Blog of Rights

#DearMrPresident: Stop Profiling Us

The Perversity of Profiling

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Hina Shamsi, Director, ACLU National Security Project at 2:19pm
The Justice Department is considering revised racial profiling guidance that, if issued, could set back race relations and basic fairness in this country. We hope that it does not make that mistake.
I Will Die Here, Unless President Obama Helps

I Will Die Here, Unless President Obama Helps

By Reynolds Wintersmith, Federal Life-Without-Parole Prisoner at 1:22pm

I joined a drug ring when I was 17 years old and, for just over a year, sold crack and powder cocaine in Rockford, Ill. I was arrested when I was 19 years old.

I am now 39 years old. I have spent over half of my life in federal prison. I have…

Juwan Wickware being interrogated

Only in America: 16-Year-Old Locked Up for the Rest of His Life

By Steven M. Watt, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Human Rights Program & Allison Frankel, Criminal Law Reform Project, ACLU at 4:37pm

Juwan Wickware wasn't the shooter. But he and more than 2,500 others nationwide will enter prison as teenagers, grow into adults, and die – all behind bars.

This is not right. The sentence must fit the crime, and we cannot throw…

It's Like You're Sold a Dream

It's Like You're Sold a Dream

By Lance White at 2:01pm

I lost my drive after my older brother Rufus was sentenced. I didn't care. I didn't trust. That was my attitude. Rufus was the father figure I looked up to. When he went to jail for the rest of his life, I started looking up to his buddies. A lot of…

Hundreds of Economists: Marijuana Prohibition Costs Billions, Legalization Would Earn Billions

Hundreds of Economists: Marijuana Prohibition Costs Billions, Legalization Would Earn Billions

By Ezekiel Edwards, Director, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project & Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 4:29pm

Over 300 economists, including three Nobel Laureates, recently signed a petition that encourages the president, Congress, governors and state legislatures to carefully consider marijuana legalization in America. The petition draws attention to an…

What Could Justify Using a Taser on an 8-Year-Old Girl?

What Could Justify Using a Taser on an 8-Year-Old Girl?

By Heather Smith, Communications Director, ACLU of South Dakota & Sarah Solon, Communications Strategist, ACLU at 12:34pm

Justified.

That’s how the Pierre Police Department described an incident several days ago where an officer fired his Taser at an 8-year-old girl after receiving a report that she had stabbed herself in the leg and appeared suicidal.

When…

15-Year-Old Gets Six Life Sentences?

15-Year-Old Gets Six Life Sentences?

By Alex Stamm, ACLU Center for Justice at 1:27pm

At gunpoint, two 18-year-olds and a 15-year-old robbed a dozen other teenagers at a house party, taking money, phones, and marijuana. No shots were fired, but one of the 18-year-olds struck someone with the butt of his gun.

The crime is unquestionably…

Private Prisons Are the Problem, Not the Solution

Private Prisons Are the Problem, Not the Solution

By Margaret Winter, National Prison Project & Gabriel Eber, ACLU National Prison Project at 4:38pm

For the past two years, the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center have been investigating and exposing a horrifying pattern of abuse against juveniles and the mentally ill in two Mississippi prisons operated by the GEO Group, one of the biggest…

Police Abuse of Power, Plain and Simple, in Etowah County, Alabama

Police Abuse of Power, Plain and Simple, in Etowah County, Alabama

By Brandon Buskey, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project & Ezekiel Edwards, Director, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 1:27pm

The Etowah County Sheriff's Office has a Fourth Amendment problem.

About once a month, a marked sheriff's car shows up, unannounced and after dark, outside a family's home in Alabama. Uniformed officers walk to the family's door, in plain sight…

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…