“The Hidden History of Black Women Criminal Legal Reformers”: PrisonCulture

posts: ...All of these accomplishments are impressive and don’t even begin to cover her contributions to women’s and civil rights. However, what has always captured my attention and garnered my deepest respect is the legacy of Ms. Terrell’s advocacy against the convict lease system. In 1907, she published an important article titled “Peonage in the United States: The Convict Lease System and the Chain Gangs” in a journal called “The Nineteeth Century.” In the essay, she suggests that leasing is … [Read more...]

Good Cop: Radley Balko on Joseph McNamara

here: It’s a sad irony that we’ve lost Joseph McNamara just as the country has become engaged in a productive and overdue discourse about policing. McNamara, who passed away Friday at the age of 79, was an eloquent and engaging critic of the drug war, of reactionary and aggressive policing, and of the militarization of law enforcement long before those positions were popular.McNamara’s voice was particularly important for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, he had 35 years of policing … [Read more...]

In Which I Am the Last Person to Read Radley Balko’s Epic Report on St. Louis Co. Policing as Profiting from Poverty

and I'm posting it here just in case I'm actually second-to-last. ...The officer found that Bolden had four arrest warrants in three separate jurisdictions: the towns of Florissant and Hazelwood in St. Louis County and the town of Foristell in St. Charles County. All of the warrants were for failure to appear in court for traffic violations. Bolden hadn’t appeared in court because she didn’t have the money. A couple of those fines were for speeding, one was for failure to wear her seatbelt and m … [Read more...]

“Doctors Say Arizona Prisons Mocked Sick Inmates, Left Stroke Victims in Soiled Diapers for Weeks”

I post these now and then but keep in mind that this is like the fingernail polish on the tip of the iceberg: Arizona’s privatized prison healthcare system routinely abuses and ignores sick and mentally ill inmates, according to newly released confidential reports from doctors who visited prisons and reviewed inmates’ medical records. The experts are serving as witnesses in a class-action lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and expected to go to trial this fall.The phy … [Read more...]

“Mom Arrested for (Maybe) Hanging Up on Cop While Her Missing Daughter Plays at Church”: Reason

gives this story a much different headline from many mainstream media outlets. Let's find out why! Here is a story that combines some of our favorite Reason.com topics, including strip clubs, jerk cops, and America's growing willingness to make less-than-perfect parenting a crime. In this case, Florida resident Bobbey Jo Boucher went with her 10-year-old daughter to a neighbor's barbecue and left the girl there when she headed to work, instructing her to go back home when it was over. When the … [Read more...]

Friday Link Round-Up: The Road to Ferguson, And Some Paths Away

Hey it's my birthday, let's have some fun! This is a very, very scattershot link round-up. Mostly snagged from people I follow on Twitter and you should too.Walter Olson, "Petty Offenses and Police-Community Relations in Ferguson": It seems so random and meaningless that a legal offense as minor as walking on the roadway would set in motion what was to prove the fatal confrontation between officer Darren Wilson and Michael Brown. But in the wider scheme of how Ferguson came to have its … [Read more...]

Two Stories of a Philadelphia School’s Transformation

from Jeff Deeney. First, in July 2013: Last year when American Paradigm Schools took over Philadelphia's infamous, failing John Paul Jones Middle School, they did something a lot of people would find inconceivable. The school was known as "Jones Jail" for its reputation of violence and disorder, and because the building physically resembled a youth correctional facility. Situated in the Kensington section of the city, it drew students from the heart of a desperately poor hub of injection drug … [Read more...]


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