Today’s update focuses on major outbreaks in two state prisons in tiny Buckingham County, Virginia that in June gave it one of the highest per-capita COVID-19 infection rates in the U.S.
Whet Moser Jul 15, 2020
Democrats in Congress must still their impulse to legislate restrictions on clemency. Not only would such a law be unconstitutional, but it may deter future presidents from using clemency the way that the framers intended.
Mark Osler Jul 15, 2020
Attorney General Bill Barr has scheduled executions for four people on federal death row in July and August. That’s more federal executions in one month than in the entire modern history of the federal death penalty.
Ben Cohen Jul 13, 2020
‘As long as there’s a jail, there’s going to be police trying to put our poor folks in it,’ one activist said.
Victoria Law Jun 26, 2020
Mark Zuckerberg could engage in criminal legal reform by bringing Facebook's policies in line with CZI's mission and allow people to request that their mugshot be taken down.
Sarah Esther Lageson Jun 10, 2020
We did it in San Francisco. If we are smart about how we respond to COVID-19 in the criminal legal system, then we can simultaneously tackle two crises.
Cristine Soto DeBerry May 12, 2020
Several states and the District of Columbia have postponed their bar exams because of the pandemic, creating a deadly delay for poor people in need of public defenders.
The city’s DA’s office and its public defender association urged judges to adopt video meetings to speed the release of incarcerated people. But emails obtained by The Appeal show that judges took a much more limited approach to decarceration.
Jerry Iannelli Apr 10, 2020
Experts are urging large-scale releases. But the Department of Justice often operates contrary to expertise.
Shon Hopwood Apr 08, 2020
Josie Duffy Rice and guest co-host Darnell Moore talk with Sherrilyn Ifill about policing, civil rights, the criminal justice system, and more.
Mar 25, 2020
In Boston, it’s worse than business as usual at the police department as the pandemic spreads. On a recent day, officers arrested people for charges the district attorney has publicly declined to prosecute.
Will Isenberg Mar 24, 2020
The Trump administration’s hardline immigration policies are intersecting with a highly contagious disease at a time when cities across the country are shutting down.
Liz Robbins Mar 23, 2020
One of America’s largest police forces says it’s drastically reducing the number of people it arrests during the coronavirus pandemic.
Jerry Iannelli Mar 20, 2020
Organizers have been collecting signatures as part of a ballot initiative known as State Question 805, which calls for the end of sentencing enhancements for people convicted of nonviolent crimes.
The Metropolitan Police Department has discussed reducing arrests, but it has not formally announced any policy changes.
Jon Campbell Mar 18, 2020
Josie Duffy Rice and guest co-host Darnell Moore focus on the death penalty as they talk with State Attorney Aramis Ayala of the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida.
With few exceptions, news outlets in Harris County, Texas, spotlight singular instances of crime to allege that legal reform policy is a threat to the public.
Jonathan Ben-Menachem Mar 13, 2020
I learned later than I should have what you probably already know: that it is strength not weakness to lean on somebody when you feel vulnerable and defeated and let them help you.
Dennis Sica struggled with substance use disorder and sold small amounts of heroin that prosecutors connected to overdose deaths. Because of an 1980s-era federal law, he was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
Jon Campbell Mar 05, 2020
Josie Duffy Rice and guest host Donovan X. Ramsey talk with LaTonya Tate, executive director and founder of the Alabama Justice Initiative, about probation and parole.
Mar 04, 2020
The Appeal and Oregon Justice Resource Center announce “Left Behind,” firsthand accounts of growing-up in prison from individuals sentenced as children.
Bobbin Singh Mar 03, 2020
Probation officers in the state’s 13th Judicial Circuit file thousands of violations, and they’re heard by a judge known for his harsh, punitive style.
Samantha Schuyler Feb 26, 2020
Josie Duffy and co-host Darnell Moore discuss police accountability and explain why it’s so hard for the criminal justice system to hold police accountable.
Nathaniel Woods, who was convicted in connection with the deaths of three Birmingham police officers in 2004, is ‘100 percent innocent,’ the man who shot the officers told The Appeal.
Lauren Gill Feb 24, 2020
Advocates say the narrowing field of Democratic candidates did not seize an opportunity to lay out clear visions on criminal justice reform to contrast the former New York City mayor’s record on policing.
Aaron Morrison Feb 20, 2020
In two articles, the Times asserts a ‘spike’ in crime since the passage of bail reform in New York, an increase that the articles themselves note they can’t prove.
Adam H. Johnson Feb 10, 2020
Around one-third of counties in the United States use the tools when making release decisions, but few monitor whether they work as intended.
Ethan Corey Feb 07, 2020
Elmer Daniels served nearly 40 years in prison before he was exonerated in 2018. He's one of at least three people who could receive $50,000 for every year spent behind bars.
Lauren Gill Feb 06, 2020
With Taylor Elizabeth Eldridge, a Type Investigations Ida B. Wells Fellow and Appeal contributor.
Adam H. Johnson Jan 16, 2020
Sensational headlines may score short-term partisan points, but long term they contribute to a toxic culture of Willie Hortonism.
Adam H. Johnson Dec 20, 2019
The incumbent in the race, Jones’s former boss Kim Ogg, will not support a blanket refusal to prosecute sex workers, her office says.
Kira Lerner Dec 11, 2019
In Franklin County, experts say Ron O’Brien’s capital cases—which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars— amount to ‘just taxpayer money being lit on fire.’
Joshua Vaughn Dec 05, 2019
The poor healthcare that Bobbie Jean Johnson received during her more than 40 years in prison contributed to her death, family members say.
Roxanna Asgarian Nov 25, 2019
People held in courthouse cells were shackled for up to 15 hours a day, and some were unable to eat, change menstrual pads, or use the bathroom, advocates say.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg Nov 19, 2019
The state’s parole board has recommended that Willie Mae Harris, convicted of killing her husband in 1985, be freed five times. Now 72 and completely blind, her fate lies with Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
Lauren Gill Nov 18, 2019
Two bills, awaiting Governor Andrew Cuomo’s signature, would help reduce the punitive impact of the child welfare system on kids and their families, including formerly incarcerated parents.
Nora McCarthy Nov 13, 2019
With Civil Rights Corps founder Alec Karakatsanis
Adam H. Johnson Nov 07, 2019
The mayors of New York, Chicago, and San Francisco wrap themselves in the language of progressivism, but when it comes to the criminal legal system they’re Trumpian.
Kelly Hayes Nov 04, 2019
Interim San Francisco D.A. Suzy Loftus claims to be a "progressive," but her long record as a prosecutor reveals an all-too-familiar path chosen by establishment-types who have little interest in disrupting the status quo.
Patrisse Cullors Nov 01, 2019
Criminal case files from Oakland’s seminal Riders scandal were among documents shredded by the Alameda County Superior Court in 2015.
More than three years after heavy rains and flooding devastated the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women, officials have reached an agreement to build a new facility.
Lauren Gill Oct 29, 2019
The South Bend, Indiana, mayor says his plan—which includes cutting the incarcerated population by half—will "rebalance" a system that is "unfair and racist in many ways."
Aaron Morrison Oct 26, 2019
Two years ago, the state passed ‘raise the age’ legislation that goes into effect in December. A judge’s decision regarding a teen charged in 2015 raises the possibility of relief for other young people charged since the law’s passage.
Roxanna Asgarian Oct 22, 2019
After more than two decades, Terrance Lewis was exonerated and released from prison earlier this year. He is now an advocate for other innocent people caught up in the criminal legal system.
Joshua Vaughn Oct 09, 2019
As the presidential election approaches, reformers should focus on the Prison Litigation Reform Act, which restricts the ability of incarcerated people to protest their conditions of confinement.
John Pfaff Oct 02, 2019
In March, Coley McCraney was arrested and charged with capital murder in the 1999 killings of two teenage girls. But his attorneys say he’s innocent, and are now seeking information related to alleged police involvement in the homicides.
Lauren Gill Oct 01, 2019
Miller's victim impact statement was centered in a recent '60 Minutes' segment on the Brock Turner case. But such statements do not heal victims, and Miller's unfavorable comparison of Turner's sentence to drug offenders only reinforces carceral logic.
Meaghan Ybos Sep 30, 2019
This month, nine people received commutations from life sentences, and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is calling for changes to the commutations process to give more people second chances.
Rodney Reed, set to be executed on Nov. 20, is innocent of a rape and murder, his lawyers say, and untested evidence will prove it. But prosecutors have pushed back, arguing the evidence is contaminated.
Lauren Gill Sep 26, 2019
The Washington State Patrol has added thousands of old sealed juvenile records to a database it shares with law enforcement agencies across the country—erasing for many their chance of a clean slate.
Tori Marlan Sep 24, 2019
Derek Harris awaits arguments in the state Supreme Court about the sentencing, which one judge called ‘unconscionable.’
Informants are highly motivated to lie. But jurors don’t always have the information or skills to discern the truth.
Alexandra Natapoff Sep 23, 2019
In April, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that his execution, which experts have said will be bloody and gruesome, does not amount to cruel and unusual punishment. But problems with his case started long before that, his attorneys say.
Young people convicted as adults face a ‘life sentence’ of registry restrictions, attorneys say.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg Sep 19, 2019
A narrow ruling on Brady lists ensures that protecting the police will continue to prevail over due process.
Kyle C. Barry Sep 18, 2019
Court records and interviews with former prosecutors show that internal assessments of police dishonesty are rarely memorialized, potentially violating the rights of people charged in criminal cases and sometimes keeping the records of bad cops clean.
Candidates offered reforms for people accused of low-level, nonviolent offenses, but more than half of U.S. prisoners have committed a violent crime.
Aaron Morrison Sep 13, 2019
A Pittsburgh public radio piece lacked critical reporting about the many problems with jailing children in adult facilities.
Henri Lyles is challenging his life sentence under a statute that penalizes people for prior convictions. A favorable decision by the state Supreme Court would mean that he and a dozen people sentenced to life could one day be freed.
Aaron Morrison Sep 12, 2019
The parole board failed to comply with a new law about notifying victims, the board’s director said.
Kim Ogg ran as a reform-minded district attorney candidate, but her office has sought two death warrants for Dexter Johnson, whose lawyer says cannot name everyday objects and has an IQ of 70.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg Sep 10, 2019
In a rare move, a federal court vacated Anastazia Schmid’s murder conviction, saying she’d received ineffective assistance of counsel and had been mentally unfit to stand trial. But Schmid, who’d spent 18 years in prison, remained locked up for three months more.
Victoria Law Sep 06, 2019
Police are accused of lying to obtain the warrants to conduct military-style raids on the homes of poor people and people of color.
Jose ‘Lil Joe’ Chapa says one way to make Beauregard Parish ‘great again’ is to stop construction of a new jail and divert resources to services that keep people out of lockup altogether.
Aaron Morrison Sep 05, 2019
Advocates and homeless people are suing Sacramento County over its treatment of homeless—and the city responded by filing a lawsuit against seven men for being a ‘public nuisance.‘
Meg O'Connor Sep 04, 2019
16-year-olds won’t have to reappear in adult criminal court if they’re arrested when youth court isn’t in session.
Lauren Gill Sep 03, 2019
The decline under DA Larry Krasner, who took office in 2018, marks a significant change in juvenile justice in Pennsylvania.
Joshua Vaughn Aug 30, 2019
In a civil rights lawsuit, an officer in Allentown claims he was subjected to racial discrimination before he was fired.
Joshua Vaughn Aug 29, 2019
How high or low bond is isn’t a measure of how severe the state considers a crime.
Adam H. Johnson Aug 28, 2019
A statewide pattern of discrimination in jury selection has gone largely uncorrected, while lives remain in the balance, advocates say.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg Aug 26, 2019
The 2020 presidential candidates recently unveiled national criminal justice agendas that reimagine public safety and punishment.
Aaron Morrison Aug 23, 2019
A lawsuit is challenging Mohave County’s practice of charging certain people for mandatory GPS monitoring before trial.
In 1998, prosecutors failed to tell the defense that a key witness in Toforest Johnson’s capital murder trial would receive thousands of dollars in reward money for her testimony, Johnson’s attorneys say. Now a Birmingham judge must decide whether their argument has merit.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics relies in part on states to self-report prison capacity numbers, which can result in a misleading snapshot of overcrowding in the U.S.
Corin Faife Aug 21, 2019
Media coverage obsessively focuses on homicides, which are at historical lows. Meanwhile, suicides and overdoses skyrocket, quietly driving record declines in American life expectancy.
Murder rates are at an all-time low in Brooklyn, but one would hardly know it reading the New York Times.
Adam H. Johnson Aug 16, 2019
In Valencia County, a sheriff’s deputy who once faced allegations of excessive force in Albuquerque is accused of assaulting an elderly man.
Most coverage of police raids targeting homeless people and substance users parroted official—and fraught—talking points.
Jonathan Ben-Menachem Aug 15, 2019
Children as young as 4 years old are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result, the complaints say.
Lauren Gill Aug 14, 2019
A new internal audit shows that officers disproportionately strike, tussle with, and draw guns on Black people but then fail to disclose the incidents in their reports.
Darwin BondGraham Aug 12, 2019
Black Lives Matter and other advocates have pushed county officials to abandon the $2.2 billion project with McCarthy Builders.
Lauren Gill Aug 08, 2019
A federal lawsuit claims that Palo Alto, California, police falsely detained, arrested, and beat a gay Latinx man—then boasted about their brutality.
Richard Kinder thought he would die in an Alabama prison until the Supreme Court ruled mandatory juvenile life without parole unconstitutional. But last year, despite a judge concluding there was “uncontradicted evidence” that Kinder had worked to rehabilitate himself, the state parole board refused him release.
Lauren Gill Aug 07, 2019
Gloria Williams was in her 20s when she was sent to prison for her part in a robbery that turned deadly. After serving nearly five decades, including one decade in solitary confinement, Williams now has a chance at freedom.
Victoria Law Aug 06, 2019
Last year, lawmakers repealed the felony murder rule, which allowed prosecutors to charge defendants with murders they didn‘t commit. Prosecutors are trying to overturn the new law, but AG Xavier Becerra believes that the reform should stand.
Darwin BondGraham Aug 05, 2019
When it comes to criminal justice, advocates say, Attorney General Josh Shapiro seems intent on maintaining the status quo.
Joshua Vaughn Aug 02, 2019
In 2016, Madison Jensen died from opiate withdrawal at the Duchesne County jail. New court filings allege that jail staff, including its nurse, ignored her rapidly deteriorating health.
Establishment candidate Melinda Katz declared a narrow victory in the New York City borough’s district attorney primary, but progressive Tiffany Cabán pushed the race to the left on issues like marijuana and sex work.
Aaron Morrison Jul 30, 2019
In California, Texas and Florida, advocates sent letters to district attorneys, demanding that they refuse to work with officers with histories of misconduct.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg Jul 29, 2019
Offices across the state conduct operations under the guise of saving victims of human trafficking. But the vast majority of people detained, including sex workers, are charged with prostitution.
Molly Minta Jul 25, 2019
Police in Ozark said they solved the 1999 murders of two teenage girls using a genealogy database. But Coley McCraney‘s attorneys say that the case against their client is far from certain.
An organizer in the effort to close New York City’s Rikers Island jails is challenging Cyrus Vance Jr., whom he calls ‘the city’s leading jailer.’
The backlash is underway against a recent wave of prosecutors who champion criminal justice reform. Here are some methods of attack.
The carceral system fails to heal victims and perpetuates trauma by caging human beings. It‘s time to try something else.
Stefanie Mundhenk Jul 18, 2019
A California Superior Court ruling gives officers accused of misconduct access to investigator notes and files while cases are in progress.
Sensational and false news reports about the drug are pushing lawmakers to enact harmful policies.
Four transgender women say clinicians and staff deny them gender-affirming care and see their identity as in conflict with sex offender treatment.
Sessi Kuwabara Blanchard Jul 15, 2019
Outlets ran over 200 articles covering the vandalism. The outsize attention will likely damage young lives.
Adam H. Johnson Jul 11, 2019
Republican Mike Dunleavy was elected on a platform to ‘Make Alaska Safe Again’ and has rolled back recent changes.
ABC News claims anti-police violence is on the rise but offers no data.
Police and prosecutors framed a father of four in a 2007 murder case with local and national political implications.
In rhetoric reminiscent of the ‘superpredator‘ scare of the 1990s, the New Orleans District Attorney warned of ‘a brazen population of delinquent teens.‘ But advocates and crime analysts alike say the data doesn't support his fearmongering claims about kids and crime.
Mike Hayes Jun 27, 2019
The police union’s newly elected vice president led the investigation into the shooting that cleared Officer William Gourley of any wrongdoing.
Darwin BondGraham Jun 21, 2019
As the Hampton Roads Regional Jail proposes spending $7 million for 113 new guards, advocates renew calls for officials to improve conditions—and an Appeal analysis suggests that the jail could save millions by incarcerating fewer people with mental illness.
The popularity of Axon’s tech soared after the police killing of Michael Brown in 2014, but it may be doing more harm than good in protecting people from excessive force.
Jonathan Ben-Menachem Jun 10, 2019
Records show Kim Ogg’s office appeared to misrepresent felony prosecutor caseloads in its $21 million budget request.
The sensationalist coverage of a handful of fights highlights local media’s misplaced priorities.
Adam H. Johnson Jun 07, 2019
Court challenges and a sweeping reform bill are offering hope to men trapped in isolation for decades.
Joshua Manson Jun 03, 2019
City officials say its vast network of cameras are simply a tool when responding to 911 calls and complaints of criminal activity. But several cases suggest the system serves an additional purpose.
Since 2017, LaToni Daniel has been incarcerated pretrial in a capital murder case. During that time, Daniel became pregnant, and she just delivered a baby boy. But as she brings in new life, she also faces the death penalty.
Lauren Gill May 31, 2019
With Caroline Isaacs of the American Friends Service Committee
Adam H. Johnson May 30, 2019
Chicago hands out millions in settlements and legal fees for police misconduct. Its newly inaugurated mayor should take a dollar from the department’s budget for every dollar the city spends settling with its victims.
Jonathan Ben-Menachem May 29, 2019
Newly released records show that task force members faced allegations of theft and questionable overtime, all under the watch of a commander later fired for lying as the misconduct was investigated.
Darwin BondGraham May 23, 2019
U.S. attorneys in D.C. have opposed the resentencing of all 14 people who have petitioned for early release under a local law.
Despite accounting for less than 12 percent of the state’s adult population, roughly 40 percent of all bail bonds were issued in cases involving a Black defendant.
Joshua Vaughn May 22, 2019
Prisoners can shave time off their sentences by participating in shock incarceration programs. More than a dozen former shock prisoners say that comes at a steep cost.
Keri Blakinger May 21, 2019
Trooper testimony inconsistent with video and misconduct among state and local law enforcement in New Hampshire and Massachusetts have caused at least 15 drug cases to unravel.
Zachary A. Siegel May 20, 2019
A former Baltimore officer says the Hopkins plan should be viewed skeptically because campus police have a history of deadly force and its officials come from troubled Baltimore Police units.
Larry Smith May 16, 2019
New York City just paid Jose LaSalle of the Copwatch Patrol Unit nearly $900,000 over claims of false arrest related to the 2016 incident, but his fight for justice is far from over.
Ashoka Jegroo May 09, 2019
In a case of mistaken identity, Jada Noone was arrested by Pennsylvania State Police, spent 15 days in jail and faced a felony drug case before charges were dismissed. She’s now suing over her false arrest.
Joshua Vaughn May 07, 2019
Rashad McNulty entered a guilty plea in a series of federal gang indictments in New York that have been criticized as racist and overly punitive. But before McNulty was even sentenced, he died in jail. Now, his family is seeking justice.
Aaron Morrison May 01, 2019
Antonio May, a 32 year-old father of three, died in the Fulton County Jail in September after deputies pepper-sprayed and shot him with a Taser.
Aaron Morrison Apr 25, 2019
After a drug bust involving Houston narcotics officer Gerald Goines turned deadly, questions are being raised about how he operated during his time on the force.
Mike Hayes Apr 23, 2019
Police union lawsuits delayed many local governments from complying with a new transparency law. In the meantime, some cities have destroyed files.
Darwin BondGraham Apr 17, 2019
In 2018, Brittany Smith killed a man who she said brutally raped her. Smith was charged with murder and she now faces life in prison as well as challenges getting adequate treatment at a state psychiatric hospital.
In 2000, Lamar Burks was convicted of murder and given a 70-year sentence. But the federal indictment of a DEA agent and witnesses who say Burks is innocent have raised new questions about his case.
Mike Hayes Apr 03, 2019
Attorneys for a man exonerated in a Baltimore murder say detectives suppressed exculpatory evidence and that the police’s homicide unit has a pattern and practice of similar conduct in decades of cases.
Amelia McDonell-Parry Apr 02, 2019
Attorneys and advocates call for change in Madison County after the deaths of three Black people at its jail and because of what they allege is a system of roadblocks targeting Black residents.
Aaron Morrison Mar 27, 2019
A scandal of falsified drug arrests is spreading at a Florida sheriff’s office that has also spent more than $1.33 million settling excessive force lawsuits and is at the center of the increasingly troubled Robert Kraft case.
Meg O'Connor Mar 26, 2019
In the deep blue home of Beto O’Rourke, attorneys and advocates are questioning the county’s multi-million-dollar contract to detain migrants and refugees.
Debbie Nathan Mar 20, 2019
Their claims are part of a federal lawsuit; other women say they, too, were assaulted and the officer now faces a raft of criminal charges.
Joshua Vaughn Mar 19, 2019
In 2017, over 2,000 homeless people were arrested on charges including drinking in public and panhandling. That same year, roughly 1,400 people were arrested in Miami-Dade County for rape, murder, and robbery.
Meg O'Connor Mar 18, 2019
The Bureau of Prisons’ South Central regional director utilized incarcerated people from a Texas prison to work on a landscaping project at his church.
Lauren Gill Mar 12, 2019
Audia Jones pledges to tackle ‘brokenness in the system’ by unseating Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg.
Roxanna Asgarian Mar 07, 2019
A judge excluded a confession that exonerated defendants in one trial related to a Delaware prison uprising, but a pair of defendants were nonetheless acquitted, promising further problems for prosecutors.
Ella Fassler Mar 05, 2019
In April 2018, Herman Bell was paroled after spending 45 years in prison in a case involving the shooting deaths of two police officers. Now, New York police unions and the widow of one of the slain officers are challenging the decision in court.
Victoria Law Feb 26, 2019
Jason Van Dyke’s sentence for the 2014 murder of Laquan McDonald is approximately half the average sentence for a person convicted of second-degree murder in Cook County, Illinois.
Rob Arthur Feb 25, 2019
Senate Bill 1421 requires law enforcement agencies to make public investigative records of officer-involved shootings and uses of force resulting in great bodily harm. But law enforcement unions argue that the law threatens the privacy of their members.
Darwin BondGraham Feb 20, 2019
Josie and Clint talk to Cook County's head prosecutor.
William J. Richards was cleared in the death of his wife. But he says he was the victim of medical neglect while he was behind bars, which led to a cancer diagnosis becoming terminal. Now he's suing.
Erika Stallings Feb 19, 2019
Josie and Clint discuss the power and pitfalls of crime reporting with Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post.
Colorado-based attorney and bail activist Elisabeth Epps was just released after serving a short jail stint related to a 2015 encounter with Aurora Police. The experience gave her a new understanding of the experiences of the people she has bailed out.
Aaron Morrison Feb 12, 2019
A former Baltimore Police officer says it’s time for the department to stop wasteful, harmful marijuana arrests, especially after Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby’s announcement that her office would not prosecute cases of possession.
Larry Smith Feb 11, 2019
In 1996, Michele Benjamin was sentenced to life without parole for killing a man who she said solicited her for sex and menaced her with a weapon in New Orleans. A Supreme Court decision led her to be re-sentenced to life with a chance at parole in 2016. Today, a parole hearing brings the possibility of freedom.
A Florida woman with substance use disorder allegedly brokered a drug sale that ended in a fatal overdose; she faces 15 years in prison.
Zachary A. Siegel Feb 05, 2019
California amended its felony murder law, which holds accomplices responsible for murder. But reform won’t reach a man sentenced to death in a deadly robbery—even though he was never accused of firing a shot.
Maura Ewing Feb 04, 2019
As Kamala Harris begins her presidential run, her move to block gender affirming surgery for an incarcerated transgender woman deserves scrutiny, especially as new cases highlighting the struggle for the rights of imprisoned trans women emerge.
Zoé Samudzi Jan 28, 2019
Los Angeles County’s jail system incarcerates tens of thousands of people at a multi-billion dollar cost. The communities most impacted by mass incarceration have had enough.
Under Pennsylvania’s drug delivery resulting in death statute, a man faces up to 40 years in prison for sharing heroin with a woman who overdosed.
Joshua Vaughn Jan 15, 2019
Prosecutors denounce bail reform efforts when people miss court dates, but ‘failure to appear’ rates obscure the fact that many who miss court aren’t on the run.
Prisoners in the state’s Regional Medical Units allege that they are being denied access to essential programs and services like law libraries.
Keri Blakinger Jan 08, 2019
The Boyd County Detention Center has been consumed in chaos, even as the DOJ investigates it. Now, the community is pinning hopes for reform on a new jailer.
Zachary A. Siegel Jan 02, 2019
A series of electoral victories signals a nationwide shift.
Daniel Nichanian Dec 24, 2018
But more than 1,100 others are still serving sentences that voters decided were too harsh.
Kira Lerner Dec 19, 2018
Advocates say victims are being pressured to sign ‘withdrawal’ forms to quickly close investigations and protect the department from legal liability.
Meg O'Connor Dec 17, 2018
Darius Jacob Taylor wasn’t in the state when a robbery he was allegedly involved with ended in murder. But because of the felony murder rule, he’s charged with criminal homicide and faces life imprisonment.
Joshua Vaughn Dec 13, 2018
Advocates say the city has dragged its feet on legislation meant to ensure transparency on the police practice, and that data released so far—from 2010 to 2016, nearly 82 percent of stops involved Black people—signals that it’s time to end stop-and-frisk entirely.
Ella Fassler Dec 03, 2018
Attorneys for a Honduran woman are suing over the widespread jailhouse practice of honoring ICE requests to hold incarcerated immigrants for pickup.
A notoriously unreliable roadside drug test administered by Monroe County sheriff's deputies led to Dasha Fincher being charged with methamphetamine trafficking.
Lauren Gill Nov 27, 2018
In 2016 and 2017, more than 80 percent of children charged as adults by the Allegheny County district attorney were Black.
Even though it’s unlikely that they commit sexual assault at higher rates than other ethnic or racial groups, nearly one of every 100 Black men is on a sex offender registry, a rate double that of white men.
Debbie Nathan Nov 15, 2018
The city’s experiment with civil asset forfeiture was supposed to end, but the practices of its parking agency and some in state law enforcement suggest that police may be turning to other forms of property confiscation.
Ryan Briggs Nov 14, 2018
Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins’s promise to decline to prosecute several offenses is a rejection of the punitive tradition of prosecutors and perhaps signals a new kind of reform that spurns criminal justice as a solution to public health problems.
Advocates say that Sheriff Donnie Harrison is unfit for a fifth term because of such abusive practices as well as his office's cooperation with ICE.
George Joseph Nov 02, 2018
Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins seeks a fourth term as critics blast him for a record that includes poor jail conditions, in-custody suicides, and the deaths of two young people at the hands of his deputies.
Raven Rakia Oct 31, 2018
In Santa Clara County, incarcerated people, and a former undersheriff challenging six-term sheriff Laurie Smith, have turned conditions of confinement into a potent electoral issue.
Victoria Law Oct 29, 2018
Decision-making by prosecutors in such cases, says one attorney, ‘compounds, entrenches, and ultimately authorizes the initial act of violence by prosecuting the victim.’
Aviva Stahl Oct 24, 2018
Campus police forces have become more professionalized, but critics say they operate behind a veil of secrecy and often exceed their jurisdiction.
Ryan Briggs Oct 15, 2018
With Appeal contributor Katie Rose Quandt.
Adam H. Johnson Oct 04, 2018
Protesters blasting everything from punitive prosecutors to police brutality should be remembered for their role in upsetting the Windy City's political status quo.
Kelly Hayes Oct 02, 2018
A lawsuit brought by a Compton resident detailing an alleged beating by deputies is just one of nearly three dozen federal civil rights lawsuits alleging brutality and racial bias at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Since 2015, police in Adams County have taken dozens of reports of rape, yet charges were filed in just two cases.
Joshua Vaughn Sep 25, 2018
This fall, however, an initiative goes to voters that would change the law on deadly force by the police, which has led to no officer there being convicted of wrongfully killing someone in the line of duty in more than 30 years.
Mike Faulk Sep 20, 2018
With activist and scholar Danny Murillo.
Adam H. Johnson Sep 13, 2018
Jeffery Parker was shot to death by a police officer in his Huntsville home. A grand jury handed up an indictment for murder, but the mayor and City Council appear to be throwing their support behind the officer.
Lauren Gill Sep 10, 2018
Legislation in California would provide a direct route to resentencing, and a new tool for activists.
Kyle C. Barry Sep 07, 2018
Attorney General Jeff Landry has taken a number of extreme positions on policing and sentencing in response to reform.
Kira Lerner Sep 06, 2018
Jacqueline Smalls was sentenced to 15 years in prison for killing a boyfriend whose ‘hands were his weapons.’ She now joins the ranks of criminalized survivors seeking clemency from Governor Cuomo.
Victoria Law Sep 05, 2018
The state’s “theft of leased property” statute allows prosecutors to seek felony charges for Pennsylvanians who miss payments on rental items.
After Tuesday’s primary victories for reform candidates, defining a progressive agenda for prosecutors is more pressing than ever. Rashad Robinson joins Josie and Clint.
Now in its second week, a strike staged by prisoners over poor conditions, low wages, and other issues is resulting in consequences, including harsh conduct reports and placements in solitary confinement.
Raven Rakia Aug 31, 2018
The ‘plea fee’ stems from a state law passed in the 1980s and can cost nearly $200, depending on the county.
Joshua Vaughn Aug 29, 2018
Before Edgar Coker was exonerated in a rape case, he underwent therapy meant to prevent sexual reoffenses. Thousands of kids involved in sexual offenses are forced into therapies like “relapse prevention” that experts say are ineffective.
Joseph Darius Jaafari Aug 27, 2018
Jacqueline Dixon shot her husband to death in Alabama, "Stand Your Ground" state, after she said he charged at her. He had a history of domestic violence.
William C. Anderson Aug 23, 2018
After the Gun Trace Task Force scandal rocked the police department, plainclothes policing was spurned. But a recently resigned commissioner championed plainclothes units, a decision the department seems to be sticking with.
Larry Smith Aug 22, 2018
Instead of changing its conditions and practices, The Bureau of Prisons is simply moving a problem-plagued federal prison unit in Pennsylvania to Illinois.
Victoria Law Aug 21, 2018
Several candidates are vying to become Milwaukee Sheriff in the wake of Sheriff David Clarke's resignation last fall. But will they truly spurn his legacy of jail deaths and cooperation with ICE?
Raven Rakia Aug 10, 2018
His opponent in Tuesday’s primary helped establish new police accountability and court reforms in Ferguson after the police shooting of Michael Brown.
Amanda Sakuma Aug 06, 2018
In one Pennsylvania county, more than three times as many people on the registry were charged in 2016 with failing to follow registry requirements than were charged with a new sexual offense
Joshua Vaughn Aug 01, 2018
A podcast from The Appeal, featuring Josie Duffy Rice and Clint Smith III.
A community group met with the Bastrop County sheriff in an effort to build trust between the sheriff’s office and the immigrant community. Then, the sheriff ran a sting that led to more than one dozen arrestees being handed over to ICE.
Michael Arria Jul 31, 2018
Prosecutors on the "J20" case faced grave allegations of misconduct after withholding exculpatory evidence contained in videos from defense attorneys. But this is far from the first time that this office has found itself in hot water.
Catina Curley suffered physical abuse at the hands of her husband for more than a decade. When she turned a revolver on him, she was charged with murder and sentenced to life. Now, thanks to a court ruling, she has a chance at freedom.
Josie Duffy Rice Jul 27, 2018
Groups like the Loop and DanceSafe test drugs like Ecstasy and warn users of high dosages and adulterants, but federal legislation from the early 2000s has live music promoters wary of their brand of harm reduction.
Zachary A. Siegel Jul 25, 2018
Introducing a new podcast from The Appeal, featuring Josie Duffy Rice and Clint Smith III.
York County resident Aaron Hinds overdosed on heroin with a friend. The friend died, and Hinds now faces a 'drug delivery resulting in death' charge and a 40-year prison sentence.
Joshua Vaughn Jul 24, 2018
A onetime gang liaison for the Baltimore Police Department writes that its database is racist and error-ridden.
Larry Smith Jul 23, 2018
In jurisdictions across the country, people incarcerated before they've ever been convicted of a crime are charged a daily fee just for sitting in jail—and several courts have ruled that the practice is legal.
Steven Hale Jul 20, 2018
Legislation passed in Massachusetts and pending in California would set a minimum age for children to enter the juvenile justice system.
Jeremy Loudenback Jul 17, 2018
With William C. Anderson, journalist and co-author of As Black As Resistance.
Adam H. Johnson Jul 12, 2018
In overdose-wracked Franklin County, Pennsylvania, a small-time dealer is denied bail, while the number of drug induced homicide cases has skyrocketed.
Joshua Vaughn Jul 09, 2018
A Pennsylvania hate crime statute is being used by law enforcement to punish angry arrestees.
Joshua Vaughn Jun 28, 2018
As voters begin to realize that prosecutors in the world's most incarcerated nation may not be the best people to run the government, the era of the prosecutor politician could be on its way out.
With journalists Raven Rakia and Ashoka Jegroo.
Adam H. Johnson Jun 15, 2018
Kim Kardashian's successful campaign to free a 63-year-old grandmother serving a life sentence in a drug case is a reminder that we need to go big on clemency. A 52-year-old grandfather named Euka Wadlington, also doing life in a drug case, would be a great place to start.
Years after two landmark Supreme Court rulings, prosecutors in Louisiana are still overwhelmingly seeking life sentences for children.
Victoria Law Jun 13, 2018
The judge who sentenced Brock Turner brought much-needed compassion to the bench, says public defender Sajid Khan.
Paul DeBenedetto Jun 11, 2018
Walliris Velez thought the worst was behind her after she was slashed in a subway car, but then came an arrest and an attempted murder charge by the Bronx DA.
Across the state, most incumbents successfully fended off progressive challengers during the June 5 primary.
Max Rivlin-Nadler Jun 06, 2018
With Josie Duffy Rice, senior staff reporter at The Appeal.
Adam H. Johnson May 31, 2018
But the witness may have flipped again, leaving the future of the conviction up in the air.
Her former partner assaulted her in her home. When the police arrived, she was arrested and he walked free.
Emma Whitford Feb 26, 2018
For those of us who believe our “justice” system must be transformed, moments such as this one are a test of conviction.
A little-known New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision policy has limited access to books in at least nine prisons for years.
Rebecca McCray Jan 11, 2018
In Justice Today invited leading thinkers in criminal justice reform to answer the question, “2018 is the year….” This is what they said.
Philadelphia implemented the “focused deterrence” model of gang policing, which includes the promise of critical social services. The reality is much different.
Maura Ewing Dec 21, 2017
Faith Johnson’s recent indictment of a Mesquite police officer for shooting an innocent man follows years of work by community activists.
Anquan Boldin, DeAndre Levy, Tobias Harris, Anthony Tolliver, Stan Van Gundy
Public defenders in Charlotte say restrictions on communication hinder their ability to help jailed clients.
Jessica Brand Dec 14, 2017
Why Execution Numbers Continue To Fall Off A Cliff
Lee Kovarsky Dec 07, 2017
“We have the power to replace these people.”
Maura Ewing Dec 05, 2017
Alameda County Superior Court reversed license suspensions for 54,000 people who were punished for their inability to pay fines.
Rebecca McCray Dec 04, 2017
Under District Attorney Steve Wolfson, prosecutors in Las Vegas have led the nation in new death sentences, repeatedly engaged in racist jury selection, and maintained a secret bank account to pay witnesses for their testimony in criminal cases.
Dec 01, 2017
State law makes it easier to throw Brown away than consider traumas youth face and offer them hope of rehabilitation.
Fifteen men had their tainted convictions vacated by State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office, but this isn’t the norm when it comes to prosecutors.
Rebecca McCray Nov 29, 2017
“Kiss your boyfriend goodbye.”
Carimah Townes Nov 27, 2017
The five states that have done away with commercial bond outlets still struggle with inequity when it comes to cash bail.
Rebecca McCray Nov 22, 2017
A new app seeks to liberate people from more than “liberal malaise.”
Rebecca McCray Nov 15, 2017
In Justice Roundup is my weekly debrief rounding up the justice news you need to know.
Shaun King Nov 14, 2017
The majority of people who face misdemeanor charges remain behind bars just because they are poor
Larry Hannan Oct 27, 2017
Will the state with the second highest incarceration rate get its act together?
The City Controller’s report calls on the DA’s office to “dismantle the current cash bail system”
Larry Hannan Oct 26, 2017
A law that results in disproportionate arrests and prosecutions of black and Latino New Yorkers will stand.
Alameda and Santa Clara County jail detainees round out the first week of a hunger strike for better conditions.
Rebecca McCray Oct 20, 2017
Criminal charges are absent from 85 percent of all forfeiture cases in the city.
A movement to oust Cyrus Vance gains steam.
Oct 19, 2017
A local solution to a national problem.
Memphis critic says Juvenile Court Judge’s resistance to reforms has ‘emasculated’ Department of Justice
Wendi C. Thomas Oct 05, 2017
The decision was unanimous.
Carimah Townes Sep 21, 2017
Activists in New York City are engaging in profound acts of resistance against over-policing in the subways. Politicians are listening, but are they really hearing them?
Jocelyn Simonson Aug 30, 2017
District attorneys want to keep an outdated system alive.