Current Thinking

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Sep 15, 2015 When faced with the reality of the justice system’s impact on girls and the lack of reform efforts directed at girls’ unique pathways into the juvenile justice system, Russell Simmons—a longtime advocate for justice reform—acknowledged that he had not been paying close enough attention. “It is time to talk about our girls and criminal justice reform,” Simmons said in a recent Huffington Post blog post. “I have called for an end to mass incarceration...

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Sep 14, 2015 I learned this summer that New York families devastated by homicide are eligible to have the burial costs for their loved one paid for by victim services, but only if the deceased was an “innocent victim.” This means that if a victim were involved in illegal activity that led to his or her death, the family would not be eligible for these benefits. The implicit message of these requirements is clear: some lives matter more than others. The notion of an “...

Sep 11, 2015 On Thursday, Vice President Biden and Manhattan DA Cy Vance announced that they will put a combined $79 million toward addressing the vast number of untested rape kits that are held in crime labs and police agencies nationwide. However, these grants to more than 40 law enforcement agencies are expected to pay for just 70,000 kits—not nearly enough to clear the national backlog. How many untested kits are there? Nobody quite knows. One widely cited...

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Sep 10, 2015 Crime victims with disabilities—who routinely face significant access-related barriers to justice—experience additional and unique obstacles when an unrealistic standard of “innocent victimhood” is applied. The myth that there are expectations of what victims of sexual assault and domestic violence should do and how they should respond results in greater disparity in the pursuit of criminal justice for the millions of people with disabilities and Deaf...

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Sep 4, 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. Susan Guidry is the City Councilmember for District “A” and chair of the council's Criminal Justice Committee.   “I’ll bail you out”—we say that phrase so often it has become an idiom divorced from meaning. The concept of having to pay to...

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Sep 3, 2015 When speaking about human trafficking to audiences, I often ask them to describe their idea of a victim. I regularly hear the same tropes that dominate media and popular dialogue: cisgendered women (those who identify as the gender they were assigned at birth), naive and lacking agency, who experience trafficking as an isolated disruption from an otherwise idyllic life. In essence, they are manifestations of innocence. But these narratives often fail to...

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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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