The Marshall Project Launches!

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Today, we are excited to introduce The Marshall Project, a nonprofit news organization that is dedicated to reporting issues within the criminal justice system. In a recent NY Times Article the innovative founder, Bill Keller, said that, “criminal justice is a vast topic that I plan to tackle with ambitious projects, quicker daily articles on news events and a newsletter.” The Marshall Project aims to provide readers with an accurate, unbiased view of hot topics, ranging from law enforcement to immigration, and drug policies. Articles will feature pieces written by people inside prisons and jails across the nation, as well as interviews with corrections officers and police officers who work in our growing criminal justice system.

One of The Marshall Project’s recent articles, “Is Mass Incarceration Going Away?” presents statistics showing that in 28 states, Officials expect their inmate populations to rise in the next four years. To combat this alarming trend, states like Alabama, whose prison system is currently at 190%, have been looking into reform policies that will help lower the number of its inmates. Though this news is disappointing, given the changing tides we all hope for in light of Prop 47, it is important for us all to hear. We thank the Marshall Project for bringing clear insight to the discussion.

In “Waiting for Ferguson,” Andrew Cohen writes that although the grand jury’s decision in the Michael Brown shooting has not yet been released, the nation can expect the law to be biased in favor of the police force. Rarely have there been cases where police officers are convicted of wrongdoing, because they are given such broad discretion in determining the “reasonable” way to act in a certain situation. The article helps bring to light the important, disparate linkage between race and incarceration, at a critical time for our nation.

“Men Who Should Have Been Free,” is a thought-provoking piece in which Taryn Simon documents photographs of inmates who have been wrongfully committed to death row. In a series of powerful photographs, the men are taken back to sites where they have been said to have committed their respective crimes. Seeing their faces and hearing their stories brings home the grave impact of incarceration that is easy for those who have not been in the system to ignore.

At Root & Rebound, we are inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit of Bill Keller and all the reporters at The Marshall Project, and their commitment to bring fair reporting to such sensitive criminal justice issues at this critical time. We will follow the news site closely and encourage you to do the same!

– The R&R Team

Root & Rebound’s panel at Stanford’s Shaking the Foundations Legal Conference

“When you get released and you have nothing–who do you turn to?” Eric Borchert.

Eric was recently released from state prison after decades in prison and he knows all to well the barriers in reentry and the sense of frustration and fear in navigating them. We have written about Eric’s story in a previous Root & Rebound newsletter that you can read here. Although Borchert was lucky to have the support of family, friends and Root & Rebound, many individuals who have been incarcerated do not have access to these support systems and can find themselves in cycles of poverty, homelessness and incarceration. That’s why Eric agreed to be on the recent panel hosted by Root & Rebound at Stanford’s Shaking the Foundations Legal Conference on Overcoming Legal Barriers After Incarceration – so he could spread the word to lawyers, law students, policy makers and the wider public – on the legal and social barriers people face in reentry.

The Panelists were: Elie Miller, R&R Senior Advisor, Eric Borchert, R&R Client, and Katherine Katcher, R&R Founder and Executive Director. The panel discussed the various collateral consequences that individuals confront upon returning to the community from prison or jail and the legal advocacy tools that we utilize to give people a meaningful second chance in society.

Please watch, and ask any questions you might have here about the work, our model, or larger systemic issues! We would love the opportunity to interact with you through Q&A!