Tomorrow’s Other Elections: Your District Attorney Races

some thoughts, from the Marshall Project, on the complexity and importance of the DA position: Sklansky, the Stanford professor, agrees that there is “something uncomfortable” about how individual cases can drive an election campaign, and that this underscores the need to find better ways to measure how prosecutors do their jobs, including more data on charging and convictions. But overall he sees the current competitiveness as a sign that people are paying attention to how the criminal justice … [Read more...]

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All Theology Is Prison Theology: A Couple of Links

A little while ago I used a Michigan case about videoconference sentencing to explore the theology of the body of the defendant. Here Mississippi attempted--and then retracted--some wrongheaded theology of the family of the incarcerated: Family and friends of Mississippi state prisoners were surprised and alarmed by a new policy announced Wednesday that bans all but immediate family members from visiting. According to a memo posted in state facilities, “this excludes ALL friends, pastors g … [Read more...]

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“The Right to Look Your Judge in the Eye”: I’m at AmCon

w/the theology of the body of the defendant: Last month a Michigan appeals court considered the case of a man convicted of methamphetamine possession. Although the man received an unusually harsh sentence (30 to 120 months in prison, based in part on his prior record), the decision of the three appellate judges addresses not only the length of the sentence but also, and at greater length, the way it was delivered: via videoconferencing. The defendant was in the county jail when he was … [Read more...]

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“Inside the Deadly World of Private Prisoner Transport”: The Marshall Project

this piece starts grim and only continues in that vein: In July 2012, Steven Galack, the former owner of a home remodeling business, was living in Florida when he was arrested on an out-of-state warrant for failing to pay child support. Galack, 46, had come to the end of a long downward spiral, overcoming a painkiller addiction only to struggle with crippling anxiety. Now, he was to be driven more than a thousand miles to Butler County, Ohio, where his ex-wife and three children lived, to face … [Read more...]

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“Why It’s So Hard to Measure Racial Bias in Police Shootings”: Ezekiel Kweku

I feel v. old telling you to go to MTV for hard-hitting statistical and political analysis, but this is our world: What if the core of the Black Lives Matter movement is based on a lie? What if there is no racism involved in police killings? Harvard economist Roland Fryer Jr. has come out with a headline-grabbing study about police shootings: a new National Bureau of Economic Research working paper that arrived with a write-up in the New York Times' data blog The Upshot. According to The … [Read more...]

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Who Is Doing Good Ministry to Corrections Officers?

Last Saturday was the feast of Sts Processus and Martinian, patrons of wardens, guards, and prison police. Legend says that they were the jailers of St Peter and St Paul, who were converted when the apostles were miraculously freed (Acts 16).This got me wondering. In certain Christian circles we hear a lot about prison ministry. Visiting prisoners is one the basic Catholic corporal works of mercy. Pope Francis has been phenomenal when it comes to loving the prisoners in his flock--it's not … [Read more...]

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Movie Must-Watch Notes: Abuse of Power Comes as a TOTAL Surprise!

OK, first of all I have to tell you that I saw Tickled and I want you to go see it without knowing much about it. I went in knowing that it was a documentary about "competitive endurance tickling" and the filmmaker uncovers... something? a weird thing? the story is weirder than it sounds? So I assumed it would be a story about a subculture, maybe about how we build community or identity off of inexplicable and sometimes sad things.NOPE. It starts out very, very funny, and the humor is … [Read more...]

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