The 18-month commission would review practices “ranging from overburdened courts and unsustainable incarceration costs to strained relationships between law enforcement and communities,” according to Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI), one of the sponsors. It would be the first comprehensive review of the justice system in 50 years.
Retired Federal Judge Schira Scheindlin has said mandatory-minimum requirements made her feel “dirty.” Other judges have joined the chorus of justice reformers who complain rigorous sentencing guidelines are unfair. But are they addressing the wrong problem?
Judges in New York have been urged to formally remind prosecutors of their obligation to turn over evidence that might exonerate defendants before a trial— or face contempt charges. It’s a step long advocated by reform advocates like the Innocence Project—will other states follow suit?
A Louisiana justice reform task force is divided over reforms that would allow parole eligibility for older, long-term inmates and those sent to prison for life as juveniles. Recommendations to Gov. John Bel Edwards are due in two weeks.
The first consent decree ordered under the Justice Department “pattern or practice” program to investigate local police departments for violations of constitutional rights was signed 20 years ago. One of the nation’s leading experts on policing draws 10 encouraging lessons from the story so far.
The president’s rhetoric raises the prospect of increased prosecutions and tougher penalties. Some police chiefs and conservative advocates prefer a “smart on crime” program that also pays more attention to prisoner re-entry issues.
Police enforcement of minor crimes contributes to clogged courts and may exacerbate racial tensions, write John Jay President Jeremy Travis and associate professor of psychology Preeti Chauhan. Last Friday, John Jay College announced the creation of a data-driven research network aimed at helping policymakers and law enforcement authorities explore different approaches.