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


December 4th Summary

Gone for the holidays, my apologies. Keep in mind these are up to date as of the 4th, likely missed some things over the last week.

Michigan Live- Welfare drug testing pilot program approved by Michigan House– Really quite regrettable, any arguments mustered in opposition to welfare benefits to people who use drugs surely must concede that current data sources still mean this will be a decision that ultimately costs more money, potentially affecting services for using and sober clients alike.

Prison Policy Initiative- Tracking State Prison Growth in 50 States– There’s no short-edge of these graphs on the internet today, but I am especially fond of these as it shows variation between states, regions, rates of incarceration and totals (presumably steady state totals) as well as county jails, state and federal prisons. So, in many ways this is the most cogent visualization of growth of incarceration in the U.S, least that I have seen.

Prison Culture- Send White People to Jail: Protest in the Era of Black (Mass) Incarceration– Not sure I follow the entire article, worthy of a closer read no doubt.

Talk Poverty- Mass Incarceration and the Health of Our Communities– It’s not uncommon to hear people arguing for a public health approach to substance abuse (and thus, often by implication drug crimes) and sometimes even to other crimes. This article offers some more tangible exploration of this idea, with opportunities under the ACA.

Portland Press Herald Op Ed- Criminal court judge: We don’t ‘mass incarcerate’ select groups– Despite the title, which to me seems to be clearly targeting critics of mass incarceration, specifically the abhorrently disproportional rate of incarceration among black men; the article actually vears off to most strongly criticize calls for eliminating life sentences for violent crimes, which a priori, the author is correct, would not make a huge dent in incarceration rates or totals. Still, not sure I agree with it, but once again an antithetical read is not a bad thing on principle.

Truthout- Justice Department Takes Steps to Reform Grant Program Incentives– Interesting, I’d like to hear more thoughts on this from inside DOJ workers. I’m no stranger to ambitious, laudable goals translated into  failed attempts at revising grant criteria.

November 25th Summary

PEW Charitable Trusts- States Project 3% Increase in Prisoners by 2018

Argus Leader- Justice Reform holds prison population steady in South Dakota

Quartz- It’s not Ferguson: US cops who kill are rarely indited– and the data are poorly managed

The Economist- Criminal Cities– The author at times uses the phrase “crime rate” vaguely, and I think interchangeably with violent crime rate, thought if not, than there is considerable room for error in their speculation of falling “crime” rates as possibly related to city to city immigration. Similarly, I’m not convinced that the poor economic climates of the cities they’ve mentioned, or perhaps the presence of better social programs among the comparisons, is not a better hypothesis for why violent crime has fallen in some cities but not others. Regardless, interesting to think about; more important to remember that there are harsh regional disparities in crime rates, violent or otherwise, and that declining national rates may be masking some of the most disparate locations.

November 24th Summary

Prison Policy Initiative- New opportunity to weigh in on FCC prison phone regulation– Open to January 5th!

NY Times- A Plan to Cut Costs and Crime– For those familiar with Ban the Box initiatives, no new information here. Otherwise, not a bad introduction to it. Not so sure about the briefly noted criticisms that somehow not indicating criminal history will leader to greater profiling of minorities.

SE Missourian- Drug Court saves lives and money– Flouts some pretty remarkable state figures for the success of the program, with 90% of participants being arrest free, vs a 60-80% rearrest rate per non drug court offenders. The article doesn’t list dates however, so I’m personally somewhat skeptical of the authors data analytic abilities. Regardless, it’s probably still good, and it’s always nice for a feel good Op-ED style piece in SE Missouri.

October 31st Summary

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities Report- State Criminal Justice Reforms and Investments in Education.  A lot of this report is somewhat redundant to criminology rates that seem to commonly circulated in media (e.g rising incarceration rates, ethnically disparate rates, incarceration rates rising independent or crime rate, etc) but the tie to education spending and investment adds a new an interesting lens, somewhat more empiraclly then I’ve seen advanced before.

i100- Drug Decriminalization Policies International Map– Quite a bit more detail really needed to understand each policy than is given in the map, but, gives an interesting perspective nonetheless.

Harvard Prison Legal Assistance Blog- Changing Prison from the Inside Out– always inspiring to see inside organizing.

The Atlantic- Inner-City Violence in the age of Mass Incarceration-Have to admit I know very little about the work surrounding historic violence rates or their connection drug policy and mass incarceration. This article however, makes what seems to me to be a very persuasive case on the links between mass incarceration, drug policy, and racially and income disproportionate violence.

The Telegraph- What happens if you decriminalize drugs? Really interesting piece that seems to me, to argue that drug use rates and associated crime and infection (think HIV, Hep C) rates rise and fall independent of decriminalization, IMO strengthening the force behind ethical arguments in this area. Article looks at rates from Portugal and offers then in comparison to UK, and a few other locations.


October 28th Summary

Irish Examiner- Some Drug Addicts Should Not Be Prosecuted. Kind of mimics the op-ed I respond to in my previous post, though with citing the results of a large Ireland based study.

Florida Times Union- Juveniles awaiting detention longer than law intends

Black Youth Project- National ‘Wear Orange” protest held in opposition of mass incarceration October 30th

Alaska Dispatch News- Conference in prisons aims to increase reentry success. Curious why data are not being collected, seems like a great opportunity for both dissemination of a likely successful practice, and who knows, maybe even QI work on the existing process.

Skewed Justice- Evaluating the role campaign financing in judicial campaigns and the influence of citizens united. Really insightful for those (like me) who were unaware of the significance campaign financing has come to play in judicial roles over the last decade or so. It seems to be to be often left out of the conversation on campaign finance reform more generally.