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

A Misidentified "Mastermind"

By Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 12:49pm
On September 23, Teresa Lewis, a mentally disabled individual, is slated to become the first woman executed in the state of Virginia since the electrocution of Virginia Christian in 1912. Accused of hiring Matthew Shallenberger and Rodney Fuller to kill her husband and stepson, Lewis pleaded guilty in 2002 and received a death sentence, while the two men responsible for carrying out the murders were sentenced to life in prison. Judge Charles Strauss explained the disparity in their sentences by identifying her as the "head of the serpent" in the operation. It's not just the differing sentences that perturbs — Teresa Lewis has been classified as borderline mentally disabled by two separate mental health experts. Yet Judge Strauss didn't take into account the vast difference in intellectual abilities between herself and the men who killed her husband and stepson. Lewis' sentence is yet another example of the unjust distribution and application of the death penalty. We urge you to send this letter to Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell asking him to commute Lewis' death sentence to life in prison.

Breaking the Addiction to Incarceration: Weekly Highlights

By Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 4:14pm

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…

Breaking the Addiction to Incarceration: Weekly Highlights

By Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 1:47pm

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…

Obama's Words, Our Message: We Must Protect the Vulnerable from Sexual Assault

Obama's Words, Our Message: We Must Protect the Vulnerable from Sexual Assault

By Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 12:43pm

Tell President Obama and Attorney General Holder to grant detainees in ICE custody legal protections from sexual abuse and assault.

Breaking the Addiction to Incarceration: Weekly Highlights

By Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 12:55pm

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…

Breaking the Addiction to Incarceration: Weekly Highlights

By Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 4:20pm

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…

Breaking the Addiction to Incarceration: Weekly Highlights

By Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 6:12pm

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 3:23pm

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…

Breaking the Addiction to Incarceration: Weekly Highlights From the Blog

By Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 5:20am

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…

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