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

States' Brilliant Budget Solution: Sacrifice Public Education to Spend More on Ineffective Prisons

By Inimai Chettiar, ACLU & Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 5:32pm
California's governor wants to eliminate the entire $30 million the state spends on public libraries, while spending more than $50 million to imprison two dozen bedridden inmates who pose no threat to public safety.
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…

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...

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…

Tribeca Film Festival Highlights International Overincarceration

By Inimai Chettiar, ACLU & Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 4:30pm

The 2011 Tribeca Film Festival came to a close last month, with the festival's coveted Heineken Audience Award going to Give Up Tomorrow — a disturbing documentary detailing a story of an injustice perpetrated against a family in the Philippines.

Spanning…

Medical Marijuana:  The Tipping Point

Medical Marijuana: The Tipping Point

By Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project & Emma Andersson, Criminal Law Reform Project at 3:21pm

Two recent elections, a New York judge’s personal plea, a new state law and a new public opinion poll demonstrate that a seismic national shift has occurred in political attitudes toward medical marijuana. This cascade of developments dramatically…

Without a Card to Play, Texas Grandma Sentenced to Life Without Parole for First-Time Drug Offense

Without a Card to Play, Texas Grandma Sentenced to Life Without Parole for First-Time Drug Offense

By Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 10:04am

Texans can sleep more soundly at night knowing that Elisa Castillo, a grandmother and nonviolent first-time drug offender, is serving a life without parole sentence in Fort Worth. Yes, you read that right — the latest casualty of our War on…

Weekly Highlights: News from the War on Drugs

Weekly Highlights: News from the War on Drugs

By Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 1:08pm

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…

The High Costs of Going Gray in Louisiana and Nationwide

By Inimai Chettiar, ACLU & Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 5:26pm

Prisoners across America are getting older, experiencing all the same ailments that afflict those of the same age who aren't behind bars. Extreme sentencing policies and a growing number of life sentences without the possibility of parole have…

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…

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