“Civil Rights Group Blasts San Diego County Over Pepper Spray in Juvenile Halls”

actually way worse than that headline makes it sound! The girl sat on the bunk in her cell in one of San Diego County’s female juvenile-detention units as staff members explained that she was being placed on suicide watch. They told her she had to strip naked in front of them—including in front of a male staff member.She refused, twice. So, they sprayed her in the face with pepper spray, then shut the door to her cell.Two minutes later, they asked if she was going to cooperate. She r … [Read more...]

“Get Out of Jail, Inc.”

The New Yorker: On a cold November afternoon, Harriet Cleveland, a forty-nine-year-old mother of three, waved me over from the steps of her pink cottage in Montgomery, Alabama. She was off to her part-time job as a custodian at a local day-care center, looking practical but confectionary: pink lipstick, a pastel yellow-and-pink tunic, and dangly pink earrings. We’d need to start walking soon, she explained. The job, which paid seven dollars and twenty-five cents an hour, was the only one she’d b … [Read more...]

“The New York Times’s Coverage of Other Drugs Still Doesn’t Cut It”: Maia Szalavitz

at Substance.com: ...Schwarz goes on to describe how deputy/pharmacist Logan sometimes actually jumps over the counter and arrests people “on the spot” if they come to one of his stores with a forged or otherwise illegitimate prescription. That’s a real health-care pro in action!And throughout, Schwarz tells the story of one of Logan’s arrests, describing a sobbing mother—the one he’d holstered his guns and put on his bulletproof vest to go out and arrest—now in jail. She was charged with “d … [Read more...]

“The Violence of Prison Searches”

What really stands out is the contempt and dehumanization. Which is how the violence happens, I guess. Any particular stories about what it was like there that you’d like to share?Maybe the best way that I could explain is through describing a search. Our dorm gets randomly searched at least twice a month, more if they want to set an example or if somebody has been smoking in the bathroom or if there have been rumors that somebody had some sort of contraband.They use this space more or l … [Read more...]

“The Criminalization of Parenthood”: Radley Balko

again some more: A couple of themes we explore here at The Watch are the increasing criminalization of just about everything and the use of the criminal justice system to address problems that were once (and better) handled by families, friends, communities and other institutions. A few examples from recent headlines show those themes intersecting with parenthood.The first story comes from South Carolina, where a mother was jailed and charged with “unlawful conduct toward a child” for . . . … [Read more...]

The Era of Personal Redemption: Sens Booker and Paul Take Very Small Step Forward on Criminal Justice Reform

this is simultaneously heartening, and depressing--every increment paid for with so much suffering. … [Read more...]

Tenn. Mother Charged with Assault for Drug Use While Pregnant: ThinkProgress

uses an unnecessarily tendentious headline, but these laws really are a bad idea, as I discussed here: At the beginning of July, 26-year-old Mallory Loyola gave birth to a baby girl. Two days later, the state of Tennessee charged her with assault. Loyola is the first woman to be arrested under a new law in Tennessee that allows the state to criminally charge mothers for potentially causing harm to their fetuses by using drugs.The legislation, which officially took effect about a week ago, … [Read more...]


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