Blog of Rights

Notorious Sheriff Baca Finally Retires

Notorious Sheriff Baca Finally Retires

By Margaret Winter, National Prison Project at 10:33am
Sheriff Lee Baca stunned the public this week by announcing that he will immediately retire as the head of Los Angeles County jails. His announcement marks another milestone in the ACLU's campaign to end the culture of rampant deputy-on-prisoner violence that has plagued the Los Angeles County jails for years.
Time Out Is for Kids. This Isn't.

Time Out Is for Kids. This Isn't.

By Amy Fettig, ACLU National Prison Project & Tanya Greene, Advocacy and Policy Counsel, ACLU at 11:35am

"I developed techniques to survive. I've learned to play chess with other [kids] through a six-inch wall to keep myself occupied. But for others, it breaks them, makes them either violent or suicidal."

These are the words of Lino Silva, who…

Confronting California's Abuse of Solitary

Confronting California's Abuse of Solitary

By Helen Vera, National Prison Project Fellow, ACLU at 11:52am

Solitary confinement can eat away at someone's mind, making mental illness worse and leaving many people depressed, suicidal, hopeless or hallucinating. It's no place for individuals with mental illness.

In 1995, a federal court in California…

Death Row is Not a "Constitution-Free Zone"

Death Row is Not a "Constitution-Free Zone"

By Brian Stull, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 2:58pm

Alfredo Prieto sits alone 23 hours a day in a locked, seventy-square-feet box. The lights never go out.

According to trial records, Prieto grew up in tough circumstances in war-torn El Salvador, escaped with his family to California. He became…

My Dad Will Never Come Home

My Dad Will Never Come Home

By April Anderson, Daughter of Dicky Joe Jackson at 1:23pm

Dad usually suggests we leave a little early because leaving is the 'elephant in the room' that we're all trying to avoid. "Ya'll go on and head home and get some rest. Don't worry about me, I'm fine." It's the same stuff every time.

My dad…

What a Waste

What a Waste

By Jennifer Turner, Human Rights Researcher, Human Rights Program, ACLU at 9:51am

It's time to abandon the mindset that our criminal justice system should only be about extreme, one-size-fits-all punishment – particularly when the skyrocketing number of these sentences being meted out is grossly out of proportion with crime rates, which are falling.

The Biggest, Baddest Prison Profiteer of Them All

The Biggest, Baddest Prison Profiteer of Them All

By Jesse Lava, Campaign Director, Beyond Bars & Sarah Solon, Communications Strategist, ACLU at 11:51am

"CCA" has become a dirty word. Kanye West cited it when rapping about America's class of "New Slaves." Anonymous invoked...

Perhaps the Saddest Profit Motive Ever

Perhaps the Saddest Profit Motive Ever

By Mishi Faruqee, Juvenile Justice Policy Strategist, ACLU at 3:16pm

In Pennsylvania, there are two companies called PA Child Care LLC and Western PA Child Care. You might think that these companies offer services and supports to kids to help them become productive adults. You’d be wrong.

These companies offered…

Rikers Puts Mentally Ill Teens in "the Box"

Rikers Puts Mentally Ill Teens in "the Box"

By Helen Vera, National Prison Project Fellow, ACLU at 11:21am

Matthew was seventeen. He’d been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and has struggled with serious drug dependency and a difficult home life. He needed help. Instead, he got locked in “the box.”

This is how notorious New York City jail Rikers…

When Did "To Serve & Protect" Become "To Seize & Profit?"

When Did "To Serve & Protect" Become "To Seize & Profit?"

By Jesse Lava, Campaign Director, Beyond Bars & Sarah Solon, Communications Strategist, ACLU at 12:28pm

Leon and Mary Adams had been living in their Philadelphia home for nearly five decades. They were eating breakfast one morning last year when armed...