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Drug-War-Era Bans on Federal Benefits

According to the Marshall Project, “drug-war-era bans on benefits are [being] lifted” as the number of states still denying federal benefits to former drug felons is shrinking. 18 states have completely abandoned the federal prohibition on drug offenders receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits or food stamps, while 26 other states have partly eased […]

Computers for Inmates?

“Free computers for inmates? It’s latest deal at Sacramento County jail” is the headline of a recent Sacramento Bee article regarding the fact that 40 of the tablets have been in use at the Main Jail downtown for two months, and officials say they have had virtually no problems. Inmates have used them to take […]

Federal Drug Sentencings

As reported in the Washington Post, former U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. yesterday “urged Congress not to let slip away ‘a historic opportunity’ to overhaul federal drug sentencing laws and said lawmakers should consider further changes in House and Senate talks if pending legislation is approved.” Among a list of recommendations, Holder called […]

Therapy Dogs During Testimony

According to the Attorney Newsletter from the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, more and more courts have been allowing in recent years the use of therapy or comfort dogs to assist children and certain adults in the process of testifying in court and this year, two states (Arkansas and Illinois) have adopted […]

Federal Sentences for Nonviolent Crimes

The White House is preparing to push for legislation that would reduce federal sentences for nonviolent crimes. According to press secretary Josh Earnest, President Obama is expected to champion sweeping reform of the criminal justice system and present ideas to make the system “safer, fairer and more effective” during a speech to the NAACP annual […]

Transforming Prisons and Restoring Lives

The Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections issued numerous recommendations last week to reform the federal criminal justice system in a large report entitled “Transforming Prisons, Restoring Lives.” A primary goal highlighted in the recommendations is focused on Federal Corrections sending fewer low-level drug offenders to federal prison and also sentencing offenders to far […]

Federal Prison Population

Thanks to retroactive drug guidelines, federal prison population under 200,000 for first time in nearly a decade. Finally, we’re headed in the right direction!

Inmate Phone Rates

As referenced in the Washington Post today, federal regulators made sweeping new steps to lower the cost of calling jail and prison inmates in an effort to correct what some top officials have called an “egregious case of market failure” in inmate phone rates. The rules establish a ceiling for phone calls to jails and […]

Pope and the Death Penalty

In his speech before a joint session of Congress today, Pope Francis not only urged compassion for immigrants and refugees and sounded the alarm on climate change, but he also called for the abolition of the death penalty while Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, and Sotomayor listened in attendance.

Heroin Addiction and White Privilege

“Heroin addiction sent me to prison. White privilege got me out and to the Ivy League.” This is the provocative headline of a piece in the Washington Post about a senior at Cornell University who was arrested for heroin possession. As an addict (a condition that began during a deep depression), he was muddling his […]