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Rates of reporting domestic violence are low in immigrant communities, where survivors of abuse often don’t want to involve the police. As an alternative, the de Blasio administration promised to fund community-based domestic violence programming—but those funds were delayed, and advocates fear programs with strong community ties may not meet the city’s requirements.
All lawmakers have a duty to use every available lever to reduce the number of people in prison, whether by compassionate release or expanded use of furloughs or some other mechanism. Taking these steps will demand immense political courage. But not doing it means consigning people—some just months away from release—to die preventable deaths.
All but nine of California’s 35 prisons house more people than the facility was designed to hold.
Juan Moreno Haines,
Police should no longer occupy all of our vital support systems in our communities.
Alex S. Vitale
Excessive force against people being arrested, falsification of evidence against suspects, and brutality by guards against prisoners — these are all just different forms of the same problem.
Through this mechanism, communities can accept accountability for the racism they allow to flourish by failing to disrupt it.
Monica C. Bell
How governors respond to this pandemic will define their legacy. They all face a choice: save lives in prisons now, or hand down potential death sentences with their inaction and watch harm ripple through communities and exacerbate inequities into future generations.
Miriam Aroni Krinsky
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.
The COVID-19 pandemic and nationwide protests over police brutality are strengthening the case against mass incarceration, advocates argue.
New data obtained through a Freedom of Information Law request paint a dire picture of New York City COVID-19 testing in its jails.
Seth J. Prins,
You can’t incarcerate a public health problem. It doesn’t make us safer. It doesn’t repair harm.
Reductions in budgets related to the novel coronavirus have slowed New York City’s plan to close Rikers by building new jails, and it’s becoming increasingly possible that the city will not meet its January 2027 deadline.
Calls to defund the police must also be accompanied with divesting power and discretion from judges.
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
The current coronavirus crisis underscores our urgent need to look hard at our pretrial justice system. Eliminating money bail is a necessary first step.
People behind bars are too often forgotten and treated as expendable. We cannot afford to forget them. Our shared survival and shared humanity demand action.
By letting people out now, we can avoid overwhelming our healthcare system with sick prisoners later.
Doing so will save countless lives, and in the process, they may show us by example how to begin, finally, to dismantle mass incarceration for good.
People are dying in jails and prisons because elected officials hesitated at the worst possible moment.
Experts are urging large-scale releases. But the Department of Justice often operates contrary to expertise.
I am trying my best to take care of myself in the midst of this pandemic, no different from you, no different from any other human being. But it’s impossible to do that at this jail.
Incarcerated people, corrections officers, and their families and communities are bound together by the threat of a deadly and fast-moving disease. The sooner we recognize this, and take decisive action, the more lives we will save.
There are no good reasons for the president to keep vulnerable people behind bars any longer.
Decisive action by governors and the President now can save lives -- of incarcerated people, correctional and medical personnel, and nearby community members. Business as usual will not.