Sessions’ Mass Incarceration Revival

Our country is returning to past failed policies that ruined families and whole communities while financially enriching a small group of investors in misery—the prison industry. It does not have to be this way. Remember when Attorney General Eric Holder, during the Obama administration, acknowledged our country’s mass incarceration policy as the actual destructive problem that… Read More

Moms, Bail, and Jail

As Mother’s Day approaches, let’s remember all of the moms behind bars and all of the children who can’t be with their mothers due to our country’s mass incarceration problem and dysfunctional bail system. Women are the fastest growing population in prison, far outstripping men in the rate of increasing imprisonment. There are currently more… Read More

Criminal Justice Reform Under Trump

With the passing of the presidential torch just days away, I’m mindful of the sharp contrast between President Obama’s criminal justice priorities and what we can expect from our new, incoming president. As we embark on the Trump years, we should pay attention to an important lesson from the Obama era about the disconnect between… Read More

Prisoners or Slaves?

The 13th Amendment outlawed slavery, but did you know that it carved out an exception? In actuality, the 13th  Amendment says that it forbids slavery and involuntary servitude, “except as punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.” Translation:  the Constitution permits enslavement of convicted prisoners. This has meant that current prisoners,… Read More

Prison Reform Mississippi Style?

Given the South’s problematic history with equal justice issues, this may be surprising: a Mississippi county may be on its way to becoming a national leader in local prison reform. In May 2015, the Justice Department found that Hinds County, Mississippi’s jails were “in crisis” (which says a lot, considering the very low bar of our poor… Read More

Artificial Intelligence and Criminal Justice

As our country looks for a quick fix to the many problems plaguing our criminal justice system, some courts and police departments are trying to use artificial intelligence as a cure-all. One flawed idea is that technology could be used by courts to take bias out of the equation for fairer sentencing decisions. Police departments could… Read More

Reentry Needs

Imagine being dropped in a city where you have no job or job prospects, no place to live, no credit cards or finances to fall back on, no car (or even current driver’s license), and almost no cash. And then add to that being saddled with the label ex-offender or convicted felon, which severely limits… Read More

Guilt Without Pulling the Trigger

  Our criminal laws sometimes subvert justice while wasting both human lives and taxpayer money. Laws that throw the book at people who are only minimally involved in crimes are a prime example. But our criminal laws are structured to do just that, through the law of accountability. The accountability doctrine says that if you in… Read More

Public Defender Injustice

It’s sad to think about our country having two criminal justice systems: one for people who are wealthy and one for people who are not. But that is the reality. Everyone facing serious criminal charges is supposed to get a lawyer – our Supreme Court decided decades ago that everyone has a right to an… Read More

Heroin, Criminal Justice Reform, and Race

There’s been a lot of talk in the news about an opioid/heroin epidemic in our country. And with this epidemic, many have begun rethinking long-term incarceration for drug addicts. It is certainly time for this reform. Make no mistake: locking people up for years, decades, or a lifetime for an illness – an addiction –… Read More