Radley Balko’s Civil Liberties Predictions for 2015

See if you can guess the sci-fi twist. Sometimes, real life can be stranger than parody. This can be particularly true when it comes to the beat we cover here at The Watch, civil liberties. With that in mind, I’ve gone out on a limb to make some predictions about what might happen on the civil liberties front in 2015. I realize that some of these prognostications may seem a wee bit hyperbolic, a bit paranoid, maybe even a little nutty. But I think we can all agree that we should hope none of t … [Read more...]

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The Carceral State: Dept of Things That Aren’t Solutions

Three links. Happy New Year!Not a solution: police body cameras: ...Despite the push for body cameras by policymakers and politicians, many organizers (both in New York and around the country) are not entirely convinced that body cameras are a meaningful reform—especially after Daniel Pantaleo was not indicted for killing Eric Garner on camera.Andrew Padilla is disturbed “that all this energy towards accountability…can be flipped into increased surveillance in communities of color and in … [Read more...]

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Links from a Prison Nation

A round-up of stuff I've been reading."The Protester": Raven Rakia writes a powerful piece which I think probably functions as a Rorschach test. Do you focus on the rules this guy breaks, or the colossal overreaction he faces when he breaks them?When Frankie was 13, school authorities at his middle school called the police in to deal with him for disrupting class. Two police officers ended up physically restraining him: They hogtied his legs and tied his hands behind his back, duct-taped … [Read more...]

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“Obama’s Big Idea: Let’s Hike Federal Cop Subsidies”

Walter Olson at Cato: President Obama’s newly announced police-reform package lives up to one’s worst expectations. He flatly refuses to curtail the federal police militarization program, instead calling for a big hike in federal spending on aid to local departments with the usual micromanaging strings attached. These strings will predictably make departments more responsive to Washington, and lobbies with clout there, as distinct from their local communities. As USA Today notes, one powerful in … [Read more...]

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“Washington Bails on Demilitarization After Ferguson”

Seasons Greetings: Lawmakers vowed changes to the Pentagon programs that deliver military-grade equipment to local police after images of cops climbing out of armored vehicles with military-grade weapons filtered out of Ferguson, Missouri, in August.But months later, the chaotic 1033 program — which sends surplus military gear built for combat to local police forces with little oversight — hasn’t changed at all.The 113th Congress will end without substantive changes to the program. The W … [Read more...]

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Gouging the Families of Prisoners; and “The Janitors of Good Wishes”

a post with lots to say about political praxis as well as, you know, gouging the families of prisoners: ...There is a salutary purpose to be served by people like Henson, who believe that good government can offer valuable solutions to vexing problems.  The positive wishes for new ideas provide a force that drives innovations that do, in many instances, make things better than they were before.  Even if they don’t turn out perfectly, or as well as hoped, they can be surprisingly better.  Wheth … [Read more...]

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A Powerful Story of Friendship, Marriage, And Mental Struggles After Wrongful Imprisonment

by Liliana Segura: On a snowy evening in late March, just over a year after walking out of prison, where he had spent 23 years for a crime he didn’t commit, William Lopez entered a CVS in the Bronx and did something inexplicable. After paying for a prescription at the pharmacy counter, he paused to grab some other things—two sticks of Old Spice deodorant and some allergy medicine. Then, without paying, and in full view of a security guard, he walked out. Police were called and Lopez was arr … [Read more...]

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