U.S. government halts federal executions; the majority of hate crimes are not prosecuted by the Department of Justice--your weekly justice news. — your weekly justice news
shocking statistics: The 2020 murder rate rose by 31% in California, the highest it’s been since 2007. Black people made up about a third of California’s homicide victims last year despite being only 6.5% of the population. Latinx people were 45% of the victims, while white people made up 16% of victims. Los Angeles Times (July 1, 2021)
overturned: Attorney General Merrick Garland reversed the Trump administration’s decision to resume federal executions last week. The DOJ, along with other federal agencies and advocacy groups, will review the policies implemented by the former AG William Barr. New York Times (July 1, 2021)
cause for concern: The gun background check system in the U.S. which is controlled by the FBI has failed to keep up with the dramatic increase in firearm sales. Over 316,000 background checks were never finished between January and September 2020. FiveThirtyEight (July 1, 2021)
pilfered: Sheriffs in California often use money from the sale of commissary goods in jails as a source of unrestricted funding; the money is intended to provide jails with education and rehabilitation resources. Governor Newsom vetoed a bill that could regulate sheriffs’ behavior last fall. The Appeal (June 30, 2021)
going public: The New Mexico Corrections Department has entered into a contract to turn Guadalupe County Correctional Facility from a private prison into a publicly operated one. This is the second private prison New Mexico has taken over since 2019. AP (July 1, 2021)
moving forward?: The U.S. senate is moving forward with bipartisan criminal justice reform that was put forth under the Trump administration. The legislation is milder than the 2018 criminal justice reform bill but could help determine President Biden’s legacy on crime. POLITICO (July 1, 2021)
systemic biases: For the past 20 years, the U.S. Department of Justice has refused to indict 82% of people alleged to have committed federal hate crimes—a prosecution rate far lower than those of other federal crimes. Reuters (July 8, 2021)
fading confidence: According to a poll done by USA Today and Ipsos Poll, 22% of Americans still believe that the police treat all people equally; 17% believe criminal justice courts and lawyers do. These percentages are over 10% lower than a 2014 poll that asked similar questions. USA Today (July 8, 2021)
nonsense: Many have offered theories about the recent rise in violent crime—including cash bail reform, but no evidence has been able to link bail reform to the increase in violent crime over the past year. CNN (July 7, 2021)
relentless: Thousands of women in the U.S are held in pretrial detention. The facilities are often unsanitary and deny women access to proper healthcare. Black and brown women are disproportionately abused by this system and the effects follow them long after release. Al Jazeera (July 7, 2021)
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