Voters besieged with scary events and frightening rhetoric mostly swung in the opposite direction at the ballot box last week. That’s expanded an encouraging bipartisan reform climate for newly elected, or re-elected, governors, DAs and legislators—if they’re willing to take heed, says a leading justice commentator.
The victories of reform-minded prosecutors like John Creuzot in Dallas County last week could signal a “sea change” in public support for reductions in mass incarceration and the easing of sentencing guidelines, advocates and experts tell TCR.
Prosecutors often show up at parole hearings to influence decisions on whether to release individuals they have helped convict. But a Boston College law professor says justice is better served when they “stay home and keep quiet.”
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.
While there are good constitutional reasons for barring prosecutors from speaking directly with defendants without their attorneys’ permission, it shouldn’t prevent them from trying to understand the lives and perspectives of those most affected by what they do, writes a former assistant district attorney.
There’s a largely ignored territory in the justice system populated by poor, often minority, individuals whose lives have been stunted by perennial run-ins with the law over petty crimes and misdemeanors. Yale law professor Issa Kohler-Hausmann calls it “Misdemeanorland,” and she explores its consequences in a conversation with TCR about her new book of the same name.