If Kids Ran Juvie

Every couple of years, California takes a close look at its rules governing juvenile detention centers. In determined bureaucratic fashion, officials convene, debate and ultimately agree on updates to the state regulations covering the facilities that house children. This year, the California Board of State and Community Corrections is doing something different: They are considering the suggestions of dozens of juveniles who have actually spent time in detention. In January, at least 75 … [Read more...]

Minor Crimes, Major Challenges

Responding to minor crimes is arguably one of the most critical activities of any police department. Given that low-level arrests also clog the nation’s courts and jails, it is remarkable that this police function has received so little public attention.The resource demands are certainly substantial.  These enforcement actions also provide opportunities to reduce crime and enhance public trust.  In addition, they pose considerable safety risks to the responding officers. By any measure, … [Read more...]

Sanctuary Cities in Name Only

President Trump’s plan to deport millions of people appears to be underway. Last week, federal immigration officials arrested more than 600 people at their homes and workplaces in at least 11 states, sending terror through immigrant communities. The abruptness of the raids provoked criticism from local officials, including Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York, who vowed to “stand with” immigrant communities. But mass deportation under President Trump will also happen through a more routine policy … [Read more...]

Harnessing the Power of the Public for Bold Change

  Monday, February 13th, marked the five-year anniversary of the founding of Californians for Safety and Justice, an advocacy organization seeking to replace prison and justice system waste with smarter safety solutions that save public dollars, in the state with the largest corrections system in the nation. We began this journey with a fundamental belief: Californians of all walks of life were ready for large-scale change. The incarceration-first approaches of the … [Read more...]

Angels Are Everywhere: LA’s Homeless Army

Angels are everywhere. You can find them working at your local restaurant, sleeping in cars along the street, and huddled in the shadows on notorious Skid Row. You can find them in local colleges, graduate programs, trade schools and even in your own neighborhoods. Yes, angels are everywhere in this city of angels, but their wings have been clipped. Los Angeles is filled with angels but we often call them homeless, unemployed, underemployed, and the working poor. In Los Angeles, the rate of … [Read more...]

Acting in the Spirit of Dr. King: Now Is Our Time to Break Silence

Fifty years ago, on April 4, 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his breakthrough sermon linking racism, capitalism, and militarism at New York's Riverside Church. King's courageous sermon was titled "Beyond Vietnam: Time to Break Silence." Exactly one year later-on April 4, 1968-Dr. King was assassinated in Memphis while standing with that city's striking Black sanitation workers. Recalling King's fearless final year, and conscious of the challenge we face now in a new time of … [Read more...]

The Long Road Back: An Interview with Dominick Correy

Dominick Correy is a member of the Justice Not Jails Steering Committee who has been working for ten years as a "chaser" at Pasadena's Learning Works Charter School. A "chaser" is a staff specialist assigned to making sure the kids show up and do the work, also counseling them and sometimes running interference with the law. Learning Works was founded by Dr. Mikala Rahn, another Justice Not Jails friend and advisor. Dominick was recently appointed to serve as field representative for … [Read more...]

Everything You Think You Know About Mass Incarceration Is Wrong

Or at least misleading, says this contrarian scholar. Here’s why it matters. Critics of the prison-happy American criminal justice system tend to subscribe to a narrative that goes like this: Mass incarceration was ignited by the war on drugs (blame Nixon or Reagan), was pumped up by draconian sentencing and is now sustained by a “prison industrial complex” that puts profit before humane treatment and rehabilitation. John Pfaff, in his provocative new book, “Locked In,” calls this the “Standard … [Read more...]

Trump’s Vague, Failed Rhetoric Has Potential to Unleash New Harm

Recent executive orders are yet another example of President Trump’s fear mongering; using falsehoods, misinformation and coded rhetoric to push through his extreme and intolerant agenda. The Drug Policy Alliance's work to end the war on drugs connects the dots on these kinds of attacks on civil and human liberties. Trump’s vague “reduce crime” policy and creation of a new taskforce to strategize explicitly on illegal immigration, drug trafficking and violent crime, are nothing but throwback … [Read more...]

California’s Urban Crime Steady Through Policy Reform Era

A new fact sheet from the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice finds that, despite the implementation of large-scale criminal justice reforms, California’s urban crime rates remained stable from 2010 through early 2016. The report uses recently released FBI crime data from the first six months of 2016 to compare rates of property and violent crime across cities and over time. Sources: FBI (2017); DOF (2017). Note: Violent crime rates exclude rape because the definition was broadened in … [Read more...]