Blog of Rights

Hope, At Last, for Some Federal Prisoners

Hope, At Last, for Some Federal Prisoners

By Jennifer Turner, Human Rights Researcher, Human Rights Program, ACLU at 4:53pm
Here's some truth for you: many federal prisoners would receive substantially shorter sentences for the exact same crime if they were sentenced today under the current law. Many would have already served their time and paid their debt to society. Instead, because of outdated laws that are now recognized as unjust, they remain in prison at a cost of millions of taxpayer dollars each year.
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.

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

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

"People in <em>Your</em> Hood Ride Bikes to Shoot People."

"People in Your Hood Ride Bikes to Shoot People."

By Nusrat Choudhury, Staff Attorney, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 12:22pm

This week, 22-year-old Modesto Sanchez told lawmakers of the Massachusetts Legislature about the day he and his friend rode their bikes down the street on which Sanchez lived, only to be stopped and frisked within minutes by Boston police officers.…

Photo of police standing with batons

Police Need to Make Body-Camera Policies Transparent

By Sonia Roubini, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 3:00pm

Body cameras are a hot topic these days in the wake of the Ferguson and Eric Garner controversies, as well as President Obama’s announcement that he will seek $75 million in funding for police body cameras and training. Body cameras are an important…

Black and Blue: The All-Too-Often Toxic Relationship Between Communities of Color and Law Enforcement

Black and Blue: The All-Too-Often Toxic Relationship Between Communities of Color and Law Enforcement

By Dennis Parker, Director, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 9:12am

Twenty-five years ago, Director Spike Lee released the film "Do the Right Thing" which illustrated with startling realism the racial tensions and uneasy relationship between police and the communities of color in Brooklyn's Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood.…

Ohio Wants to Cloak the Death Penalty in Secrecy

Ohio Wants to Cloak the Death Penalty in Secrecy

By Mike Brickner, ACLU of Ohio at 5:16pm

It would be an understatement to say Ohio has had many problems administering capital punishment.

Over the last decade, the state granted clemency to 10 people and botched four executions, including the tortuous death of Dennis McGuire, who…

Martin Sheen from The West Wing: Tell Congress Smarter Sentencing Now!

Finally! One of the West Wing's Biggest Cliffhangers Answered

By Meghan Groob, Media Strategist, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:49am

Years after the West Wing left us hanging, we finally have an answer to one of the show's biggest unanswered questions: Does President Josiah Bartlet support sentencing reform?

Okay, maybe I'm overstating it a bit. The aptly titled episode…

#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.

The New York Times on Thursday reported that…

Sorting at a mailroom. Photo source: Jason V. via Wikimedia

Assembly-Line Injustice

By Carl Takei, ACLU National Prison Project at 10:46am

Dozens of tired, bedraggled men line up in shackles to plead guilty en masse. A judge claims his personal best is sentencing 70 people in 30 minutes: an average of twenty-five seconds per person to review the charges, hear his or her plea, and hand…