prison

The Painful Lessons of a Corrections Crisis

When the Washington Department of Corrections learned a software programming error led to the erroneous early release of 3,000 prisoners, it took three years to address the problem. That led to at least two deaths—and some hard lessons about the need to recognize non-traditional emergencies before they became crises, according to a case study published in December.

laptop

Why is Internet Gambling a Crime?

Sports bettors in many states risk prosecution even when their wagers are placed on offshore sites—a legacy of anti-gambling laws created during the pre-internet era. A New York attorney writes it’s time to test the validity of those laws, even if it challenges a lucrative source of state revenue.

Justice Reform Subverted by Politics, says Bill Moyers

When prosecutors and judges are turned into vote-seekers, efforts to develop more humane approaches to punishment and law enforcement suffer, the veteran TV journalist said in an interview aired on CUNY’s “Criminal Justice Matters” program Tuesday. He charged that the Trump administration’s “tough on crime” rhetoric has made things worse.

Three Dozen States Have Enacted Some Justice Reform

Reform efforts can bring together legislators with diverse backgrounds and interests. These include controlling crime, reducing prison costs, embracing religious ideas about redemption, reducing the size of government, grappling with the effect of imprisonment on families and minority communities, and questioning the morality of locking up so many people.

Chicago police

The Simple Way to Prevent False Confessions

If a lawyer were present at all police interrogations–including of children under 15—prosecutors could avoid scandals like the two Chicago men who won new trials this month on the grounds of false confessions, and 15 others exonerated after findings of police misconduct, says a juvenile justice advocate.

jury summons

Has Plea Bargaining Destroyed the Jury Trial?

Juries decide fewer than four percent of criminal cases today—and fewer than one percent of civil cases. The widespread use of plea bargaining, which helps prosecutors clear crowded dockets, is the principal reason—but it raises serious constitutional questions, says a University of Illinois College of Law professor.