DNA identification has been celebrated for its ability to exonerate the wrongfully convicted, but what if it’s also used by law enforcement to place you under suspicion for a crime you didn’t commit? A Stanford Law School researcher sketches out the dystopian implications of commercial geneology services.
Girls were once considered the fastest growing segment in the juvenile justice system, but a study from the Office of Justice Programs (OJP,) based on 2015 data, concludes that arrests involving juvenile females had declined to their lowest level since 1980.
Overall attacks that also include vandalism and harassment remained near record-high levels, reports the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in an annual report released three days after a gunman opened fire at a Southern California synagogue.
A 2016 state law allows young people who run afoul of the justice system to receive treatment and services at home instead of being shipped to a group home. But according to the Pew Public Safety Performance Project, the reform’s achievements could be undermined by efforts to divert the money saved into other programs.
The decline parallels the drop in state and federal prison populations between 2007 and 2017, according to the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics. But about two-thirds of those confined to jail cells in 2017—roughly 425,000 people—hadn’t been convicted of any crime.
African-American and Latinx teens who are the targets of repeated stop-and-frisk tactics are more likely to run afoul of the law as they get older, according to researchers who studied the impact of police tactics on youth in a major southern city.
The falling national incarceration rate in 2018—a 1.8 percent overall decrease relative to the population—was driven mainly by a substantial drop-off in the federal Bureau of Prisons and a handful of key states, including the incarceration juggernauts New York, Missouri, and the Carolinas.
Texas last year suffered the highest number of deaths of jailed individuals awaiting trial since 2007, according to statistics compiled by the Texas Justice Initiative. About half of the deaths were traced to “natural causes,” followed by suicide.
A new Vera Institute report commissioned by the MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge contends that pretrial detention “actually causes more damage than good to the overall results of the criminal justice system.”