Current California law forbids police departments from sharing information about officers’ criminal backgrounds. The ACLU Center for Advocacy & Policy reports that “the majority of other states recognize that disclosure of records of [officers’] critical incidents is a basic element of peace officer oversight—peace officer disciplinary records are available to the public in some form in 27 states.” But in California, all disciplinary actions against sworn police officers must be kept secret.… Read the rest
I cannot understate the wide range of subjects raised by the words prison reform. When breaking it into components, I classify prison reform into three broad categories: criminal justice and procedures, incarceration living, and reentry.
What do politicians and Jared Kushner have to do with federal prison reform? Prison reform is a large subject, and politicians will always politicalize aspects of any subject. Kushner could be the catalyst that results in reform. Why is that? He’s connected to the issues.
His father-in-law, according to Insider’s Maxwell Tani, has tasked Kushner with solving some of the world’s most complex and confounding political problems domestically and abroad, including the reformation of the criminal justice system.… Read the rest
Frederick Douglass wrote in his striking memoir, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave, that “The White children could tell their ages. I could not tell why I ought to be deprived of the same privilege.” Even asking your master about your birthday was, according to Douglass, “improper and impertinent,” and he added, “I do not remember to have ever met a slave who could tell of his birthday.”
Most reports have Douglass’s being born in February 1818 in Tuckahoe, Maryland.… Read the rest
The curtain rises for Act 2. As discussed in Act 1, Greenlighting: Jailhouse Snitches, the term greenlighting comes from a lawsuit filed in the Orange County (California) superior court on April 4, 2018, against the Orange County district attorney and the sheriff. The lawsuit does not ask for money; it asks the court to overhaul the Orange County justice system, which is allegedly “in disrepair and disrepute.” See P.E.O.P.L.E.… Read the rest
Sometimes allegations in a lawsuit read like banal pulp fiction. Often they ring with the tenor of a dime novel—too contrived to be true. P.E.O.P.L.E. v. Rackauckas, a forty-page civil lawsuit filed in the Orange County (California) superior court on April 4, 2018, distinguishes itself from legal humdrum. Brought by the ACLU Foundation of Southern California on behalf of the plaintiffs, the lawsuit is not about money.… Read the rest
Blogs come alive through social media. What I post to my Twitter account transcends my laptop to reach people and organizations working for prison reform. There’s a family with like concerns out there, and they supply impactful tweets and substantive information. When I check out my followers on Twitter, I see the enormous investment that others are putting into myriad prison reform issues.… Read the rest
In part 1, I focused on federal tax incentives for employers that hire formerly incarcerated people (FIP). I highlighted the federal government’s Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) opportunity for employers hiring FIPs. The WOTC was created by Congress during the Obama administration to incentivize employers to hire individuals within target groups—one of which includes the formerly incarcerated.… Read the rest
Prison reform must address the needs of men and women who are reentering the work force after serving time in prison. Returning to your community can be as traumatic as going to prison when work opportunities are hampered because of a felony conviction. The idea that it’s a person’s conduct that’s bad, not the person, gets lost in the employment market.… Read the rest
In a previous post, The Loss of Compassion: The Gray Wave—Part 1, I used this definition of compassion: a “sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.” People without the compassion gene stand out; there’s something missing. I saw it all the time in prison in the interaction between staff and inmates and between inmates themselves.… Read the rest