Blog of Rights


Will Matthews is the senior communications officer at the ACLU of Northern California, where he leads the strategic communications component of a statewide ACLU campaign to reform California’s criminal justice system. Previously he was the senior media relations associate at the ACLU’s national office in New York, where he primarily worked on the ACLU’s campaign to reduce over-incarceration. A graduate of Chapman University in Orange, Calif, and the recipient of the Master of Divinity degree from Vanderbilt University, Matthews formerly was an award-winning investigative reporter for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Arizonans Deserves Better

By Will Matthews, ACLU of Northern California at 8:20pm

Perhaps nothing better crystallizes the significance of yesterday's landmark judicial ruling mandating that infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaio take a number of concrete and substantive steps to improve the conditions and level of health care delivered to prisoners at the Maricopa County Jail then a letter received by the ACLU of Arizona from a criminal justice and sociology professor in southern Kentucky.

The professor begins his letter by making clear that he has never been much of a fan of the ACLU. He writes that he’s a supporter of the death penalty and that he believes we often are too soft on the inmates in our nation’s prisons and jails. But then he acknowledges that a vast majority of the prisoners that spend time behind bars at some point or another return to their communities, that, as a result, rehabilitation needs to be a primary aspect of incarceration and that increased education and enhanced mental health for prisoners are in fact achievable goals if the taxpayer money used to lock them up was used effectively.

“In this case, you all are bringing attention to a bad situation that has been going on for too long,” the professor writes.

Bad Hair Day?

By Will Matthews, ACLU of Northern California at 4:21pm

"A.A." is a 5-year-old kindergartner in Needville, Texas. Last Friday, a Texas judge ordered A.A. back to school after weeks of being denied that opportunity.

The trouble all started on his first day of school last month, when…

Health Commission Gets Tough on "America's Toughest Sheriff"

By Will Matthews, ACLU of Northern California at 2:35pm

Big news reverberated out of Maricopa County, Ariz., yesterday when it was made public that the National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC) last week stripped all of Maricopa County's Sheriff's Office jails — run by the infamous…

North Carolina Man Exonerated After 14 Years on Death Row

By Will Matthews, ACLU of Northern California at 1:51pm

The American Civil Liberties Union's Capital Punishment Project won a huge victory today when a North Carolina court dropped all charges against a man who spent 14 years on death row and freed him from prison. As stunning as it might sound that…

Married in Bucks County: Are you Really?

By Will Matthews, ACLU of Northern California at 8:38pm

Jason and Jennifer O’Neill were married in Bucks County, Penn. in 2005, and for over two years they experienced all of the typical joys and challenges that invariably come during a young couple’s first years of matrimony. But then, without…

Love Is Apparently Not All You Need

By Will Matthews, ACLU of Northern California at 5:08pm

Peter Goldberger and Anna Durbin have been married for 30 years and have raised three children. But on this Valentine's Day, when the Ardmore, Pa. couple's only concern should be celebrating three decades of unyielding devotion to each other, Peter…

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