Current Thinking

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

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Jan 7, 2016 I began my career by serving in different settings as a voice for system-involved youth—on advisory boards and oversight committees locally and nationally. In that short time, I’ve noticed that youth engagement, while well-intentioned, can fall into avoidable pitfalls. Some youth engagement efforts are superficial—they include a small number of young people (sometimes only one) in reform conversations—through advisory boards, taskforces, or councils—to...

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Jan 4, 2016 A new study—co-authored by the University of Massachusetts Medical School, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and the Centers for Disease Control—confirms what past research and anecdotal evidence in the field of abuse of people with disabilities have long suggested: men with disabilities experience higher lifetime rates of sexual violence than men without disabilities. Specifically, the researchers found that men with a disability were more...

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Dec 30, 2015 It’s early Tuesday morning and I am on a flight to the Detroit-Metro Airport. Due to weather conditions, the flight is being delayed. As the plane sits on the runway at Newark Liberty International Airport, I am second guessing my participation in this trip. I am accompanying my colleagues Rebecca Silber and Sean Addie to Michigan to meet with our partners and students of the Pathways from Prison to Postsecondary Education Project. Thirty minutes have...

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Dec 28, 2015 A recent decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit established that an immigrant is constitutionally entitled to a bond hearing within six months of being detained and must be released on bond unless the government provides compelling evidence that he or she is a flight risk or danger to the community. This important decision was the result of representation provided by the groundbreaking New York Immigrant Family Unity Project...

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Dec 16, 2015 The Addressing the Overuse of Segregation in U.S. Prisons and Jails blog series features the voices of various perspectives—from corrections officials and academic experts to advocates and formerly incarcerated people—examining the issues presented by the use of segregated housing and discussing promising strategies for reform.   In the United States, there are between 80,000 and 100,000 people confined to prison cells the size of parking spots and...

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Dec 14, 2015 Last year, I outed myself as an inveterate Bravophile[1] when I pointed out the interesting—if accidental—work that The Real Housewives of New Jersey did to illuminate what it’s like to wait for incarceration to begin. What I didn’t expect (and probably should have) is that the sad spectacle of watching Teresa and Joe Giudice await sentencing was not a fluke storyline. As that season of RHONJ drew to a close, a new season of The Real Housewives of Atlanta...

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Dec 11, 2015 John and Sam were trapped in a vicious cycle of incarceration. When money was scarce, John would make Sam’s court payment instead of his own so she could stay out of jail and care for their child. It was a heartbreaking choice that he made more than once. John has been incarcerated four times for failure to pay fines and costs—each time for 10 days. Even though John and Sam were on the brink of homelessness, the court never asked about their financial...

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