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.
Citing fear over church and school shootings, a megachurch near Birmingham seeks the right to hire its own police officers “to protect the safety and integrity of the church and its ministries.” The ACLU predicts that any law allowing a church-based police force would be struck down as unconstitutional.
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 […]
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 […]
In November 2002, a team of federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) employees traveled to a secret CIA prison in Afghanistan known interchangeably by its nickname, “The Salt Pit,” and its code name, “COBALT,” according to a Senate Intelligence Committee report released last year. The report, which examined the the CIA’s detention and interrogation program, describes in detail a visit in which BOP officials saw detainees shackled to walls and stripped naked. The cells holding detainees were kept in total darkness, […]
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 […]
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 […]
A new American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) policy brief calls for solitary confinement policies in women's prisons to account for key differences between males and females. The brief notes that a higher percentage of women than men face prison for non-violent crimes and imprisoned women are more likely to suffer from serious mental illness. Studies have shown that solitary confinement can exacerbate an inmate's mental health issues, but “the unique harms and dangers of subjecting women prisoners to this practice […]