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Black neighborhoods in Baltimore subjected to brutal over-policing; three officers in Arizona die of COVID-19 within a week — your weekly justice news

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unreasonable: Physical mail was a necessity while prisons and jails restricted or banned visitation during the pandemic. But some correctional facilities are looking to digitize all personal mail—and even make incarcerated people pay for printouts. Slate (August 9, 2021)

over-policed: Police in predominantly Black Baltimore neighborhoods stop cars more often than in predominantly white areas. Many have also reported arbitrary searches and excessive use of force. The Real News (August 9, 2021)

falling short: 2018’s First Step Act intended to provide lifesaving medication in cases of opioid addiction or overdose. However, prison bureaucracy and stigma surrounding substance abuse disorders has deterred incarcerated people from getting the access to these medications. The Marshall Project (august 10, 2021)

disturbing truth: When Willie Andrew Jones, Jr., a 21-year-old Black man from Mississippi, was found hanging in his girlfriend’s yard in 2018, it was ruled a suicide. His mother Tammy Townsend, however, has good reason to believe her son was actually lynched by his white girlfriend’s racist family. The Washington Post (August 8, 2021)

questionable: The Alabama Department of Corrections has refused to detail its system of nitrogen hypoxia executions or its timeline for developing a protocol for the new method. Alabama is only the third state to authorize the use of nitrogen hypoxia for executions. AP (August 10, 2021)

failure to protect: Sheriff’s deputies in San Diego ignored clear signs of Joseph Morton’s mental health issues, despite warnings that he intended to commit suicide. A review panel declared that there is not enough evidence to prove misconduct or procedural violation on officials’ behalf. The San Diego Union Tribune (August 9, 2021)

unacceptable: Though reforms targeting juvenile justice in South Dakota have gone a long way to keep young white people out of detention centers, youth of color have not benefited in the same way and many are still being locked away without access to the help they need. Black Hills Pioneer (August 7, 2021)

a bigger web: A conspiracy to kidnap Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer was revealed to be part of a larger plot to attack other high-profile politicians like the Ohio governor. This information helps to clear the FBI of entrapment accusations against the five men involved. The Detroit News (August 9, 2021)

distressing: Police departments in Arizona mourn the loss of three officers from COVID-19 in less than a week. Matthew Hefter, one of the men who recently passed, urged his fellow officers to get the vaccine but as of last week only 34% of officers in Phoenix Police Department are vaccinated  ABC15 (August 11, 2021)  

troubling trend: Across the country, suicides in prisons have been on the rise for years. Many are worried that the conditions during the pandemic, as well as staff shortages, have made things worse for many incarcerated people. Data about prison suicides won’t be available until next year. The Marshall Project (August 12, 2021)


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