Make America Great

What does it mean to “Make America Great Again?” Some people suggest it is actually code for “Make America White Again.” But, when was the United States white? Never! Was there ever a time when America possessed and presented the characteristics of a “great nation?” If so, when was that time? We may turn to the so-called founding documents of this nation as evidence of a “great” society; but upon full examination and honest assessment a true and clear realization is that the words … [Read more...]

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...]

Martin Luther King Day With Trump

April 8, 1968, Representative John Conyers, from Detroit, marched through downtown Memphis with Coretta Scott King, Ralph Abernathy, Harry Belafonte, and thousands of people who had come to that city from across the country. Four days earlier, Martin Luther King, Jr., had been shot and killed there, on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel, and a fugue of disbelief and despair hovered over the crowd as it continued down the road that King had travelled. The march served as a momentary validation of … [Read more...]

Praying for a Successful Presidency

This must be said without equivocation, “I am praying for the success of President-Elect Donald H. Trump’s tenure in office.” Unlike the Republican Congressional leaders who announced publicly on his first Inauguration Day their singular intention to stymie President Barack Obama’s Administration and to stifle each and every initiative he presented, I want to see Mr. Trump perform at the highest level of civility with wise counsel and above average leadership quality. The success of the … [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...]

U.S. Correctional Population at Lowest Level in Over a Decade

The nation’s jail and prison population decreased in 2015, according to federal data released last Thursday, and the number of adults locked up or on parole or probation fell to a level not seen since 2002 while overall crime continued to drop. Reasons for the declining incarceration rates include the federal prison system releasing thousands of nonviolent drug offenders in 2015 and states seeking to save money by enacting legislation and policies to reduce prison populations. In … [Read more...]

Child Support Relief Coming for Incarcerated Parents

Squeezing in an executive action just a month before President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration, the Obama administration on Tuesday quietly unveiled a new federal regulation that will allow incarcerated parents to lower their child-support payments while they are in prison. The new rule, published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, requires states to notify all parents incarcerated for more than six months of their right to ask the child support agency for a temporary … [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...]