While Jeff Sessions Escalates the War on Drugs, Drug Policy Reform Surges Ahead in California

The Drug Policy Alliance had another successful day in the California state legislature, with two more bills passing through the first house committee, AB 1578 and SB 180. These bills join the agenda with two others bills that passed through their first house committees in preceding weeks. While U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions escalates the war on drugs, drug policy reform surges ahead in California, joining states such as Washington and New York, where similar innovative approaches to … [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...]

25 Years After LA Riots

Community march will mark the past and look to the future he Rev. K.W. Tulloss was a 9th grader at Locke High School in South Los Angeles in April 1992 when a jury, with no black members, acquitted four white police officers of beating Rodney King. That verdict touched off days of rioting, looting and violence that left more than 55 people dead. The riots were concentrated in South L.A. but spread to other communities including downtown L.A., Koreatown, Hollywood, Pasadena and the San … [Read more...]

Will Jeff Sessions Police the Police?

The dismay that the neophytes in the Trump Administration elicit tends to follow three stages: alarm at what they say, shock at what they do, and outrage at what they propose to do next. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is no political neophyte—he represented Alabama in the Senate for twenty years—but the pattern still applies. His confirmation hearing included a reminder of an indulgent jest he once made about the Ku Klux Klan. On the Senate floor, Elizabeth Warren was silenced when she tried to … [Read more...]

Police Actually Do Enforce Immigration Laws

Police departments say they don't enforce immigration laws. But their manuals say something different Like many law enforcement agencies across California, Culver City police say officers don't enforce federal immigration law. The City Council declared the town a so-called sanctuary city last month, promising to protect the public safety of all city residents, regardless of immigration status. But the Police Department’s manual seems to suggest something different, offering officers guidance … [Read more...]

Uneasy Riders: Before United, a Legacy of Excessive Force in Transportation

The passenger was ordered to move and refused. The rule was grossly unfair, yet the carrier within its rights to enforce it. The traveler’s belligerence may have added fuel to the fire, though by no means could he have anticipated its horrifying outcome. There were racial overtones. And fellow travelers who witnessed it expressed outrage and shock. A description of United Airlines Flight 3411 on April 9, 2017? Yes — but also of the Savannah Special over the rails of North Carolina, 70 years … [Read more...]

Protecting Incarcerated People and Their Loved Ones from the Video Visitation Industry

As our research has shown, local jails are increasingly replacing in-person visits with expensive and poorly implemented video visitation systems. Fortunately, some policymakers are taking notice. Illinois State Rep. Carol Ammons introduced a bill earlier this year that would protect in-person visitation from being eliminated in Illinois correctional facilities and limit the cost of video visits. There is also active legislation in New Jersey that would guarantee face-to-face family visits … [Read more...]

Green Is the Old Black

California looks to phase out private prison partnerships as Trump administration doubles down A bill to end California’s reliance on for-profit prisons jumped a major hurdle last week, passing the Assembly Public Safety Committee just days before students demanded that Sacramento State University divest its financial ties to those very corporations. According to Assemblyman Rob Bonta, California is still contracting to house 6,000 state inmates inside private prisons. “I don’t agree with … [Read more...]

Honoring Dr. King’s “Beyond Vietnam” Speech

We all know that students and a good percentage of working adults across the country get a day off from school and work on the third Monday of January in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's birthday. Although he was assassinated in 1968, it wasn't until 2000 that King was honored with an official federal holiday, observed by all 50 states. A lot of people fought long and hard to establish MLK Day, having to overcome almost insurmountable obstacles to make it a reality. But to what end? … [Read more...]

Police Unions Hail Trump’s Easing of Scrutiny: Local Officials Worry

Black pedestrians in Baltimore stopped without reasonable suspicion. Black drivers in Ferguson, Mo., searched much more frequently than whites. Cleveland residents punched and kicked by officers and subjected to stun guns, without posing any threat. In report after report in the Obama years, Justice Department lawyers found patterns of eye-popping rights violations and used them as leverage to force local departments to agree to major policing overhauls. But the Trump administration announced … [Read more...]