting Fear As of 2015, the state’s total violent and … [Read more...]

What Do Many Mass Shooters Have in Common? A History of Domestic Violence.

Take violence against women seriously. It's a red flag. At first glance, mass shooters like James T. Hodgkinson, who authorities say opened fire Wednesday morning as Republicans practiced for a Congressional Baseball Game, seem like a diverse group. Hodgkinson, whose attack injured House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, a congressional aide, a lobbyist and two Capitol Police officers, frequently criticized President Trump and other GOP leaders on social media and in letters to his local … [Read more...]