prison wire

The Uphill Road to Prisoners’ Rights

“Extralegal violence” against inmates has diminished as prisoners gained standing under U.S. law, but courts, lawmakers and prison administrators have carefully limited civil rights of the incarcerated—ushering in what some advocates call the modern era of hygienic, systematized and lawful cruelty, says a TCR op ed writer.

wizard of oz

It’s Time to End the Supreme Court’s ‘Wizard of Oz’ Mystique

Brett Kavanaugh began his Supreme Court tenure by announcing the hiring of four female law clerks. But that doesn’t address the elitism which undermines how we pick the people who staff the nation’s highest court. TCR columnist James Doyle offers a different solution.

bail

Ex-NYC Probation Chief: Why I Joined the ‘Mass Bailout’

On Oct 1, the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights group began a month-long “mass bailout” project in New York aimed at highlighting the inequalities of a system that forces the poor to remain behind bars before trial simply because they cannot afford money bail. Local DAs fumed, but a former NYC probation commissioner explains why he decided to participate.

Bill Cosby

Is Cosby’s Prison Term a Wake-Up Call to Prosecutors?

The entertainer’s 3-10 year sentence may empower more women to report assaults, but there’s still a long way to go before sexual predators are deterred by the threat of serious prosecution, says a former sex crimes prosecutor. One place to start: an annual “Report Card” from local DA’s about how they dealt with cases of rape and sexual abuse.

racism

Why Black Lives Still Don’t Matter

A Washington State inmate casts a skeptical eye on efforts to eliminate the racial bias that often fuels police treatment of African Americans. Based on his experience of the charged race relations within prison walls, he argues that fear will continue to drive prejudice, despite activists’ efforts to change institutional behavior.

execution

Fentanyl and the Death Penalty

Even as law enforcement tries to reduce the number of deaths attributed to the super-opioid fentanyl, some states are trying to increase them through their use for capital punishment. But it raises the same Constitutional questions posed by other methods of state execution regarding “cruel and unusual punishment,” says TCR’s columnist on drug issues.

homeless teen

Why Do We Keep Jailing Runaway Kids?

In the U.S., youth are routinely sent to detention centers and then incarcerated because they’ve been picked up for status offenses such as truancy or running away from home—and a large number of those affected are young girls. Two researchers say there are safer and more effective ways to help them.

trump

Are ‘Orders’ from the Tweeter-in-Chief Legally Enforceable?

Based on recent precedent, it seems safe to assume that the FBI and Department of Justice will ignore President Trump’s tweets calling for investigations into cases like the recent unsigned op ed in The New York Times. But how long can we rely upon this assumption?