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At Behest of Judge, U.S. Shortens Man’s 57-Year Mandatory Sentence

Posted on Jul 30 , 2014 in News

At Behest of Judge, U.S. Shortens Man’s 57-Year Mandatory Sentence, The New York Times, Monique O. Madan, July 29, 2014.

Excerpt: “A Queens man who had been serving a 57-year mandatory federal prison sentence was resentenced on Tuesday to time served, capping a judge’s extraordinary efforts to undo the damage from what he believed was a grossly excessive sentence.” Click here for full article

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Why Target stopped asking job applicants if they’ve been convicted of a crime

Posted on Jul 30 , 2014 in News

Why Target Stopped Asking Job Applicants If They’ve Been Convicted of a Crime, YES! Magazine, Nur Lalji, July 18, 2014. 

Excerpt: “In most cases, “ban the box” policies do not stop potential employers from conducting criminal background checks, but instead delay the process until an employer has had the opportunity to get to know the employee’s qualifications first, usually through at least one face-to-face interview. Click here for full article.

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What 28-Years of Solitary Confinement Does to the Mind

Posted on Jul 30 , 2014 in News

What 28-Years of Solitary Confinement Does to the Mind, TIME, Alexandra Sifferlin, July 29, 2014.

Excerpt: “Though the impact of solitary confinement can differ person to person, there are some basic symptoms that are particularly widespread among inmates. Prisoners of long-term confinement—which Kupers says that’s about three months, though for some effects start to appear much sooner—often experience high anxiety that can cause panic attacks, paranoia and disordered thinking, as well as anger and compulsive actions, like pacing or repeatedly cleaning the cell. Basic cognitive functions are also dulled.” Click here for full article.

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The difference between legalisation and decriminalisation

Posted on Jul 30 , 2014 in News

The difference between legalisation and decriminalisation, The Economist, July 18, 2014. 

Excerpt: “The war on cannabis seems to be slowly burning out. On June 12th Jamaica announced that it plans to decriminalise possession of small amounts of the drug. Several countries, including Mexico and Portugal, have already taken this step, and many others are considering it: last week the West Africa Commission on Drugs, appointed by the Kofi Annan Foundation, published a report arguing that minor drug offences should be decriminalised. Meanwhile, a handful of other jurisdictions—so far only Uruguay and the states of Colorado and Washington—have taken a different approach, not decriminalising but instead legalising cannabis. Many people mistakenly use the terms “legalisation” and “decriminalisation” interchangeably. What is the difference?” click here for full article. 

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Bipartisan Panel Seeks Voting Rights Restoration

Posted on Jul 28 , 2014 in News

Bipartisan Panel Seeks Voting Rights Restoration, Brennan Center for Justice, July 24, 2014.

Excerpt: “Millions of Americans have lost the right to vote, and their political voice, because of a criminal conviction in their past. Bipartisan momentum is forming on Capitol Hill to change that.On Tuesday, U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) (left) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) (right) joined a panel of experts from the faith, law enforcement, and civil rights communities, as well as affected individuals, to explore ways to bring more citizens back into our democracy.” Click here for full newsletter.

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Joseph Wood: Arizona murderer dies almost two hours after execution begins

Posted on Jul 25 , 2014 in News

Joseph Wood: Arizona murderer dies almost two hours after execution begins, The Guardian, Ed Pilkington, July 24, 2014.

Excerpt: “The controversy engulfing the death penalty in the United States escalated on Wednesday when the state of Arizona took almost two hours to kill a prisoner using an experimental concoction of drugs whose provenance it had insisted on keeping secret. Joseph Wood took an hour and 58 minutes to die after he was injected with a relatively untested combination of the sedative midazolam and painkiller hydromorphone. The procedure took so long that his lawyers had time to file an emergency court motion in an attempt to have it stopped. For more than an hour, he was seen to be “gasping and snorting”, according to the court filing.” click here for full article.

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Calls for NYPD chokehold investigation grow after funeral for Eric Garne

Posted on Jul 25 , 2014 in News

Calls for NYPD chokehold investigation grow after funeral for Eric Garner, The Guardian, Lauren Gambino, July 24, 2o14.

Excerpt: “Garner died last Thursday after a police officer wrestled him to the ground outside a beauty parlor on Staten Island, in an effort to take him into custody on charges of selling illegal cigarettes. Medical examiners have not yet determined the cause of death, but police said he went into cardiac arrest on the drive to the hospital. In an electric speech, Sharpton argued that the officers involved in Garner’s death deserve to face harsher punishment. “The chokehold is illegal. But even if you lost your training memory, a man in your arm saying ‘I can’t breathe’ … when does your decency kick in? When does your morality kick in?” Sharpton shouted into the microphone.” Click here for full article.

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Every Execution in U.S. History in a Single Chart

Posted on Jul 25 , 2014 in News

Every Execution in U.S. History in a Single Chart, TIME, Chris Wilson, July 24, 2014.

Excerpt: “See the rise and fall of methods of capital punishment since 1700—from hanging to burning to lethal injection, including Wednesday’s botched execution in Arizona.” Click here for full article.

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Urge the DOJ to provide critical guidance on how the police engage with the deaf

Posted on Jul 25 , 2014 in News

Sign the Petition: Urge the DOJ to provide critical guidance on how the police engage with the deaf,

ACLU writes:

Being stopped by the police can be difficult for everyone. For those of us who are deaf, the experience can be far worse. For Pearl Pearson, a 64-year-old deaf man, a routine traffic stop led to a brutal assault by police. When an officer shouted instructions, he attempted to show the patrolman that he was deaf. That’s when the officer pulled him from his car and according to Pearson, beat him for not following verbal orders. The Department of Justice can help put an end to these tragedies. Police departments need up-to-date guidance and training from the DOJ on how law enforcement must interact with deaf and hard of hearing individuals, as obligated under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Click here to sign the petition to Attorney General Eric Holder

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War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing

Posted on Jul 23 , 2014 in News

War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing, ACLU, Report, June 23, 2014.

Excerpt: “Across the country, heavily armed Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams are forcing their way into people’s homes in the middle of the night, often deploying explosive devices such as flashbang grenades to temporarily blind and deafen residents, simply to serve a search warrant on the suspicion that someone may be in possession of a small amount of drugs. Neighborhoods are not war zones, and our police officers should not be treating us like wartime enemies. However, the ACLU encountered this type of story over and over when studying the militarization of state and local law enforcement agencies.”Click here for full report.