Photo courtesy of Bing

Don’t Celebrate Just Yet, The Private Prison Industry Will Still Thrive

On Thursday, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates announced in a memo that, over time, the DOJ will end its contracts with private prison companies that operate 13 facilities within the Bureau of Prisons (BOP). While this is a significant move given the times we live in, these contracts, with Corrections Corporation of America and GEO Group Inc., only account for 7% of the industry’s revenue.

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Women Jailed at a Faster Rate than Men, Two-Thirds are Women of Color

According to the New York Times, a new study from the Vera Institute of Justice shows that the number of women in jails in the United States is increasing more quickly than the number of men in jails. The majority of these women are black or Hispanic and many are also low-income. The study suggests the increasing rate of female inmates has been overlooked by criminal justice reform efforts.

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Ava Duvernay’s New Documentary on Mass Incarceration Will Change The Game

Ava Duvernay’s documentary, The 13th, will be the opening film at the New York Film Festival’s (NYFF) 54th Festival. It’s the first non-fiction film to open the event in the NYFF’s history; if you haven’t already, let us toast to Duvernay’s #BlackGirlMagic. I want to take it a step further though, I want to uplift Duvernay’s message.

The documentary is appropriately titled to address the ironies between the 13th Amendment that simultaneously “abolished” slavery and also created mass incarceration over time.

Black Lives Matter

This Is What Can Happen When Data Meets The Movement For Black Lives

On July 5, the number on The Guardian’s police killings ticker The Counted went up. On July 6, it went up again. The Guardian, like many other news outlets, with genuine intentions has made the effort to look at the numerous surveys, polls, and research behind racial disparities in policing in the country. My question is: who does the data usually benefit? Even more importantly: what is being done about it?

Travis Wise. Flickr.

Double Life Sentence for Double Murder: Is this Justice?

As reported in the AJC, seventeen-year-old Jaydon Lee Reid from Cobb County, Georgia was just given two life sentences and an additional fifteen years for the shooting of Terrence Banks and Sterling Hargrave when he was fourteen years old. While much work around juvenile justice and reducing prison sentences focuses on commuting the sentences or eliminating mandatory minimums for nonviolent offenders, it is essential for those troubled by the US police state to grapple with how society can justly respond to violent crimes, especially those committed by youths.

Image via Jim Beckwith

The Current State of Criminal Justice Reform: An Interview with Shaka Senghor

From POTUS, to the Hill, and even sheriffs, America’s legal and political powerhouses are finally confronting our overly punitive and discriminatory criminal justice system. The ever-growing list of the Department of Justice’s investigation into local policing practices has revealed a fuller realm of the effects of the 1994 crime bill. But as the wave of criminal justice reform takes the country by storm, will it reconcile racial injustice along the way? I spoke with Shaka Senghor, a formerly incarcerated man who is now an activist, author, and Director of Strategy for #Cut50, to get his perspective.

Shooting victim graduates college despite obstacles

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Nine years ago, Wilbert Taylor Jr.’s life changed forever when he was shot in the head and paralyzed. The 19-year-old was on break from Southern Illinois University, and was leaving a party on Chicago’s south side.

The shooting left Taylor in need of a wheelchair, and doctors told him he’d never walk again. Now, he’s preparing to walk across the stage Thursday to accept his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Chicago State University.