coronavirus

How COVID-19 Exposes America’s Addiction to Incarceration

At a time when “public health” has taken on new importance, it is worth asking whether “public safety” is served by squeezing every possible minute of incarceration out of every person serving time, when alternatives such as home confinement and electronic monitoring are available, write a former federal prosecutor and a former deputy public defender.

nopd

Anatomy of a Crime Lab: Winning Convictions ‘On the Cheap’

A year-long investigation into the operations of the New Orleans Police Department crime lab raises questions about the validity of thousands of drug cases prosecuted in the city, writes journalist Matthew Nesvet, who argues the “flawed” procedures employed at many crime labs around the country have facilitated mass incarceration.

The Prosecutor as Quiet Revolutionary

If you wanted to remake the fundamentals of the U.S. criminal justice system, you might start with the decisions by a growing number of prosecutors to establish Sentencing Review units, writes TCR’s legal affairs columnist. The latest to sign on are newly elected Los Angeles County DA George Gascón and Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby.

justice

Why Bail Reform and Record Expungement Can’t Be Separated

New York is one of 42 states that allow individuals to expunge or seal their criminal records, yet because of the required 10-year waiting period, less than 2,000 individuals have taken advantage of the law. True justice requires rethinking that condition, writes a defense attorney.

How Technology Shapes—and Sometimes Deforms—Policing Culture

Smartphones have transformed accountability, but other high-tech tools such as crime-tracking software and facial recognition can encourage “toxic” police behavior. That’s why we should take a hard look at the intersection of technology and law enforcement, writes the director of Criminal Justice and Civil Liberties Policy at the R Street Institute.

bidern

Memo to Joe Biden: Focus on Neighborhood Safety

The next administration’s plans for domestic economic renewal should include measures that help neighborhoods combat the poverty and despair that often breed crime and violence, writes a former ATF agent.

prosecutors

New Tools for Measuring Prosecutors

A three-year project has come up with a list of 55 indicators to measure the performance of prosecutors’ offices. It could pave the way for a new “culture of safety” in the justice system, writes TCR’s legal affairs columnist.

prison

After Prison, a ‘Clean Slate’ Offers a Second Chance

A former incarceree and a former probation officer say a proposed “Clean Slate” bill in Louisiana to streamline the expungement process is an example of how states can couple accountability with opportunities to restore people leaving prison to full participation in civil society.

courtroom

A Victory for Independent Courts

The failure of the Donald Trump campaign to reverse the election results testifies to the strength of a court system that doesn’t succumb to political pressure.  But the blizzard of questionable lawsuits filed by Trump lawyers this month demonstrates the need for continued vigilance, writes a former district attorney.