Blog of Rights

The Reign of Terror Ends at LA County Jails

The Reign of Terror Ends at LA County Jails

By Margaret Winter, National Prison Project & Peter J. Eliasberg, ACLU of Southern California at 3:49pm
For many years there's been an entrenched culture of savage deputy-on-inmate violence Los Angeles County Jails – violence as extreme as anything we've seen in decades of investigating some of the most notorious jails and prisons in the nation.
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…

The United States Admits It Crossed a Line. That’s the Least of It.

The United States Admits It Crossed a Line. That’s the Least of It.

By Sarah Mehta, Researcher, ACLU Human Rights Program at 12:54pm

On Wednesday, the United Nations Committee Against Torture began its review of the United States’ record on torture—not only at the infamous Guantánamo Bay but closer to home, in our prisons, police forces, and immigration facilities.

The…

Scott Panetti

Texas Wants to Kill This Mentally Ill Man

By Cassandra Stubbs, Director, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 11:47am

Wearing a cowboy costume and a purple bandana, Scott Panetti defended himself at his capital trial in Texas without counsel, where he tried to call the Pope, J.F.K, and Jesus Christ to the witness stand. In Tennessee, Richard Taylor represented himself…

Not Having a Roof Over Your Head Can Mean Jail Time: The Criminalization of Homelessness

Not Having a Roof Over Your Head Can Mean Jail Time: The Criminalization of Homelessness

By Kara Dansky, Senior Counsel, ACLU Center for Justice at 1:31pm

Kilee Lowe was sitting in a park when cops picked her up and booked her into jail overnight.

After she got out the next morning, she returned to the park. The same officer who had thrown her into a cell not 24 hours before had booked her again.…

Jail Doesn't Help Addicts. Let's Stop Sending Them There.

Jail Doesn't Help Addicts. Let's Stop Sending Them There.

By Kara Dansky, Senior Counsel, ACLU Center for Justice at 11:17am

Misti Barrickman has scoliosis. Since she was a teenager, it's been debilitating. It hurt to lie down. It hurt to stand up.

She started taking Oxycontin to help with the pain and became addicted. She came to Seattle to find large quantities…

A Psychotic Episode Shouldn't End in a Jail Cell

A Psychotic Episode Shouldn't End in a Jail Cell

By Kara Dansky, Senior Counsel, ACLU Center for Justice at 11:59am

Michelle Mata wants to be treated the way you would want your mom to be treated.

She's an aunt and a neighbor. She likes line dancing. And she suffers from major depressive disorder with psychotic features.

When people like Michelle…

A Close Shave for Religious Liberty at the Supreme Court

A Close Shave for Religious Liberty at the Supreme Court

By Heather L. Weaver, ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief at 10:26am

To shave or not to shave? That is the question the Supreme Court will consider today as it once again turns to fundamental issues of religious liberty.

This morning, the justices will hear oral argument in Holt v. Hobbs, a Muslim prisoner's…

Victory Against Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Jails, Where Too Many Have Suffered and Died From Neglect

Victory Against Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Jails, Where Too Many Have Suffered and Died From Neglect

By Eric Balaban, ACLU National Prison Project at 2:08pm

It took a nurse observing a man “eating chunks [taken out of his cell wall]” before he was moved out of solitary confinement.

This happened in Maricopa County Jail, run by the infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Such incidents are not rare.

The…

The Wal-Mart Model: Not Just for Retail, Now It’s for Private Prisons Too!

The Wal-Mart Model: Not Just for Retail, Now It’s for Private Prisons Too!

By Carl Takei, ACLU National Prison Project at 12:02pm

The nation's biggest and baddest for-profit prison company suddenly cares about halfway houses – so much so, that they want in on the action.

About a year after acquiring a smaller firm that operates halfway houses and other community corrections…