Washington Markup

Congress Takes Much Needed Step Forward on Over-Criminalization

Congress Takes Much Needed Step Forward on Over-Criminalization

By Alex Berger, Legislative Assistant, ACLU at 4:59pm
Earlier this month, a high school honors student named Kiera Wilmot was charged with felony discharge of a weapon on school property. Her crime? Creating her own science experiment.
The Road Ahead for Newtown Legislation

The Road Ahead for Newtown Legislation

By Alex Berger, Legislative Assistant, ACLU at 11:57am

At the beginning of the first Senate hearing on the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) instructed those in the hearing room to stand if they had been affected by gun violence. As nearly everyone in the packed hearing room,…

On the First Anniversary of Wal-Mart v. Dukes:  Stand Up or Be Trampled

On the First Anniversary of Wal-Mart v. Dukes: Stand Up or Be Trampled

By Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:27am
Image above: Betty Dukes with Senator Al Franken. The author, Deborah Vagins, to the immediate right, joined by coalition partners.

Over a decade ago, I had the great honor to be part of a team representing Betty Dukes, an employee at Wal-Mart who…

Washington Gives Us Something to Get Excited About (No, Really!)

Washington Gives Us Something to Get Excited About (No, Really!)

By Jesselyn McCurdy, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 2:35pm

If you care about criminal justice reform, you're coming off a really good month in Washington. Don't believe me? Here's what you have to get excited about:

The U.S. Sentencing Commission released its preliminary report on the effectiveness…
Congress Gets to Work on Overincarceration

Congress Gets to Work on Overincarceration

By Alex Berger, Legislative Assistant, ACLU at 3:39pm

Last month, Congressmen Sensenbrenner and other members of the House Judiciary Committee announced a task force to address the ever increasing scope and breathe of the federal criminal system. This news drew cheers from activists, policy wonks and…

Senate Hearing Explores the Exorbitant Costs of Incarceration

Senate Hearing Explores the Exorbitant Costs of Incarceration

By Dan Zeidman, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:51pm

Over the last 30 years, the population of the federal prison system has increased exponentially – nearly 800 percent – largely due to the overrepresentation of those convicted of drug offenses, many of whom are low-level and non-violent.…

Federal Prisons Busting at the Seams: Sentencing Commission Should Prioritize Growing Prison Population

Federal Prisons Busting at the Seams: Sentencing Commission Should Prioritize Growing Prison Population

By Jesselyn McCurdy, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 2:54pm

The U.S. Sentencing Commission is in the process of determining the issues that it will prioritize 2013. The commission embarks on this process every year and invites the public to suggest what it thinks the commission should concentrate its efforts…

A PROMISE to End Youth Gun Violence

A PROMISE to End Youth Gun Violence

By Alex Berger, Legislative Assistant, ACLU at 11:19am

Open today’s newspaper, and I bet that you’ll find at least one story about gun violence. From Newtown to Chicago to Aurora, this last year has put a spotlight on the need to address this violence in a way that creates lasting change.

So…

Senate Homeland Security Committee Misses the Mark with Statement on DHS “Fusion Center” Program

Senate Homeland Security Committee Misses the Mark with Statement on DHS “Fusion Center” Program

By Kara Dansky, Senior Counsel, ACLU Center for Justice at 2:35pm

Last week, the Senate Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Investigations issued a report criticizing the Department of Homeland Security for its failure to ensure proper oversight over state and local “fusion centers.” …

Interrupting the Violence

Interrupting the Violence

By Dan Zeidman, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:00pm

Across the country, states are working to reform their juvenile justice systems in order to emphasize youth rehabilitation and violence prevention.  Just this past Thursday, the Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform for Georgians – which…