BOP unforgiving to incarcerated people seeking compassionate release during the pandemic; Alton Sterling’s family receives a $4.5M settlement five years after his death — your weekly justice news
potential progress: New York voted to set 12-years-old as the minimum age of arrest, an important step for juvenile justice. These children would be redirected to mental health or child welfare services. If Cuomo signs the bill, New York will be the fourth state to ban arrests of children under 12. The Imprint (June 11, 2021)
bleak: Incarcerated people sought compassionate release as the pandemic raged behind bars. Most of the time the Bureau of Prisons rejected these requests, and if people were eventually granted release, it was from judges overriding the BOP. The Marshall Project (June 11, 2021)
appalling: There is a systemic problem in how police officers treat people with physical or mental disabilities. This issue was called into light in Loveland, Colorado after officers injured an elderly woman with dementia and mocked her arrest. KHN (June 15, 2021)
paused?: Attorneys urge a South Carolina judge to block impending executions of two men to evaluate the constitutionality of a new law that forces people to choose between electric chair or firing squad. These men were sentenced under an old statue where lethal injection was the default. Herald Sun (June 8, 2021)
set up to fail: Pasco County’s “intelligence-led” policing program targeted Robert Jones’ son; officers used records of previous interactions with law enforcement to predict that his son would be a troublemaker. This type of policing targets adolescents and fuels the school-to-prison pipeline. NBC (June 6, 2021)
price of death: Five years after Alton Sterling was fatally shot in Baton Rouge, his family will receive a $4.5M settlement; this money will help provide for Sterling’s children. Neither officer involved in the shooting was charged, but the department enacted significant policy changes. Washington Post (June 12, 2021)
cyclical: Reforms to target policing characterized by racial profiling and a lack of accountability have been around for over 30 years, but little quantifiable progress has actually been made. Data shows that police return to these practices when not overly scrutinized. The Washington Post (June 10, 2021)
duplicitous: Before he was mayor, Bill de Blasio outlined reform for the country’s biggest police department and pledged that the NYPD could not oversee itself. But after becoming mayor, de Blasio worked to soften police criticism and ignored civilian requests for support. ProPublica (June 11, 2021)
seeking retribution: A Milwaukee Co. supervisor has sued the city on claims that law enforcement violated his civil rights at a police brutality protest last year. He seeks damages for injuries he suffered and wants to discourage public officials from issuing curfews during future protests. Daily Union (June 5, 2021)
misplaced aspirations: Prisons in small towns like Tecumseh, Nebraska used to be seen as an opportunity for jobs, population growth, and business investment. These hopes were unfulfilled, and 20 years after a maximum-security prison was built in Tecumseh, it is seen as more of a burden than a boon. The Marshall Project (June 10, 2021)
progress?: In May 2021, Minnesota passed the Healthy Start Act, which allows incarcerated mothers to stay with their newborn children outside of prison in a community alternative. This is the first bill of its kind in the US and is an important step in support for pregnant women in prison. Critics say mothers should not be incarcerated in any way. The 19th (June 11, 2021)
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COVID-19 resources: State policy changes. News. Bureau of Prisons updates. State court changes. Prison holistic self care and protection.
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