Blog of Rights

States Take Sizeable Steps in 2012 to End Overincarceration

States Take Sizeable Steps in 2012 to End Overincarceration

By Inimai Chettiar, ACLU & Alex Stamm, ACLU Center for Justice at 3:48pm
As states begin to realize that they can reduce their prison populations safely, the pace of reform has begun to pick up a bit this year. State legislative sessions are coming to a close, which makes it a good time to review the actions lawmakers have taken to reduce their unsustainable prison populations in 2012. Here are the some of the legislative reform highlights:
Guilty Until Proven Innocent?

Guilty Until Proven Innocent?

By Cassandra Stubbs, Director, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 6:09pm

This week, Northwestern and the University of Michigan law schools released a National Registry of Exonerations, a new database chronicling the ever-growing number of exonerees from our nation’s criminal justice system.   The database…

New Proof of an Old Fear: Execution of the Innocent

New Proof of an Old Fear: Execution of the Innocent

By Cassandra Stubbs, Director, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 4:58pm

The State of Texas, long the nation's leader in executions, has now earned the dubious title of the state most likely to execute the innocent. In 2004, Texas executed Cameron Todd Willingham, despite compelling evidence that he was actually innocent…

Rhode Island's Rightful Stand Against the Federal Government

Rhode Island's Rightful Stand Against the Federal Government

By Brian Stull, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 2:44pm

Last week, the Rhode Island ACLU announced its disappointment with a federal circuit court's decision overturning Gov. Lincoln Chafee's efforts to prevent the institution of federal death penalty charges against Jason Wayne Pleau, whom Rhode Island…

Breaking the Addiction to Incarceration: Weekly Highlights

Breaking the Addiction to Incarceration: Weekly Highlights

By Alex Stamm, ACLU Center for Justice at 2:34pm

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…

CT Ends Death Penalty! One Big Step for a Small State; One Giant Step for our Society

CT Ends Death Penalty! One Big Step for a Small State; One Giant Step for our Society

By Tanya Greene, Advocacy and Policy Counsel, ACLU at 2:36pm

Connecticut has finally wiped its hands of that messy and sorrowful task of killing its own citizens. Today, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signed legislation to repeal the death penalty that was passed by the state legislature earlier this month.

After…

A Personal Reflection on McCleskey v. Kemp

A Personal Reflection on McCleskey v. Kemp

By Diann Rust-Tierney

April 22 marked the 25th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in McCleskey v. Kemp, in which the Court ruled that a defendant cannot rely upon statistical evidence of systemic racial bias to prove his death sentence…

Breaking the Addiction to  Incarceration: Weekly Highlights

Breaking the Addiction to Incarceration: Weekly Highlights

By Alex Stamm, ACLU Center for Justice at 5:33pm

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 has…

25 Years After McCleskey, Looking Forward to Legislative Fixes of Supreme Court Error

25 Years After McCleskey, Looking Forward to Legislative Fixes of Supreme Court Error

By Tanya Greene, Advocacy and Policy Counsel, ACLU at 9:54am

April 22 marks the 25th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in McCleskey v. Kemp, in which the Court ruled that a defendant cannot rely upon statistical evidence of systemic racial bias to prove his death sentence unconstitutional,…

The U.S. Death Penalty — An International Human Rights Wrong?

The U.S. Death Penalty — An International Human Rights Wrong?

By Avinash Samarth, ACLU National Security Project at 9:51am

In 2011, the top five executioners were China, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran and the United States. This is not the company we want to keep.