Overincarceration

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Can You Think of a Better Way to Spend $7.2 Billion Than Unnecessarily Locking Up Nonviolent Offenders and Undocumented Immigrants?

Can You Think of a Better Way to Spend $7.2 Billion Than Unnecessarily Locking Up Nonviolent Offenders and Undocumented Immigrants?

By Jesselyn McCurdy, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:16am
The Department of Justice spends $7.2 billion a year to incarcerate over 209,000 people in the federal Bureau of Prisons at a cost of over $30,000 per year per person.
The Cost of Imprisoning America's Poor

The Cost of Imprisoning America's Poor

By Marshall Thomas, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 4:13pm

731,000

That's the number of people imprisoned in America's jails "on any given day," according to the Vera Institute of Justice's new report on America's swollen jail system. While too little attention has been paid to the size…

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…

Border Crisis Prompting New Xenophobic Drumbeat for an Old Disgrace—Detention Camps

Border Crisis Prompting New Xenophobic Drumbeat for an Old Disgrace—Detention Camps

By Carl Takei, ACLU National Prison Project at 2:44pm

This piece originally appeared at The National Journal.

Seventy-two years ago, U.S. military officials labeled Japanese-Americans "an enemy race." Because they were Japanese-Americans, the government locked members of my family—along with…

Millions Severed From the Body Politic

Millions Severed From the Body Politic

By Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 2:43pm

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday march for voting rights and the passage of the Voting Rights Act.  In this historic year, as we work to strengthen and update the law that protects voters of color at the polls, it…

For Some Convicted of Drug Offenses, the Punishment Never Ends

For Some Convicted of Drug Offenses, the Punishment Never Ends

By Julie Ebenstein, Staff Attorney, Voting Rights Project, ACLU at 4:42pm

Mass incarceration not only destroys families and mangles communities, it slowly erodes our democracy. Too many Americans convicted of nonviolent offenses, such as drug crimes, are punished with excessive prison sentences and then permanently ejected…

For the Poor, Every Arrest is a Gamble

For the Poor, Every Arrest is a Gamble

By Jennifer Carnig, New York Civil Liberties Union at 2:25pm

Homeless. Unemployed. Kids taken. Locked up. Guilty.

If you're rich like Lindsey Lohan, you can be charged with assault and let off the hook – all with the help of a highly paid, private lawyer. But if you're poor and accused of even the…

Want to really get his attention? Help us fight overcriminalization!

Why Everyone Should Read This Week's Cosmo. No, Seriously.

By Sarah Solon, Communications Strategist, ACLU at 12:13pm

This isn't a blog about the top ten kissing tips for spring. And it's not a blog making fun of the magazine that usually delivers such tips. This is a blog applauding Cosmopolitan for taking a firm stance against criminalizing pregnant women. Well…

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…

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