Blog of Rights

Rebecca
McCray

Rebecca McCray works as a paralegal with the Criminal Law Reform Project of the ACLU, which seeks an end to excessively harsh crime policies that result in mass incarceration. The Project works to reduce the number of people entering jails and prisons by reforming our nation's punitive drug policies and challenging police and prosecutorial misconduct and other governmental abuses of power. Rebecca has worked as an educator and researcher at the Iowa Correctional Institute for Women, the Iowa Juvenile Home, and Rikers Island, facilitating classes in writing, visual art, and debate. In addition, Rebecca leads free writing workshops throughout New York City with the New York Writers Coalition and regularly contributes to the organization’s blog, The Narrator. An Iowa native, she lives and writes in Brooklyn. She is a graduate of the University of Iowa. You can follow her on Twitter here: @rebeccakmccray

14-Year-Old Arrested for Playing with Puppy While Black. Seriously.

14-Year-Old Arrested for Playing with Puppy While Black. Seriously.

By Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 3:09pm
Last week down in Florida, 14-year-old Tremaine McMillian was playing in the water with a friend at the beach when a Miami-Dade police officer approached him to ask what he was doing, misinterpreting their play for a fight. Tremaine walked away from the officers, carrying his new puppy in his arms. After observing his allegedly "dehumanizing stares" and clenched fists, the officer used his ATV to chase Tremaine down and throw him to the ground in a chokehold so intense that the teenager wet himself during the incident. It was his mother who caught part of the incident on camera.
In Florida, High School Student Kiera Wilmot’s Curiosity Is a Crime?!

In Florida, High School Student Kiera Wilmot’s Curiosity Is a Crime?!

By Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 2:47pm

Fed up with the school-to-prison pipeline? Take action!

Earlier this week, the well-oiled school-to-prison pipeline once again moved swiftly and fiercely to criminalize kids. This time, the pipeline delivered 16-year-old Kiera Wilmot to the…

Supreme Court Makes the Right Call: "Social Sharing" of Marijuana Not an Aggravated Felony Under Immigration Laws

Supreme Court Makes the Right Call: "Social Sharing" of Marijuana Not an Aggravated Felony Under Immigration Laws

By Molly Lauterback, Immigrants' Rights Project & Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 2:53pm

In a 7-2 decision this week, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the "social sharing of a small amount...

As The "Drug Testing Dragnet" Widens, The Poor Continue to be Swept In

As The "Drug Testing Dragnet" Widens, The Poor Continue to be Swept In

By Jason Williamson & Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 2:05pm

Heads up: mandatory, suspicionless drug testing is not just about violating your Fourth Amendment rights anymore...

The Bittersweet Victory of Patricia Spottedcrow’s Release

The Bittersweet Victory of Patricia Spottedcrow’s Release

By Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 2:16pm

Patricia Spottedcrow of Oklahoma made headlines in 2010 when she was sentenced to 12 years in prison for her first criminal offense: the sale of a $31 bag of marijuana to an undercover informant. The senseless severity of her sentence caught the…

The Incomplete Story Told by California’s Declining Juvenile Arrest Rates

The Incomplete Story Told by California’s Declining Juvenile Arrest Rates

By Will Matthews, ACLU of Northern California & Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 2:20pm

A recent study from the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice (CJCJ) demonstrates that decriminalization of marijuana can actually improve our children’s futures while saving taxpayers billions of dollars.

In 2011, Senate Bill 1449…

The House I Live In: Documentary Goes Inside the Failed War on Drugs

The House I Live In: Documentary Goes Inside the Failed War on Drugs

By Ezekiel Edwards, Director, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project & Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 4:33pm

In 1971, Richard Nixon declared a war, couched in terms that suggested that the onslaught of attacks would target and eliminate the presence of drugs in our country. But the so-called War on Drugs, it turned out, was given a deceiving title. Nixon…

After the Pussy Riot: What This Unjust Sentence Can Teach Americans

After the Pussy Riot: What This Unjust Sentence Can Teach Americans

By Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 2:12pm

In the last few months, concerned American celebrities, musicians and activists have joined protesters abroad to demonstrate their support for a Russian feminist collective, Pussy Riot. Following a peaceful performance in Moscow’s Christ the…

In the Race for Sensible Drug Policy, U.S. Snoozes on the Sidelines

In the Race for Sensible Drug Policy, U.S. Snoozes on the Sidelines

By Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 11:47am

Olympics season is upon us, and there’s no shortage of news in which the United States is heralded as the global frontrunner. Beyond athletics, America tends to pride itself on being innovative and forward-thinking on many issues of law and…

Gil Kerlikowske: Please Put Our Money Where Your Mouth Is

Gil Kerlikowske: Please Put Our Money Where Your Mouth Is

By Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project & Emma Andersson, Criminal Law Reform Project at 4:02pm

U.S. Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske has his work cut out for him.  A revealing recent interview suggests he favors a more treatment-based approach to drug policy than his predecessors, but he has no illusions about the daunting task of de-stigmatizing…

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