Current Thinking

a forum for ideas, opinions, and strategies on justice policy and practice

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Aug 28, 2015 */ The Justice in Katrina's Wake blog series reflects on New Orleans' local incarceration practices, the movement to foster fairness in its criminal justice system, and efforts to increase safety for all communities. Flozell Daniels is the president and CEO of Foundation for Louisiana, an organization dedicated to reducing vulnerability and building stronger, more sustainable communities across the state.   As we mark ten years since Hurricane Katrina...

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Aug 26, 2015 I am asked daily why The California Endowment—a health foundation where I serve as a program director—is interested in criminal justice reform. I now have an answer that doesn’t require me to say one word. The Endowment and the American Public Health Association (APHA) created the video you see below to show the painful impact mass incarceration has on the health of our communities and communities of color in particular. Since the 1980s, justice policy...

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Aug 19, 2015 In the last 10 years, heroin use among women has doubled, yet few drug treatment programs consider women’s unique needs and current punitive drug policies disproportionately entangle women of color and economically disadvantaged women in cycles of arrest, incarceration, and poverty. Heroin use has increased dramatically in the past decade among all income levels and most age groups. From 2002 to 2013, the rate of heroin-related overdose deaths nearly...
Aug 13, 2015 I recently had the privilege of visiting with a group of college students in Michigan to discuss their experiences in higher education. Prior to my visit, I knew that this group of students was impressive on paper: they make up 4 percent of the Jackson College population, yet 27 percent of the school’s dean’s list, and their average GPA is 3.67. As an undergraduate myself, I am in awe of such accomplishments, and even more so given the fact that these...

Aug 10, 2015 When mothers who act as primary caregivers serve time in prison, the loss of emotional and tangible support they provide—in the form of regular caretaking, income, housing, and more—can have a traumatic and disruptive impact on their families and communities. In recent years, this impact has garnered the attention of policymakers locally and nationwide, who have proposed—and piloted—diversion programs as a necessary alternative to incarceration for...

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Aug 6, 2015 The numbers released earlier this week by the Bureau of Justice Statistics paint a grim picture. Suicide—as it has been every year since BJS began collecting data in 2001—is the leading single cause of death for people incarcerated in local jails, accounting for a third of all facility deaths in 2013. This is a 9 percent increase from 2012. Local governments and departments of corrections, however, should not accept this as a lamentable, but insurmountable...

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Aug 4, 2015 Last year, attention surrounding unaccompanied youth reached a fevered pitch. Traveling alone and often fleeing escalating violence in their home countries, unaccompanied youth—undocumented minors under the age of 18 who are in the United States without a parent or legal guardian to provide them with care or custody—became front page news. By the end of the fiscal year, nearly 70,000 youth had been apprehended by immigration authorities at the U.S.-Mexican...

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