Marijuana and Driving: A Cop’s Perspective

Do we need roadside tests for marijuana? A veteran detective argues that experienced police can easily identify motorists intoxicated by non-alcoholic substances without special equipment—and get them off the road.

public defenders

Can Public Defenders be Reformers?

Defense attorneys spend more time with criminal defendants than anyone else in the justice system. So if they care about better outcomes, they need to go beyond their traditional roles, says the head of the Milwaukee Public Defender’s Office.

Ban the Box for Colleges, Too

Finding a job — especially one that pays well —is key to keeping those with a criminal history from being rearrested. Removing criminal history questions on college applications will lead to better outcomes not only for people with records, but for society as a whole, argues an R Street researcher.


Risk Assessment: Should Youth Be a Factor in Judging ‘Dangerousness’?

Pennsylvania’s Commission on Sentencing is weighing whether to use an offender’s age in determining the likelihood of committing a new crime, for a risk assessment tool due this summer. That flies in the face of recent juvenile justice reforms, such as Supreme Court rulings accepting that adolescents have diminished responsibility, warns a Pennsylvania attorney.


Why Justice Innovators Resemble Jazz Musicians

Cops, EMT workers and court officials are no longer waiting to be told how to fix system flaws. In cities across the country, pioneering efforts at collaboration across once-solid silos resemble the skillful improvisations of a jazz score, writes a Boston defense attorney.

How Race Distorts Risk Assessment for Minority Youth

Tools used by courts to judge whether an individual will re-offend rarely address the specific interaction of race and criminogenic risk, writes a University of Cincinnati researcher. She found that young African Americans have been especially shortchanged.


Can We Help Opioid Abusers Without Jailing Them?

As the nation continue to suffer from the opioid epidemic, programs that can divert substance abusers away from the criminal justice system are critical. One increasingly popular approach called “deflection” partners police and public health workers.

Rachael Rollins

Beware of the Backlash Against Reform Prosecutors

Not everyone welcomed the election of reform-minded prosecutors around the country last fall. The case of new Suffolk County. Ma., DA Rachael Rollins is an example of pushback from tough-on-crime advocates, warns a reform advocate.