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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.

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New Guidelines Could Help Many Pregnant Workers

Posted on Jul 23 , 2014 in News

New Guidelines Could Help Many Pregnant Workers, Time, July 16, 2014.

Excerpt: “New federal guidelines on job discrimination against pregnant workers could have a big impact on the workplace and in the courtroom. The expanded rules adopted by the bipartisan Equal Employment Opportunity Commission make clear that any form of workplace discrimination or harassment against pregnant workers by employers is a form of sex discrimination — and illegal.” Click here for full article.

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Study: Little Progress for African-American Men on Racial Equality Since 1970

Posted on Jul 23 , 2014 in News

Study: Little Progress for African-American Men on Racial Equality Since 1970, Time, Justin Worland, July 14, 2014.

Excerpt: “The study uses census data to show that more than 10% of black men in their 30s will be incarcerated at some point during a calendar year. This number was around 2% for white males of the same age group. The study attributes the corrosive impact of incarceration on the African-American community, at least in part, to the institution of more punitive criminal-justice policies. African-American men also appear to face a more difficult employment situation. More than a third of African-American men between the ages of 25 and 49 lacked employment in 2010.” Click here for full article.

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Is ‘intelligent individual’ too brainy for jail?

Posted on Jul 18 , 2014 in News

 Is ‘intelligent individual’ too brainy for jail?, Times Union, Chris Churchill, July 12, 2014.

Excerpt: “”What Judge Lynch said points to a cultural bias that exists in the court system,” said Alice Green, executive director of the Albany-based Center for Law and Justice. “What the judge is essentially saying is, ‘Here is what I value.’ And that works for this defendant. But what about those defendants who haven’t had the same opportunities?””Click here for full article.

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California Court Ruling Shakes Up Fate of Death Penalty

Posted on Jul 18 , 2014 in News

California Court Ruling Shakes Up Fate of Death Penalty, The Take Away, John Hockenberry, July 18, 2014.

Excerpt: “The death penalty in California has been on the rocks since a 2006 moratorium halted all executions. But on Wednesday, a federal judge went a step further. U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney ruled that the death penalty was unconstitutional—he overturned the death sentence of Ernest Dewayne Jones, a man convicted of the rape and murder of his girlfriend’s mother and sentenced to death in 1992. Judge Carney argues that the lack of certainty over when, and more importantly if an execution will take place at all constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. About 40 percent of the state’s 748 death row inmates have been there for more than 19 years. The ruling did not make a statement on the constitutionality of the death penalty itself.” Click here for full discussion.

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Why Poor Schools Can’t Win at Standardized Testing

Posted on Jul 16 , 2014 in News

Why Poor Schools Can’t Win at Standardized Testing, The Atlantic, Meredith Broussard, July 15, 2014.

Excerpt: “When a problem exists in Philadelphia schools, it generally exists in other large urban schools across the nation. One of those problems—shared by districts in New York, D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles, and other major cities—is that many schools don’t have enough money to buy books. The School District of Philadelphia recently tweeted a photo of Mayor Michael Nutter handing out 200,000 donated books to K-3 students. Unfortunately, introducing children to classic works of literature won’t raise their abysmal test scores. This is because standardized tests are not based on general knowledge. As I learned in the course of my investigation, they are based on specific knowledge contained in specific sets of books: the textbooks created by the test makers.” Click here for full article.

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Why Don’t You Ever See TV Interviews With Inmates?

Posted on Jul 16 , 2014 in News

Why Don’t You Ever See TV Interviews With Inmates?, The Atlantic, Adrian Shirkjul, July 15, 2014.

Excerpt: “Since Pell v. Procunier, access to inmates has diminished steadily from coast to coast. In 2013, media-access scholar Jessica Pupovac noted in The Crime Report that today, “at least five states (Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Michigan) make any access the exception to the rule” and that Kansas and Michigan flat out refuse to arrange interviews with specific inmates. In Florida, Kansas, Michigan, New York, and New Hampshire, inmates must “put reporters on their visitation or phone call list if they wish to speak to them, thus forfeiting a visit or call with family or friends.” In Wyoming, officials can screen all questions ahead of time, and if an interview veers from the approved list, a minder can end it. Even state correctional departments that don’t explicitly deny media access to specific inmates still have sanction under Pell to make ad-hoc restrictions and deny access on a case-by-case basis. Meanwhile, the California State Correctional Manual remains unchanged. Click here for full article.

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Assata Shakur: from civil rights activist to FBI’s most-wanted

Posted on Jul 16 , 2014 in News

Assata Shakur: from civil rights activist to FBI’s most-wanted, The Guardian, Bim Adewunmi, July 13, 2o14.

Excerpt: “In the early hours of 2 May 1973, Assata Shakur was stopped on the New Jersey Turnpike by a state trooper named James Harper, allegedly for driving with a faulty rearlight. In the car with Shakur were fellow Black Liberation Army (BLA) members Zayd Malik Shakur and Sundiata Acoli. In a second patrol car was Trooper Werner Foerster. Minutes after they pulled over, both Zayd Malik Shakur and Trooper Foerster were dead, and Assata and Trooper Harper were shot and wounded. In 1977, Shakur was convicted on one murder charge and six assault charges and sentenced to life in prison. She escaped in 1979 with the assistance of BLA members posing as visitors, and has been a fugitive ever since. Last year, the FBIplaced the 66-year-old on its list of the top 10 most-wanted terrorists.” Click here for full article.

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Missouri poised to execute sixth inmate in 2014 despite fresh doubts

Posted on Jul 16 , 2014 in News

Missouri poised to execute sixth inmate in 2014 despite fresh doubts, The Guardian, Ed Pilkington, July 14, 2014.

Excerpt: “The state of Missouri is hours away from executing its sixth prisoner this year despite new evidence that raises doubts about the inmate’s culpability in the three 1995 murders for which he was put on death row. Barring eleventh-hour intervention by the courts, John Middleton, 54, will be killed by lethal injection at 12.01am on Wednesday morning for crimes that he insists he did not commit. His legal team has uncovered new evidence that they believe not only gives him a rock-solid alibi but also incriminates two other men who they name in legal documents.” Click here for more information.

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The Children of the Drug Wars

Posted on Jul 16 , 2014 in News

The Children of the Drug Wars, The New York Times, Sonia Nazario, July 11, 2014.

Excerpt: “Children still leave Honduras to reunite with a parent, or for better educational and economic opportunities. But, as I learned when I returned to Nueva Suyapa last month, a vast majority of child migrants are fleeing not poverty, but violence. As a result, what the United States is seeing on its borders now is not an immigration crisis. It is a refugee crisis.” Click here for full article.