Current Thinking

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

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Aug 31, 2015 The Gender & Justice in America blog series explores issues facing justice-involved women and girls in the fields of adult corrections, youth justice, immigration, victimization, substance use, and mental health. People visit the Mecklenberg-Western Pomerania region of northeastern Germany to see its sparkling lakes, sweeping fields, and charming coastal towns that flood with tourists in the summer. Most people do not go there to visit the...

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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 24, 2015 There is an important course correction happening in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina. The tragedies wreaked by the levee failures on poor communities was paralleled by a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to mitigate another harm those communities suffered repeatedly, a tragic overuse of local incarceration. The people of New Orleans and government leaders are seizing that opportunity. Before Katrina, and for most of the 10 years after, New Orleans...

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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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