Blog of Rights

The Sad State of Solitary in Florida: Is There Hope for this Human Rights Violation?

The Sad State of Solitary in Florida: Is There Hope for this Human Rights Violation?

By Julie Ebenstein, Staff Attorney, Voting Rights Project, ACLU at 3:59pm
The world got a glimpse this week into how the United States treats those we lock in solitary confinement, when the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights heard ACLU testimonies on how our treatment of vulnerable prisoners violates international human rights norms. The short story: we should be ashamed. For a more detailed picture, check back throughout the week for an ongoing blog series on the issue.
Marty Atencio (1967-2011): Another Victim of Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Jails

Marty Atencio (1967-2011): Another Victim of Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Jails

By Gabriel Eber, ACLU National Prison Project & Eric Balaban, ACLU National Prison Project at 10:38am

Earnest “Marty” Atencio, 44 years old, died on December 20, 2011.  His dead body was covered with bruises, lacerations and puncture marks – wounds that made him look like the victim of a vicious attack by criminals.  But…

It's Time to Discuss Criminal Justice Reform

It's Time to Discuss Criminal Justice Reform

By Vanita Gupta, Center for Justice & Ezekiel Edwards, Director, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 2:51pm

Presidential election season is prime time for predictions. One sure bet is this: neither candidate is likely to make criminal justice a stump issue.

Breaking the Addiction to Incarceration: Weekly Highlights

By Alex Stamm, ACLU Center for Justice at 2:26pm

Today, the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world. With over 2.3 million men and women living behind bars, our imprisonment rate is the highest it’s ever been in U.S. history. And yet, our criminal justice system…

Why Are We Spending So Much To Lock Up Elderly Prisoners Who Pose Little Threat?

Why Are We Spending So Much To Lock Up Elderly Prisoners Who Pose Little Threat?

By Inimai Chettiar, ACLU & Vanita Gupta, Center for Justice at 3:07pm

Elderly prisoners are the least dangerous group of people behind bars but the most expensive to incarcerate. Yet despite this truth, the number of elderly prisoners is skyrocketing. Harsher sentences for less serious crimes – one defining characteristic of our failed “tough on crime” and “war on drugs” policies – are responsible for this staggering increase in the number of older prisoners, and taxpayers are taking the hit.

Los Angeles Sheriff Endorses Report Recommending Swift Closure of Infamous Jail

Los Angeles Sheriff Endorses Report Recommending Swift Closure of Infamous Jail

By Margaret Winter, National Prison Project at 1:41pm

A new report released today finds L.A. County's Men's Central Jail, the largest and most violence-plagued in the nation, can be shut down by the end of 2013.

Supermax Prisons: Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading

By David Fathi, National Prison Project at 2:39pm

This week the European Court of Human Rights temporarily halted the extradition of four terrorism suspects from the United Kingdom to the United States. The court concluded that the applicants had raised a serious question whether their possible…

Prison as Punishment, Not for Punishment

By Rachel Bloom, ACLU at 3:43pm

No one wants to go to prison, but there's one particular prison in Idaho that's especially feared. Why? According to the Associated Press, over the past two years, more prisoner-on-prisoner assaults have occurred at this specific prison —…

Dee's Triumph: One of the Most Important Trans Victories You Never Heard Of

Dee's Triumph: One of the Most Important Trans Victories You Never Heard Of

By Chase Strangio, Staff Attorney, ACLU at 2:43pm

On August 21, 1989, Dee Farmer, a black, transgender woman, sued prison officials for the "mental anguish, psychological damage, humil[i]ation, swollen face, cuts and bruises to her mouth and lips and a cut on her back, as well as some bleeding" that…

As Immigration Reform Comes Up Again, Watch This Private Prison Company

As Immigration Reform Comes Up Again, Watch This Private Prison Company

By Jesse Lava, Campaign Director, Beyond Bars & Sarah Solon, Communications Strategist, ACLU at 1:26pm

Now that the federal government is up and running again, President Obama...