Hello Friends. We’re back with our weekly feature–Pick 6. Our Pick 6 consists of 6 informative, insightful reentry & criminal justice-related news articles and commentaries that we’ve been following throughout the week. We welcome your thoughts and feedback, so don’t be shy!
1.) Nebraska Bans Death Penalty, Defying a Veto (New York Times)
“Nebraska on Wednesday became the first conservative state in more than 40 years to abolish the death penalty, with lawmakers defying their Republican governor, Pete Ricketts, a staunch supporter of capital punishment who had lobbied vigorously against banning it…Since 2007, six states have abolished the death penalty: Maryland, Connecticut, Illinois, New Mexico and New Jersey. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, a research group opposed to the death penalty, no conservative state has banned capital punishment since North Dakota in 1973.”
For more, see this New York Times Opinion Piece
“Hammered out over five months, the deal lays out broad changes to the department’s policies for use of force, incident investigations, and stops, searches and seizures. It calls for a civilian to lead the internal affairs division — a rare move — and for the creation of a police inspector general, to be appointed by the mayor. It will also train more officers to respond to people in mental health crisis and introduce training on structural racism and implicit bias.
It also calls for oversight. The process, which will be tracked by an independent monitor chosen jointly by the DOJ and the city, is legally binding and will conclude only when the city has demonstrated “sustained and substantial compliance” to a federal judge.”
3.) Louisiana Senate Approves Bill to Reform Draconian Marijuana Possession Law (Drug Policy Alliance)
“One of the key drivers of Louisiana’s world-leading incarceration rate is the war on drugs – 18,000 Louisiana residents are arrested for drug law violations each year…According to a 2013 report by the American Civil Liberties Union, Louisiana suffers from some of the worst racial disparities in marijuana enforcement of any state in the U.S. Black Louisianans are arrested for marijuana possession at 3 times the rate as their white counterparts, despite the fact that black and white people use and sell marijuana at similar rates.”
4.) 2nd Chance” Job Fair Gives Former Inmates New Chance at Life (Houston Forward Times Online)
“Over 30 companies participated in the Job Fair, where they distributed job applications and conducted on-the-spot interviews. Individuals were also on-site to assist job seekers with the interviewing skills and resume writing. Attorney Vivian King was on-hand to explain voting rights to attendees and to provide assistance with any legal questions.”
“There is no real pathway for people coming out of the joint,” Brown said. “You come out, get $200 and good luck. If you are black and have a sixth-grade education and you come out of prison, you can kiss your life goodbye. You are not going to get a job.”
6.) 8 Facts You Should Know About the Criminal Justice System and People of Color (Center for American Progress)
“People of color are extremely overrepresented in the juvenile justice system. According to a 2014 report on racial discrimination in America, juveniles of color represented 67 percent of “juveniles committed to public facilities nationwide,” nearly twice their share of the juvenile population. Despite comprising only 15 percent of the juvenile population, black juveniles were arrested two times more often than their white counterparts.”
Report of the week) Picking Up the Pieces – Policing in America, a Minneapolis Case Study (ACLU)