Blog of Rights

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 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.

Suit Claims Public College’s Drug Testing Policy is Unconstitutional
Last week, the ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project and the ACLU of Eastern Missouri together filed a suit against Linn State Technical College, arguing that the school’s new mandatory drug-testing policy is unconstitutional. A temporary restraining order was granted just hours after filing.

California prisons to release thousands of mothers early
Thousands of women in California will be released from prison on parole, in one of the first steps toward easing the state’s overcrowded prison system.

Detailed demographics of correctional populations now available for nation
Last week, the Prison Policy Initiative released a new database that provides details about the age, gender, race and ethnicity data about our prison population. This information is intended to be particularly useful for those working against prison-based gerrymandering.

“Prison doesn't achieve anything,” says England’s Justice Secretary
From across the pond, a harsh critique from another country whose prison population has grown exponentially in recent years.

Editorial: The Misuse of Life Without Parole
Pointing to severe racial disparities in sentencing and a startling increase in use, this editorial calls for the sentence of life without parole to be used only as an alternative to the death penalty.

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