Washington Markup

How to Save $24 Billion and Fix Our Broken Justice System

How to Save $24 Billion and Fix Our Broken Justice System

By Meghan Groob, Media Strategist, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:19pm
Here's a hypothetical for you: Someone approaches you on the street and offers you a big stack of cash with no strings attached. Do you take it?
The 1980s Called. They Want Their Mandatory Minimums Back.

The 1980s Called. They Want Their Mandatory Minimums Back.

By Jesselyn McCurdy, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Sarah Solon, Communications Strategist, ACLU at 2:27pm

Senator Leahy closed this morning’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on mandatory minimums by asking everyone in the room with a loved one serving a mandatory minimum to stand up. The whole audience stood.

This was a poignant display of…

What Crack Cocaine Teaches Us About NSA Reform

What Crack Cocaine Teaches Us About NSA Reform

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:41am

This piece originally ran at POLITICO Magazine.

This week, Patrick Leahy, the Democratic senator from Vermont, introduced a revised version of the USA Freedom Act, a bill to finally start pulling the reins on America's out-of-control surveillance…

Groundbreaking Senate Hearing Shines a Light on the School-to-Prison Pipeline

Groundbreaking Senate Hearing Shines a Light on the School-to-Prison Pipeline

By Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Kimberly Humphrey, Washington Legislative Office at 10:23am

Tomorrow, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights will hold a landmark hearing entitled, Ending the School-to-Prison Pipeline. It is the first time a congressional panel will look at this disturbing…

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.

When Kiera mixed several household chemicals together in a…

Border Patrol Must Stop Hiding the Truth About Its Uses of Force

Border Patrol Must Stop Hiding the Truth About Its Uses of Force

By Chris Rickerd, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:24am

Border Patrol agents work in dangerous situations which can lead to tragic consequences like the shooting death and wounding of agents in Arizona this week.  There is no justification for such violence targeting law enforcement officers. …

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…

Manufacturing a “Black Separatist” Threat and Other Dubious Claims: Bias in Newly Released FBI Terrorism Training Materials

By Michael German, Senior Policy Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:31pm

In a throwback to the J. Edgar Hoover-era COINTELPRO investigations targeting civil rights and anti-war activists, the FBI is now training its agents to be on the lookout for "Black Separatist" terrorists, according to FBI training materials released today by the ACLU. These new disclosures, obtained through Freedom of Information Act litigation, are the latest in a growing flood of FBI training materials that include factually flawed and biased information.

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…

Seeing Is Believing: Bipartisan Criminal Justice Reform Is Possible

Seeing Is Believing: Bipartisan Criminal Justice Reform Is Possible

By Jennifer Bellamy, Washington Legislative Office & Dan Zeidman, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 6:38pm

In 2009, Terry Collins, then Director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, explained, “We are at a critical and urgent stage. If current trends continue, our research indicates the population will reach nearly 60,000 inmates by…