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The Last Vestige of ‘Jim Crow’ Justice

Louisiana leads the nation in incarceration rates, with most of those imprisoned African Americans. One reason is the state’s post-Civil War practice of allowing non-unanimous jury verdicts—but some reformers are pressing for change.

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Insurance Firms ‘Corrupt’ U.S. Bail System: Report

In a special report, the ACLU and Color of Change say just nine insurers underwrite the majority of bonds issued in the U.S. Another report from Texas A&M University , which compares pretrial strategies in two Texas counties, says “automated risk-assessment” tools are fairer for defendants, cost less and improve public safety.

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Prison Reformer Bronstein Called Ahead Of His Time

Alvin Bronstein, the late director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Prison Project, anticipated the movement to reduce “mass incarceration” that is widely discussed in today’s criminal justice circles, former colleagues and friends were told at a memorial service yesterday in Washington, D.C. Bronstein, who filed many lawsuits contesting prison conditions in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, had a “perpetual sense of outrage” about the “lock ’em up and throw away the key” culture that dominated public policy at […]

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The Long Wait for Justice

Hundreds of criminal defendants declared incompetent to stand trial are sitting in county jails around California awaiting transfer to state facilities for mental health treatment. By law these defendants must receive treatment within 35 days. But an American Civil Liberties (ACLU) lawsuit filed against the state says many vulnerable inmates languish in jail, sometimes for as long as a year. “Jail is simply too dangerous a place for these most vulnerable defendants,” says Micaela Davis, one of the ACLU's lead […]

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What was the BOP Doing in Afghanistan?

Did the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) approve and possibly help design Afghanistan’s notorious “Salt Pit,” which was used by U.S. intelligence operatives to detain and torture suspected terrorists?

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Do Cops Really Need Mine Resistant Vehicles to Keep Us Safe?

The militarized law enforcement response to peaceful protests over the killing of an unarmed black man in Ferguson, Mo. last month, has prompted several federal officials to question the use of military weapons and tactics by local law enforcement, and the federal programs that fuel it. They aren't the only ones who are skeptical. In some cities and counties, officials and the public are resisting, and even reversing, the militarization of their police. Recently, for example, the City Council of […]

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ACLU Report: SWAT ‘Has Become Commonplace’

The use of militaristic Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) deployments for local police search warrants “has become commonplace,” according to a new report by the American Civil Liberties Union, an advocacy group. Researchers examined more than 800 SWAT raids in 20 states and found that 79 percent were to serve a search warrant for an individual's home. Though SWAT raids are commonly associated with police response to potentially violent situations, the report found that, “only a small handful of deployments […]