December 23rd Summary

New  York Times- Go to Trial: Crash the system- Michelle Alexander–  If there was a mass movement of coordinated plea bargain refusals, it would drastically increase defendant bargaining power, so claims author Michelle Alexander. Really interesting thought, has there been organizing across arrested individuals before?

The Marshall Project- The New “New Policing”- These are solid recommendations, ranging from policy solutions (at least in the form of say, creating regulatory body) to broader conversation about philosophically the role of police in the 21st century. Many other government entities have been asked to reevaluate their role for modernization (I hear the phrase “Public Health’s changing role in the 21st century” about once a day) why not police?

AZ Central- Prosecutors ignore data, push dogma– Is this the behavior of Prosecuting Attorney Advisory (or other bodies) Councils or offices more broadly? I’d speculate Arizona is on the conservative end (no kidding) but regardless? Seems like serious questions could be raise by their methodology, pretty basic mishap of mistaking correlation with causation it seems to me.

Juvenile Justice Information Exchange- Why the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Re-authorization Act Matters to Cities


Winnable and under-discussed justice reform ideas for 2015 | Prison Policy Initiative

Eight ideas for criminal justice reforms that are ripe for legislative victory.


Folks from the Prison Policy Initiative are great. Here’s their list abstracted:


  • Ending prison gerrymandering
  • Lowering the cost of a call home from prison or jail
  • Repealing or reforming ineffective and harmful sentencing enhancement zones
  • Protecting letters from home in local jails
  • Requiring racial impact statements for criminal justice bills
  • Repealing “Truth in Sentencing”
  • Creating a safety valve for mandatory minimum sentences
  • Reducing pretrial detention


Only thing I’d add is a quick informative note on the racial impact statements. Washington State has optional “Health Impact’ statements that include equity on both disenfranchised or higher risk groups. A similar strategy could be employed, as in the examples from Oregon and others.