Most U.S. cities are sitting on thousands of backlogged rape kits that have gone untested. Yet in 2010, Houston (under newly elected Mayor Annise Parker) began an effort that ultimately eliminated its own staggering backlog of 16,000.Read More
Millions of families of arrested individuals do not know what to do to help, how to obtain a lawyer, or what the process entails in the court system. Created by Albert Cobarrubius Justice Project, participatory defense is a type of community organizing that teaches and empowers people who face criminal charges. Individuals know how to work with attorneys in order to navigate the system and ultimately feel equipped to become drivers of their own change.Read More
Across the country, jails hold 10 times as many people with serious mental illness as state hospitals do, according to a recent report from the Treatment Advocacy Center. To deal with the problem, San Antonio and Bexar County have transformed their mental health system into a program considered a model for the rest of the nation - the effort has focused on an idea called "smart justice" — basically, diverting people with serious mental illness out of jail and into treatment instead.Read More
Many offenders get out of jail owing hundreds or thousands of dollars in court and parole fees but face barriers to financing and job acquisition, sticking them in a punitive, vicious cycle of debt and arrest. A program called the Clapham Set, perhaps paired with conditional cash transfers - may be a solution, as it erases fees for felons who complete rehab and job training upon release.Read More
Felons get out of jail owing hundreds or thousands of dollars in court and parole fees, acting as an often insurmountable barrier preventing them from reintegrating into society and staying out of jail. What's worse, these fees often end up costing the state more than they produce. Two columns on a program called the Clapham Set, which erases or reduces debts for felons who take classes and job training.Read More
Lawyers and activists are educating residents in cities across the country on encounters with law enforcement. Know Your Rights training programs have been held by lawyers and community activists in neighborhoods in urban cities nationwide, designed to help residents understand the limits of police authority.Read More
In the courtroom known as Part Two, at the Newark Municipal Courthouse, Judge Victoria Pratt is pioneering the procedural justice approach, and is getting results. The idea, now central to conversations around reform of the US criminal justice system, is simple: "people are far more likely to obey the law if the justice system does not humiliate them, but treats them fairly and with respect."Read More
Many years of work to improve juvenile-detention centers in Mississippi may curb recidivism rates by increasing the quality of life in detention. Despite those efforts, however, centers might still be unable to give detained students what they need the most—a quality education.Read More
Across the country, new criminal justice campaigns are seeking to redefine how criminal records are both accessed and interpreted. Given that current crime histories fail to denote context and stories of culmination, these new products are seeking to both delay the effect criminal convictions have, as well as reshape how criminal records are recorded.Read More
Historically, police interrogations of suspects have been brutal and have involved torture. These strategies have also produced a high rate of false confessions. The HIG method, which encourages conversation in a comfortable environment, has shown to be successful in revealing the truth and incarcerating the convicted with confidence.Read More
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