January 27, 2015
Race and Justice News
International: Racial Disparities in Incarceration in UK and Australia Exceed Those in United States
Collateral Consequences: Jobseekers with Minor Arrest Records Face Employment Barriers
Criminal Records Produce Widespread Economic Barriers
Books: Bryan Stevenson: "Each of us is more than the worst thing we've ever done"
Reforms: Justice Department Expands Rules Against Racial Profiling for Federal Law Enforcement, with Major Exceptions
January 21, 2015 (Associated Press)
First Racial-Impact Law Seen as Having Modest Effect in Iowa
After a 2007 report showed that Iowa had the nation's highest disparity for sending blacks to prison, state lawmakers took a novel step: They passed a law requiring analysts to draft "racial-impact statements" on any proposals to create new crimes or tougher penalties.
The governor at the time said the statements would be "an essential tool" to understand how minority communities might be affected before any votes are cast.
A review by The Associated Press shows that the first-in-the-nation law appears to be having a modest effect, helping to defeat some legislation that could have exacerbated disparities and providing a smoother path to passage for measures deemed neutral or beneficial to minorities.
January 6, 2015 (Al Jazeera America)
Old age in the big house
It’s time for George Hall to come to the conference room, so he puts down his headphones and pivots his wheelchair away from the Brothers word processor he’s been using all morning to work on a friend’s legal brief. He navigates out of his room and into the antiseptic corridors, emitting a few coughs from chronic bronchitis. That’s the least of his health woes; he’s recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer and can’t walk, because of inoperable herniated lumbar discs in his back.
December 19, 2014
State Advocacy Update: Addressing Racially Disparate Criminal Justice Policies and More
Approaches to Address Racial Disparity
Local Policy Interventions
Advocating to Fund Effective Alternatives
December 17, 2014 (Los Angeles Times)
Obama commutes sentences of eight prisoners convicted on drug charges
President Obama commuted the sentences Wednesday of eight prisoners serving lengthy terms for drug charges, but it was only a fraction of the 6,561 who applied for his help.
In January, the Justice Department announced an ambitious program to recruit lawyers to help drug offenders seek presidential clemency after being jailed under harsh sentencing laws. The move was in line with Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr.’s push to reduce the U.S. prison population, particularly among African Americans serving disproportionally longer sentences for crack cocaine possession.