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

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 has failed on every count: public safety, fairness and cost-effectiveness. Across the country, the criminal justice reform conversation is heating up. Each week, we feature our some of the most exciting and relevant news in overincarceration discourse that we’ve spotted from the previous week. Check back weekly for our top picks.

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…

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…

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…

Breaking the Addiction to Incarceration: Weekly Highlights

By Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 4:33pm

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…

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.

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…

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…

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…

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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