Blog of Rights

Inimai
Chettiar
Inimai Chettiar is an Advocacy & Policy counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union, where she serves as a national legislative counsel working to end mass incarceration in states across the country. She has published extensive scholarship on using economic analysis to advance progressive legal reform. She received a B.A. from Georgetown University and a J.D. from the University of Chicago School of Law.

ACLU Joins Right on Crime, Prison Ministries, Bipartisan Legislators, and the ABA to Prioritize Criminal Justice Reform

By Inimai Chettiar, ACLU at 2:45pm
On Friday, I joined legislators and lawyers from all sides of the political spectrum to help launch the American Bar Association's (ABA) initiative to "Save States Money, Reform Criminal Justice, and Keep the Public Safe." I spoke about the urgent need for smart reforms to our criminal justice system — alongside members of Right on Crime (a conservative group led by Newt Gingrich), district attorneys, chief justices, and Mark Earley (former Republican Virginia Attorney General and CEO of faith-based Prison Fellowship Ministries).

A Disturbing New Trend: Jailing Poor Black Mothers for Trying to Educate Their Children

By Courtney Bowie, Racial Justice Program & Inimai Chettiar, ACLU at 6:24pm

In a case very similar to one in Akron, Ohio, we wrote about a few months ago, a Connecticut homeless woman is currently facing felony charges for enrolling her 5-year-old son in a Norwalk elementary school by using her babysitter's address. …

Harry's Law's Primetime Shout-Out for Criminal Law Reform

By Inimai Chettiar, ACLU & Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 5:06pm

While flipping channels on Monday night, we were pleased to stumble across NBC's new show, Harry's Law. The pilot episode features a bored Harriet "Harry" Korn (played by Kathy Bates), who opens her own criminal defense firm after she's…

Sing it, Newt! Gingrich and Allies Promote Criminal Justice Reform

By Inimai Chettiar, ACLU & Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 4:57pm

It might seem hard to find something the left and right agree on these days, but we're thrilled to see both sides of the political spectrum reaching an important consensus when it comes to our country's correctional system. As a non-partisan organization,…

The Legacy of Derrick Bell

By Courtney Bowie, Racial Justice Program & Inimai Chettiar, ACLU at 4:50pm

The following is an excerpt from a longer article appearing on ACSblog:

Professor Derrick Bell, who passed away on Wednesday, was a racial justice pioneer and teacher who enlightened many. His actions spoke as loudly as his words and influence…

Ohio Mother Granted Clemency after Being Prosecuted for Sending Her Child to the Wrong School

By Geoff Schotter, ACLU & Inimai Chettiar, ACLU at 4:55pm

In January, we wrote about the particularly disturbing case of Kelley Williams-Bolar, an African-American single mother convicted of two felonies and facing prison time because she used her father's address on a school enrollment form so that her…

A Way Toward Balancing Government Budgets While Promoting Justice: Break Our Addiction to Incarceration

A Way Toward Balancing Government Budgets While Promoting Justice: Break Our Addiction to Incarceration

By Inimai Chettiar, ACLU & Vanita Gupta, Center for Justice at 12:44pm

A new ACLU report shows how several states have enacted cost-effective laws cutting their unnecessary overreliance and massive spending on prisons while continuing to protect the safety of our communities.

Mississippi's Vicious Cycle of Overincarceration

By Inimai Chettiar, ACLU & Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 4:05pm

This week, on the steps of the capitol in Jackson, ACLU of Mississippi Executive Director Nsombi Lambright unveiled a new report and urged lawmakers to take action to reform Mississippi's harsh and ineffective criminal justice system.

Mississippi…

ACLU Joins Republicans and Democrats to Streamline Maryland’s Bloated Prison System

By Inimai Chettiar, ACLU & Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 6:21pm

The ACLU has joined forces with a bipartisan group of legislators and advocates to support a bill that would make great strides toward easing the strain of Maryland’s overpopulated prison system. The bill (S.B. 801), introduced by Republican…

Ohio Governor Reconsiders Jailing Mother Who Sent Her Kids to the Wrong School

By Inimai Chettiar, ACLU & Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 3:08pm
Two weeks ago, we wrote about the egregious case of Kelley Williams-Bolar – the African-American single mother in Ohio who was found guilty of two third-degree felonies for sending her kids to the wrong school. She was sentenced to five years in…
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