Tag Archives: criminal justice reform

The First Step Act: It Needs to be the First Step

By Jules Hayer Associate Editor, Vol. 24 On December 21, 2018 the President signed into law the First Step Act. The First Step Act is a criminal justice reform bill that decreases mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses, modifies … Continue reading

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What the Passage of Michigan’s Proposal One Means for Black and Latinx People

By Elizabeth Morales-Saucedo Associate Editor, Vol. 24 On November 6, 2018, 56% of Michigan voters supported the passage of Proposal One approving the legalization of recreational use and possession of marijuana by persons 21 and older.[1] Michigan is the tenth … Continue reading

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California’s Efforts to Reform Bail Leaves Much to be Desired

By Jules Hayer Associate Editor, Vol. 24 Despite recent developments in California to overhaul the bail system, the state still has a long way to go in order to create effective change. In January of this year the California Court … Continue reading

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The End of Mass Incarceration: A Blueprint for Transformative Change

By Rasheed Stewart Associate Editor, Vol. 23 He sued the Philadelphia Police Department over 75 times.[1]  As a career civil rights and criminal defense attorney he routinely represented individuals subjected to the oppressive forces of racism pervading law enforcement and … Continue reading

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Undoing Past Wrongs: Chipping Away at Capital Punishment

By Hira Baig Associate Editor, Volume 23 The vast majority of countries, 140 to be exact, consider the death penalty cruel and unusual punishment.[1]  The current constitution of Germany, for example, forbids use of capital punishment.[2] Lawyer and activist Bryan Stevenson … Continue reading

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Clearing the Smoke: Marijuana Reform is a Racial Justice Issue

By David Bergh Associate Editor, Volume 23 Over the past few decades there has been a sea change in the American public’s attitude towards marijuana prohibition. In 1990 only 16% of the US public supported legalization, and 81% were opposed. … Continue reading

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Rethinking Death Penalty Reform: The Case Against Death-qualified Juries

By Anonymous Associate Editor

Since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty through Gregg in 1976, racial bias has continued to pervade its administration.[1] 34.5% of defendants executed have been Black and 55.6% have been white,[2] despite the fact that only 13.3% of people in the U.S. identify as Black, while 77.1% identify as white.[3]  I consider myself an abolitionist regarding the death penalty, as I do not think that it is justified for the state to kill a citizen in any circumstance. However, given these alarming statistics and the dire situation they illuminate, I find that efforts to reform the capital process to reduce racial disparity are also worthwhile. Reformers would do well to focus on the elimination of the death qualification process, as well as Eighth Amendment and Batson challenges to the death penalty. Continue reading

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Comparing the Goals of the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program and Criminal Law Reform Project to Hillary Clinton’s Criminal Justice Reform Platform

By Claire Nagel Associate Editor, Vol. 22 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has made racial justice and criminal justice reform central issues in her campaign. During the first presidential debate on September 26th, Secretary Clinton responded to a question about how … Continue reading

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Fear of United States police officers causes one Black man to seek asylum in Canada

By Breanna Caldwell Associate Editor, Vol. 21 Kyle Lydell Canty is a 30-year-old Black male from the United States who has become so fearful that he will be killed by U.S. police officers because he is Black that he has … Continue reading

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