Blog of Rights

Dice Raw

We Shouldn't Arrest One More Person for Having Marijuana

By Dice Raw, Grammy Award-Nominated Singer/Songwriter at 3:16pm
I had a homie who was arrested for having an ounce of weed that was just for his personal use. He had full custody of his four children and still did 8 long months. My friend hasn't been the same since, to be quite honest, and I just can't get over the fact that before he went into the system, he was funny, sensitive, and charismatic, and now, he's just different. 
Smart Justice Fair Justice

Shocking: Seattle Treats 47-Year-Old Woman Like Person, Not Problem

By Chloe Cockburn, Advocacy and Policy Counsel, ACLU at 3:15pm

On a typical night, police officers approach women like "Jane," a 47-year-old who had just sold $20 worth of crack to an undercover officer. Jane is homeless and has a long history of chemical dependency and mental health issues. She has also been…

Lt Gov. Gavin Newsom

CA Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom "Steps Up" for Marijuana Legalization

By Will Matthews, ACLU of Northern California at 12:34pm

If you missed the rousing speech delivered by California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom over the weekend at the state’s Democratic Party convention in Los Angeles, do yourself a favor and take 10 minutes to give it a watch.

We Must Stop Throwing People Away

We Must Stop Throwing People Away

By Harry Belafonte, Entertainer & Activist at 11:00am

There is a crisis that demands our urgent attention. For the last four decades, this country has been obsessed with expanding the number of people we throw behind bars and the length of time we hold them there. Crime rates have been falling for…

What Rights?

What Rights?

By Melinda Chateauvert, Author of Sex Workers Unite! A History of the Movement from Stonewall to SlutWalk at 4:22pm

Melinda Chateauvert will read excerpts from Sex Workers Unite! and sign copies of the book on Wednesday, March 12. For more information and to RSVP, visit http://sexworkersunite.eventbrite.com.

Do sex workers have rights? Put another way, can…

Crop of image by Arlo Bates via Flickr

When Big Data Becomes a Civil Rights Problem

By Chris Calabrese, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:06am

My colleague Jay Stanley just wrote about an invasive new police tactic employed by the Chicago Police Department. Using software created by an engineer at the Illinois Institute of Technology, the city developed a “’heat list’ — an index of…

I Was Six-Years-Old and Locked in Solitary

I Was Six-Years-Old and Locked in Solitary

By James Burns at 1:24pm

Solitary was the worst thing that's ever happened to me. I was in and out of jail while I was growing up, and every time I was in solitary confinement, it felt as horrible as the first time I was locked up and left alone.

The first time I'd…

Criminalizing Drug Users Is Killing People

Criminalizing Drug Users Is Killing People

By Chloe Cockburn, Advocacy and Policy Counsel, ACLU at 5:09pm

21-year-old Alysa Ivy was surrounded by people when she died of a heroin overdose. Not one of them called 911 for help. Instead, they left her alone in a motel room, afraid they’d be arrested if they called the authorities.

Alysa’s death…

Court-Sanctioned Extortion by Private Probation Companies: Modern Debtors' Prisons

Court-Sanctioned Extortion by Private Probation Companies: Modern Debtors' Prisons

By Nusrat Choudhury, Staff Attorney, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 10:46am

Yesterday, Human Rights Watch released Profiting from Probation, a report that confirms the ACLU's worst fears about the privatization of probation services: for-profit companies are increasingly working with county and city courts around the country…

Still Locking People Up for Being Poor? Really?! It's 2014.

Still Locking People Up for Being Poor? Really?! It's 2014.

By Mike Brickner, ACLU of Ohio at 2:43pm

Debtors' prisons sound like ancient history, right? Unfortunately, they're all too common across the United States. In spite of the Constitution, case law, and common sense, low-income people are routinely jailed in places as far-flung as Georgia…