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June 25, 2014 (The Washington Post)
America’s stupidest criminal laws

Imagine this: two defendants, same age, smoke a joint with some friends one July evening in their respective apartments. Neither has a criminal record. Both get caught; one faces an extra two years in jail.

Why? Because he shared drugs within a certain number of feet from a school that’s been out for a month.

The so-called ‘Drug Free School Zone’ is one of many laws that create extra penalties for already illegal acts with no reasonable tie to the public’s safety or the defendant’s particular circumstances.


June 23, 2014 (The Sentencing Project)
Missouri Expands Eligibility for Food Stamps to Persons with Felony Drug Convictions

Missouri Governor Jay Neal has signed Senate Bill 680, which modifies the federal lifetime ban on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), for persons with felony drug convictions. Although the new law is a step in the right direction, it imposes a one-year waiting period after a conviction or release from custody.


June 16, 2014 (The Sentencing Project)
Race & Justice News

Immigration: Tulsa Police: Local Immigration Enforcement Harms Public Safety

County Sheriffs End Immigration Detention, Fearing Liability

Public Opinion: Racial Divide in Perceptions of Washington State's Justice System

Books: Get a Job by Robert D. Crutchfield

On the Run by Alice Goffman

Juvenile Justice: Comprehensive Report on Improving School Discipline

Foundations Build on My Brother's Keeper Initiative


June 11, 2014 (The Philadelphia Inquirer)
The link between felon disenfranchisement, politics, and health

About 7.7% of voting age African Americans are currently prohibited from voting compared to 2.5% of the U.S. population. Pennsylvania is among the more progressive states in this regard; only current prisoners are prevented from casting ballots, with 2.5% of the state’s African Americans (0.6% of all races) disenfranchised, according to the Sentencing Project. When the analysis is limited to males, who are far more likely to be imprisoned, it finds that 13% of African American men are disenfranchised nationwide. An African American male born today has a 1-in-3 chance of being disenfranchised at some point in his life.

If a group of people can’t vote, the politicians who care about their health needs might be less likely to win elections.


June 3, 2014 (Huffington Post)
I Am My Brother's Keeper

An op-ed by Reverend Al Sharpton:

I could have easily been a statistic. Growing up in Brooklyn, NY, it was easy -- a little too easy -- to get into trouble. Surrounded by poor schools, lack of resources, high unemployment rates, poverty, gangs and more, I watched as many of my peers fell victim to a vicious cycle of diminished opportunities and imprisonment. If it weren't for the mentorship and guidance from people like my mother, James Brown and others, I wouldn't have been able to make something of my life.