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

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 policy, professing to set an example for the rest of the world. But when it comes to our stagnant approach to drug policy, other countries have surpassed us repeatedly by leaps and bounds. From Portugal to Switzerland to Guatemala, it’s as if the rest of the world aced a public health class that the United States skipped because it was too busy fighting a failed, costly “war on drugs.”
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…

Breaking the Addiction to Incarceration: Weekly Highlights

By Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 5:48pm

Today, the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world. With over 2.3 million men and women living behind bars, our imprisonment rate is the highest it’s ever been in U.S. history. And yet, our criminal justice system…

5 More Years in Prison for Making a Phone Call

By Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 10:59am

It's hard to open a newspaper these days without finding an article about California's myriad criminal justice troubles. From the Plata decision ordering the state to reduce the population of its prisons, to the hunger strike by prisoners protesting…

Breaking the Addiction to Incarceration: Weekly Highlights

By Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 3:56pm

Today, the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world. With over 2.3 million men and women living behind bars, our imprisonment rate is the highest it’s ever been in U.S. history. And yet, our criminal justice system…

California Prisoners on Hunger Strike Again to Protest Solitary Confinement

By Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project & Tanya Greene, Advocacy and Policy Counsel, ACLU at 3:46pm

In July, hundreds of prisoners confined in Pelican Bay State Prison and nine other California correctional facilities protested the heinous conditions of their confinement with the only means they had: their ability to peacefully refuse food. After…

Rikers Island Spared by Irene, But What About Next Time?

By Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 11:57am

Last month, I wrote about the invisibility of Rikers Island on some of New York City's subway maps. Unfortunately, this weekend Hurricane Irene taught us that it's not just a map on a train that fails to acknowledge the thousands of people on…

Breaking the Addiction to Incarceration: Weekly Highlights

By Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 1:28pm

Today, the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world. Withover 2.3 million men and women living behind bars, our imprisonment rate is the highest it's ever been in U.S. history. And yet, our criminal justice system has…

Bloomberg Gives With One Hand; Takes With the Other

By Ezekiel Edwards, Director, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project & Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 5:20pm

This week, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that he would invest $30 million from his own pocket to uplift the young black and Latino men who are most excluded from New York’s civic, educational and economic life. While this…

Choosing Death Over Life: (Still) Starving to Stop Solitary

Choosing Death Over Life: (Still) Starving to Stop Solitary

By Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project & Tanya Greene, Advocacy and Policy Counsel, ACLU at 10:33am

UPDATE: Although it appears that the hunger strike is over, the problems with solitary confinement remain. Not only are these conditions inhumane and harmful, but they also jeopardize public safety.

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