Our Initial Goal Is Voluntary Compliance

Middle school edition! After Michael and Melinda May's daughter was drug-tested five times in three years at Susquenita Middle School, they refused to sign a permission slip allowing it to happen again.Leila May was drug-tested once during her fifth grade year, once in sixth grade and three times as a seventh grader because Susquenita School District randomly tests students in grades five through 12 who participate in extracurricular activities and apply for parking permits.Without the … [Read more...]

“10 Photography Projects on Prisons… Recently Added to the Web”

Via PrisonCulture: ...Mae Ryan‘s series on the Community Prisoner Mother Program in Pomona, California was one of the last assignment’s she made before moving from KPCC to The Guardian. And it is stand out.Pregnant in Prison offers a look at a select group of minimum security prisoners who may live with their young children until the child turns seven years old. Mothers live with their children in rooms shared with other prisoners. During the day, children are enrolled in the on-site prescho … [Read more...]

“The Criminalization of Poverty”: Radley Balko

writes: ...NPR found that in the vast majority of America, defendants can be charged for a public defender, for their own parole and probation, the cost of a jury trial, and their stay in a jail cell. Some jurisdictions have even found ways to charge people “booking fees” after an arrest, even if the arrest never results in a criminal charge, a policy recently upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. My favorite example of this nonsense, though it isn’t in the NPR report, is … [Read more...]

“Way Too Early to Declare Victory in War Against Mass Incarceration”

from the Brennan Center, possibly via Radley Balko or PrisonCulture: It is far too early, as a matter of law, of policy, and of fact, to be talking about a “plummeting” prison rate in the United States or to be declaring that the end is in sight in the war to change the nation’s disastrous incarceration policies. There is still far too much to do, far too many onerous laws and policies to change, too many hearts and minds to reform, too many families that would have to be reunited, before anyon … [Read more...]

“A Stillborn Child Leads to a Murder Charge”: Me at AmCon

on an awful, years-long case: In 2006, 15-year-old Rennie Gibbs became pregnant. She tested positive for marijuana and cocaine during her pregnancy. Her daughter Samiya was born a month premature, with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. An autopsy on the child found traces of a cocaine byproduct, and Rennie was charged with murder—or rather, with what Mississippi calls “depraved heart murder,” signifying an especially callous crime. Gibbs’s case has wound its way through the legal syste … [Read more...]

“Parenting from Prison: The Collateral Damage of Harsh Mandatory Sentences”

from the Deseret News: ...Stephanie and her kids were on the edge of an incarceration wave that pulled in thousands of parents and hundreds of thousands of children at the end of the last century. In 1991 there were 936,500 minor children with a parent in state or federal prison. By the end of 1999, there were 1,498,800, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics — more than a 50 percent leap in less than a decade. ...But even if Stephanie was guilty as charged, her sentence would by a … [Read more...]

“He Turned 16 in Solitary Confinement”

No words: ...In 2009, I and my colleagues at Juvenile Law Center were asked to take on the case of 15-year-old T. D., who was placed in solitary confinement for 178 days while committed to the New Jersey juvenile justice system. He was initially placed in solitary out of concern for his mental health. Yes -- ironic, using solitary confinement to "help" a child with mental health and emotional issues. Troy spent the majority of this seven month period locked alone in a 7x7-foot cell that is … [Read more...]


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