With so many people suffering within the grips of the prison industrial complex, it stands to reason that change is needed. We can help by providing solidarity for those locked up, but also we must call for reform. What is the best way to attack the problems? Police reform? Revising sentencing laws? Reaching out to prosecutors for change? What else needs to be done?
We’ve convinced people that we can do so much just by targeting drugs that they don’t feel the need to start wrestling with, how do we handle violence?"
Fast and Furious
The prison reformer's dilemma (Article)
Pfaff, author of "Locked In: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration—and How to Achieve Real Reform" thinks the election of tough-on-crime Donald Trump won’t make much difference to the prison reform movement. If he’s right about what’s putting people in prison, trying to change legislation and executive action at a national level won’t be as effective as reaching out to the thousands of prosecutors across the country and convincing them to change.
First Step Act is complicated (Articles)
As with any attempts to transform the criminal justice system, the First Step Act is complicated. While we rejoice that several thousand people will likely be treated more humanely, and some released slightly sooner, because of this legislation, we also stand in solidarity with those opposed to this act. We wonder with them if this will actually be a first, or last, step? Will we congratulate ourselves on having an impact on ~10 % of the prison industrial complex population while 2 million people, their families and friends still wait to be treated with dignity and respect?
The Next Step: Ending Excessive Punishment for Violent Crimes, by Senior Research Analyst Nazgol Ghandnoosh,
The Sentencing Project (Report)
As President Trump and Congress celebrate their criminal justice reform achievement, passage of the First Step Act, a new report from The Sentencing Project points to limits on excessive punishments for violent offenses as the critical next step in ending mass incarceration. [This report] highlights 15 reforms in 19 states implemented over the past two decades that have produced more effective, fiscally sound, and humane policies for people convicted of violent crimes. These reforms include: shortening excessive prison terms for violent convictions, scaling back collateral consequences, narrowing overly broad definitions of violence, ending long term solitary confinement, and rejecting the death penalty.
Just Mercy (Book)
"Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice." -randomhousebooks.com
A Prosecutor's Vision for a Better Justice System (Video)
Adam Foss, a prosecutor with the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office in Boston, makes his case for a reformed justice system that replaces wrath with opportunity, changing people's lives for the better instead of ruining them.
Unfair: The New Science of Criminal Injustice (Video)
The evidence is all around us: Our system of justice is fundamentally broken. But it’s not for the reasons we tend to think, as law professor Adam Benforado argues in this eye-opening, galvanizing book. Even if the system operated exactly as it was designed to, we would still end up with wrongful convictions, trampled rights, and unequal treatment. This is because the roots of injustice lie not inside the dark hearts of racist police officers or dishonest prosecutors, but within the minds of each and every one of us.