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, commentaries, and media clips that we’ve been following throughout the week. We welcome your thoughts and feedback, so don’t be shy!
1.) HEAR IT: New Yorker reporter’s account of her interviews with Kalief Browder (NPR)
Jennifer Gonnerman, a reporter for the New Yorker, spoke to NPR’s Robert Siegel about Kalief Browder’s death. Browder, a 22-year-old man who spent three years incarcerated at Rikers Island without a trial or conviction, took his life on Saturday.
Gonnerman read a quote from Browder, who explained his emotions following his release by saying, “I’m mentally scarred right now. That’s how I feel. There are certain things that changed about me and they might not go back.”
For Gonnerman’s original New Yorker article, see: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/10/06/before-the-law
For Gonnerman’s second New Yorker article following Browder’s suicide, see: http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/kalief-browder-1993-2015
2.) SEE IT: S.F. sheriff sets lowest age in California for kids to visit loved ones in jail (SF Gate)
Sheriff signs into action policy that would lower the age limit and allow 16-year-olds to make solo visits with loved ones in San Francisco county jail.
“Mirkarimi said he decided on the policy change after consulting advocacy organizations for incarcerated parents and their children, as well as seeing the results of a systemwide survey of inmates that found that at any given time, there are more than 1,000 children in San Francisco with a parent in county jail.”
3.) WATCH IT: Hundreds Rally at the State House for Criminal Justice Reform (22 News WWLP)
Hundreds of people showed up at the Massachusetts State House in Boston in support of repealing mandatory minimum sentencing for drug convictions.
“Mandatory minimums have not lessened the use of drugs, the distribution on drugs. In fact, it’s no less distributed now than when the war on drugs started.” -Ben Swan (D-Springfield)
4.) READ IT: Who Gets to Go to the Pool? (New York Times)
“Water has long been a site of racial anxiety. Integrating city pools has led to riots, such as in 1931, when young black men in Pittsburgh were held underwater, dragged out and beaten by white swimmers while police officers watched. Segregated beaches were an early battleground for integration in Mississippi. When more than 100 black people held a wade-in in 1960, a white mob attacked them with pool sticks, lead pipes and chains.”
5.) DEBATE IT: Stalled DNA collection bill is revived in Legislature (LA Times)
“The measure, by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles), would allow for DNA collection of people charged with a serious felony. It’s meant to be a back-up for the state’s current DNA collection law, which was struck down by a state appellate court last year. The law, which was approved by voters as Proposition 69 in 2004, remains in place pending a ruling from the California Supreme Court.”
- Main argument for the measure: Public safety and crime prevention
“If you get arrested and you’re involved in [homicides or sex crimes], there’s a certain right [to privacy] that you lose.” -Assemblyman Jim Cooper, D-Elk Grove
- Main argument against the measure: Violation of privacy and a slippery slope to mass surveillance
“[You’ve] started down a road where you’ve erased any balance between the legitimate needs of law enforcement and individual rights.” -Jeremy Gruber, President of the Council for Responsible Genetics
See also: An analysis of recent court rulings on Criminal DNA Collection at http://gizmodo.com/the-future-of-criminal-dna-collection-in-2015-1677703405
6.) CELEBRATE IT: Long Beach man overcomes criminal past to earn degree, help others (Press-Telegram)
Rodney Coulter, a Long Beach man who was kicked out of two high schools and spent time in prison for drug charges, earned his associate’s degree in Human Services from the Long Beach City College on Wednesday. Coulter uses his lived experiences to teach others what he’s learned.
“Coulter has spoken to more than 5,000 people, and in the last year has delivered presentations more than 40 times, bringing an anti-gang and anti-crime message, and teaching people what to do if stopped by a police officer (obey, be calm, follow instructions, he says). …In prison, he reflected on his legacy — the kind of man he would be remembered as by his two daughters, his three grandchildren and a great-grandchild. And he made a promise to his father, that he would one day get his son back.”
Report of the week: Advancing a Federal Fair Chance Hiring Agenda (NELP)
In the spirit of NELP’s #BanTheBox action on June 10th, this week’s report is from NELP’s campaign to eliminate employment discrimination against formerly incarcerated people. This report focuses on the ways that local and state reforms are paving the way for presidential action on this topic.
Quote of the week: Carmen Perez (MSNBC)
“Rikers wasn’t a place for Kalief [Browder]. It’s not a place for the 10,000 teenagers currently residing in adult facilities across America.” -Carmen Perez, Executive Director of the Gathering for Justice