Washington Markup

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.
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…

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?

Of course you do.

As much as we'd like to pretend otherwise, money matters. And that's…

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…

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.

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…

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. …

U.S. Conference of Mayors Takes on HIV Criminalization

U.S. Conference of Mayors Takes on HIV Criminalization

By Steven Waddy, Legislative Assistant, ACLU at 9:56am

The REPEAL Act gained more influential supporters on Tuesday when the U.S. Conference of Mayors endorsed the bill. The REPEAL Act, sponsored by Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), represents a bipartisan effort to provide incentives…

Congress Could Save Tens of Thousands of Americans Today. Here's How.

Congress Could Save Tens of Thousands of Americans Today. Here's How.

By Alex Berger, Legislative Assistant, ACLU at 3:10pm

"Too many Americans go to too many prisons for too long for no good law enforcement reason."

That's what Attorney General Eric Holder said in an historic speech before the American Bar Association earlier this year. He was talking about people…

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…