Blog of Rights

Rachel Bloom is an Advocacy and Policy Strategist for the American Civil Liberties Union. Her work focuses on state based criminal justice reform, with particular attention paid to drug testing of public benefit recipients, collateral consequences, private prisons and policing. Focusing on these issues, she works with ACLU affiliates throughout the country, as well as with national partners, to advance progressive reform and defeat regressive legislation. Ms. Bloom is a proud alumnae of Barnard College and received her Masters degree in Social Policy and Planning from the London School of Economics.
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Being Poor Is Not a Crime

Being Poor Is Not a Crime

By Rachel Bloom, ACLU at 1:25pm
June 2011 marks the 40th anniversary of President Richard Nixon's declaration of a "war on drugs" — a war that has cost roughly a trillion dollars, has produced little to no effect on the supply of or demand for drugs in the United States, and has contributed to making America the world's largest incarcerator. Throughout the month, check back daily for posts about the drug war, its victims and what needs to be done to restore fairness and create effective policy.

Florida Law Punishes Poor People for Being Poor

By Rachel Bloom, ACLU at 2:05pm

During this legislative session, more than two dozen states have introduced legislation to drug test individuals receiving or applying for various forms of public assistance. And by public assistance I mean individuals applying for Temporary Assistance…

A Very Big Thank You!

By Rachel Bloom, ACLU at 12:31pm

Yesterday, Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland commuted the death sentence of Kevin Keith, a possibly innocent man, to life without parole. We have written about Kevin Keith’s case multiple times. We told you about how groups including the Ohio…

Prison as Punishment, Not for Punishment

By Rachel Bloom, ACLU at 3:43pm

No one wants to go to prison, but there's one particular prison in Idaho that's especially feared. Why? According to the Associated Press, over the past two years, more prisoner-on-prisoner assaults have occurred at this specific prison —…

Fighting for Voting Rights for All Americans

By Rachel Bloom, ACLU at 12:39pm

Today marks the second day of a two-day United Nations forum on "minorities and effective political participation." Chaired by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), the forum has attracted legislators, academics and members of the nongovernmental…

Eligible to Vote in Washington

By Rachel Bloom, ACLU at 5:08pm

(Cross-posted to Washblog and Daily Kos)

On Saturday, "John" could not register to vote in Washington State. On Sunday, he could. John did not turn 18 on Sunday, nor did he become a citizen. Rather, a new law went into effect in Washington…

In Honor of Jack Kemp, Voting Rights Advocate

By Rachel Bloom, ACLU at 10:06pm

Jack Kemp, the former football star turned congressman who served as secretary of housing and urban development under the first President Bush and was the 1996 Republican vice-presidential nominee, passed away May 2. Much has been made of his work…

I Have the Right to Vote…Right?

By Rachel Bloom, ACLU at 2:36pm

My favorite section of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is Article 21, which states that “everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.” Why is…

"I Can't Vote, I Was Locked Up."

By Rachel Bloom, ACLU at 11:31am

(Originally posted on Daily Kos.)

If you have ever registered individuals to vote, you've likely had people tell you that they'd like to register but can't because they were incarcerated. As I travel the country educating Americans about felony…

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