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After a scandal engulfed some of L.A.’s most powerful politicians, a slate of progressive candidates is running on new approaches for tackling homelessness and mass incarceration.
Francisco Aviles Pino
But if he loses his appeal and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul declines to grant him clemency, he will likely be sent back to prison.
Blind in one eye and at risk of losing vision in the other, 58-year-old Reginald Randolph is now on the verge of being sent to state prison to serve out a maximum of four years.
Tishaura Jones wants to decriminalize offenses and transfer people out of the Workhouse. Cara Spencer wants to end the contract to house federal detainees.
A common sense cost-benefit analysis of pretrial detention.
Getting convicted of a “minor offense” inflicts serious, long-term harm. The state can and must divert more people to counseling, group meetings, or other interventions.
Sterling Higgins died in a Tennessee jail in 2019 after officers pinned him to the floor. Two new medical experts’ reports describe the incident as homicide.
In many of America’s major cities, the early efforts to reduce incarceration during the pandemic have been reversed.
The move is part of a broader criminal justice reform bill that also ends prison gerrymandering, and mandates body cameras for all police departments.
President Trump has appointed a quarter of active federal appellate judges, and they have decisively hampered legal efforts to force prisons and jails to address the coronavirus.
Legal experts say the IRS is illegally denying CARES Act payments to incarcerated people.
Jordan Michael Smith
‘As long as there’s a jail, there’s going to be police trying to put our poor folks in it,’ one activist said.
Despite early warnings, jails and prisons have seen a rapid spread of the virus—a humanitarian disaster that puts all of our communities, and lives, at risk. Every day, The Appeal examines the scale of the crisis, numbers of infected and dead, around the nation.
‘I would go to the hospital very often and they wouldn’t do anything for me.’
Peter Lucas was jailed overnight at a time when prosecutors across the country are actively working to reduce the number of people behind bars to stem the spread of COVID-19.
His attorney says the Suffolk County DA’s office tried to send “an innocent man to his death.”
Telecommunications companies that serve prisons and jails, like Securus Technologies and Global Tel Link, are offering a limited number of free calls, but families say it’s not enough.
Around one-third of counties in the United States use the tools when making release decisions, but few monitor whether they work as intended.
A wave of sensationalist press is not just coming from New York City, but also from county sheriff and city police departments frustrated by bail reform that they claim is ‘too broad.’
Adam H. Johnson
The death of 27-year-old India Cummings in 2016 garnered national media attention and a renewed push by local activists over conditions of confinement in the New York county’s jails. But the deaths haven’t stopped.
In a federal lawsuit, Hardel Sherrell’s mother accuses the staff at a Minnesota jail of allowing her son to die.
The Brooklyn Community Bail Fund said it doesn’t want to ‘prop up an unjust system.’
Young people convicted as adults face a ‘life sentence’ of registry restrictions, attorneys say.
Nearly half of all arrests in the state are drug or alcohol related, compared to just 29 percent nationally.
In 2017, Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala prosecuted more than 1,700 low-level drug possession cases. More than $2 million in court-imposed debt was levied on people who were charged in these cases.
Candidates offered reforms for people accused of low-level, nonviolent offenses, but more than half of U.S. prisoners have committed a violent crime.
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.
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.
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.
16-year-olds won’t have to reappear in adult criminal court if they’re arrested when youth court isn’t in session.
Kansas City news outlets called scores of people ‘violent criminals’ based solely on the word of police and the federal government.
The decline under DA Larry Krasner, who took office in 2018, marks a significant change in juvenile justice in Pennsylvania.
How high or low bond is isn’t a measure of how severe the state considers a crime.
The 2020 presidential candidates recently unveiled national criminal justice agendas that reimagine public safety and punishment.
A lawsuit is challenging Mohave County’s practice of charging certain people for mandatory GPS monitoring before trial.
Black Lives Matter and other advocates have pushed county officials to abandon the $2.2 billion project with McCarthy Builders.
A new report shows that a progressive approach, like the one advanced by Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, can help decrease jail populations—and crime.
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.
Phone calls between prisoners in Orange County and their lawyers were recorded and accessed. How wide the eavesdropping was remains an open question.
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.
Jose Montelongo-Morales challenged the jail’s immigration detainer policy. He and some of his family members were arrested months later.
Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler’s office, which partners with immigration enforcement, faces jail deaths and a discrimination claim from a Legal Aid attorney.
Heavy reliance on pretrial incarceration in Berks County subjects people to poor medical care and unsanitary and unsafe conditions.
Though little is known about how Layleen Polanco died, advocates say her story highlights New York City’s flawed approach to criminal justice.
A lawsuit filed by Kentrell Hurst’s children is the latest against New Orleans Sheriff Marlin Gusman over jail conditions.
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 criminalization of poverty in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, has led to a staggering increase in incarcerated people, all at a huge cost for defendants and taxpayers alike.
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.
In Pennsylvania, mothers are harshly penalized for leaving children unattended in vehicles, even for several minutes.
DA Leon Cannizzarro used jailhouse informant Ronnie Morgan to convict a man in the killing of five teenagers, but the case was overturned. Now, Morgan is petitioning for a prison transfer, reviving the murder case.
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.
A number of people spent multiple days at the Atlanta City Detention Center for low-level offenses, including for driving while using a cell phone and for walking in the roadway.
Instead of building ‘humane jails’ to replace Rikers Island, let’s push the NYPD to cut down on arrests.
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.
At Virginia’s Hampton Roads Regional Jail, reform has been slow even after high-profile tragedies including the death of mentally disabled man incarcerated who allegedly stole $5 worth of snacks.
Activists say the sheriff is trying to add jail beds under the guise of mental health treatment.
Low-income women are fueling bail industry profits—and getting harmed in the process.
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.
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.
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.
A 22-year-old woman overdosed and died in jail. A 24-year-old faces first-degree murder charges. Did the system fail them both?
A Philadelphia-born man was detained by ICE and nearly deported. The agency’s mistake was caught, but the case exposes a new collaborative program that encourages jails to hold immigrants for ICE.
There are more than 2,700 people on electronic monitoring in Cook County, Illinois, alone.
The crisis at Brooklyn’s federal jail reveals how jails and prisons ‘are not prepared for a disaster.’
A lawsuit challenging cash bail in St. Louis could help close a notorious jail.
Defense attorneys say they were unaware of the practice and are unclear on how they can expunge the data of nonconvicted clients.
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.
With Appeal contributor Raina Lipsitz
In October 2018, Marshall Miles was taken into custody by Sacramento County sheriff‘s deputies outside a convenience store. About 14 hours later, he was dead.
Harris County Judge Darrell Jordan discusses his newly elected colleagues’ decision to withdraw an appeal of a landmark bail reform lawsuit.
Cherie Townsend is suing the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department after she says they falsely imprisoned her for murder and destroyed her reputation.
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.
Trump didn’t start it, but we can end it.
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
Two women died at the Duchesne County Jail in the span of about one week in 2016. Now their families are suing in federal court.
Everyone agrees the jail at 850 Bryant should close, but it’s not yet clear what would happen to those locked inside.
Melissa Gira Grant
New York City has reduced its jail population, but those who remain are staying longer.
Muslim prisoners, meanwhile, say they were starved during Ramadan and deprived of religious texts.
A notoriously unreliable roadside drug test administered by Monroe County sheriff's deputies led to Dasha Fincher being charged with methamphetamine trafficking.
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.
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.
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.
A Texas jail suicide involving a woman who couldn’t make bail in a shoplifting case highlights of the plight of pretrial detainees with mental illness.
Few of the prisons trying to stem flow of contraband Suboxone offer substantial opioid treatment programs.
The governor is making sheriffs sign an oath promising they won't misuse funds meant to feed jail prisoners. But some sheriffs are already pushing back.
Judges are still setting bail at unaffordable levels, and more people are being held without bond.
Dozens of former detainees at the Gwinnett County jail in Georgia claim they were subjected to brutality at the hands of its Rapid Response Team.
‘Cold case’ playing cards were just introduced into Delaware prisons in hopes of producing tips on unsolved homicides—but critics warn that informants cultivated behind bars can be dangerously unreliable.
Louisiana is keeping people behind bars long after their sentences have expired, attorneys say.
Prisons carry enormous, perhaps impossible to measure social costs—but when assessing the system fiscally, reformers should focus on staffing salaries instead of the number of incarcerated people.
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.
The ‘plea fee’ stems from a state law passed in the 1980s and can cost nearly $200, depending on the county.
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
Instead of changing its conditions and practices, The Bureau of Prisons is simply moving a problem-plagued federal prison unit in Pennsylvania to Illinois.
A new report details the abysmal conditions, lack of medical care, and staff shortages that led to the unusually high death rate in East Baton Rouge Parish Prison.
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?
An email obtained by The Appeal shows Kim Ogg’s office is intentionally asking for unaffordable bail amounts to hold certain people in jail in Texas.
Grassroots group VOCAL-NY is teaching people with substance use disorder how to avoid getting ensnared in the criminal justice system.
In the wake of Nia Wilson’s murder, it’s critical that calls for justice in response to anti-Black violence are not contingent upon appeals to white-approved notions of innocence and respectability.
Taking electronic monitoring to the next level.
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
News of the victory is spreading rapidly to other cities.
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.
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.
“Jail is not a country club,” the Bristol County sheriff said. “That’s why once you’ve done time in the Bristol County House of Corrections, you won’t want to come back.”
New York's Democratic governor has granted only a trickle of commutations, fewer than many of his Democratic and Republican predecessors.
The solution to problems like unsolved homicides, especially in communities of color, cannot be reinvestment in institutions that wage violence against them.
William C. Anderson
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.
Public defenders in Charlotte say restrictions on communication hinder their ability to help jailed clients.
Alex S. Vitale