Blog of Rights

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 arrested dozens of times.
U.N. Flag

U.S. Human Rights Record Undergoes International Scrutiny

By Jamil Dakwar, Director, ACLU Human Rights Program at 10:25pm

This week, the United Nations Human Rights Committee will review U.S. compliance with its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ratified by the U.S. in 1992. The review will cast light on a dark underbelly of American…

Is CCA Guilty?

Is CCA Guilty?

By Stephen Pevar, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU at 4:54pm

I believe it’s possible that a private, for-profit prison can be operated in a responsible manner.  Based on my experience, however, the chance of this occurring is small.  Time and time again, the incentive to cut corners in order to maximize…

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…

Things that Are ALWAYS Illegal: Sexual Assault Behind Bars

Things that Are ALWAYS Illegal: Sexual Assault Behind Bars

By Chase Strangio, Staff Attorney, ACLU at 12:13pm

Imagine you are taken from your community and family and sent to an institutional environment where everything is separated by sex. Once you get there the officers in charge of your every moment tell you that you are not the sex you have always known…

Why Is Wyoming Discriminating Against Jewish Prisoners?

Why Is Wyoming Discriminating Against Jewish Prisoners?

By Carrie Ellen Sager, PFRB Legal Fellow, ACLU at 1:50pm

The Wyoming Department of Corrections (WDOC) prohibits Jewish prisoners in Wyoming from wearing a kippah (also known as a yarmulke) anywhere other than in their own cells or during religious services. Today, the ACLU and the ACLU of Wyoming sent a…

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…

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…