Reps. Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene decried jail conditions in D.C. but remain silent about a settlement in Prince George’s County.
In the U.S., court hearings are generally public. This was intended to ensure that justice was administered in the open and with public knowledge. But, most people have never been inside of a courtroom, and their perceptions of what happens in court too often come from television or movies. Court-watching programs ensure scrutiny and evaluation.…
Chopping it up with Chairman Blumberg and his commissioners today at the parole commission in a 2-hour meeting – trying to free our people through parole. The work never stops, especially when you love what you do. “I love what I do” I represent “Qiana at Life After Release”, I represent “myself at Helping Ourselves…
For the past two years, pop singer Fiona Apple has volunteered with Courtwatch PG, the largest court watch program in the country, to observe legal proceedings in Prince George’s County, Maryland, from her home in Los Angeles.
In a 20-page report released this week, Howard University law students urged Md. lawmakers to pass a law that would mandate public virtual access to court proceedings
A group of volunteer court observers across the country is coming together to launch a new national network to observe bail review hearings and other legal proceedings. Join Courtwatch PG director Carmen Johnson and Grammy-winning artist Fiona Apple, a volunteer court observer in Prince George’s County, Md., to discuss their push for more transparency and accountability in courtrooms nationwide.
We are excited to announce that the Helping Ourselves to Transform fundraising store has gone live. With each purchase, you are helping this organization to continue to provide services and support to our returning brothers and sisters. 100% of the proceeds go directly to these efforts so please don’t hesitate to add something to your…
A private prison in Arizona recently sued the state for having a lack of prisoners. For the sake of saving over $16 million in back pay, the state settled by paying the private prison $3 million. Arizona essentially paid a company $3 million because not enough people are committing crimes.
Once jailed, these women now hold courts accountable — with help from students, retirees and Fiona Apple
From her makeshift home office on the island in her kitchen, Carmen Johnson picked up her phone and dialed the number for the clerk of the court, beginning what had become her near-daily ritual since the pandemic upended the legal system and forced courts to go virtual.
In the United States, we owe formerly incarcerated people. This fact is abundantly clear when you evaluate the status quo. A person who completes their sentenced punishment after being found guilty has paid their debt to society. Unfortunately, laws across the country force formerly incarcerated people to continue to pay for their misconduct long after their release from the criminal legal system. These collateral consequences of incarceration are often unrelated to the person’s crime and dramatically hinder the reentry process. Cultural stigma, legal discrimination, and enhanced trauma describe the reality for hundreds of thousands of people in America because “free” society continues to make formerly incarcerated people pay. Hence, we owe them.
Since August of 2020, the Movement Lawyering Clinic (“the Clinic”) at Howard University School of Law has observed bond hearings in Prince George’s County District Court. The impetus of this project came from reports and a lawsuit from Civil Rights Corps, alleging that PG County’s jail was overcrowded, unsanitary, at risk of a COVID-19 breakout, and teeming with pre-trial defendants, many who are charged with non-violent crimes.1 The Clinic decided to observe PG County bond hearings to determine the extent of pre-trial detention in the County, or more specifically, who was being put in pre-trial detention and why.
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed an omnibus criminal justice package that (among several victories) makes Illinois the tenth state to end prison gerrymandering. HB3653 ensures that, beginning in 2030, people in state prisons will be counted as residents of their home addresses when new legislative districts are drawn.
What makes people more or less likely to succeed upon release? Readers looking for recidivism data should note that relying too much on rates of recidivism (as opposed to other indicators of success after prison) can result in incomplete conclusions, because recidivism data is skewed by inconsistencies in policing, charging, and supervision.
Returning from prison and jail is hard during normal times — it’s even more difficult during COVID-19
The very same obstacles that make it hard for people released from prison to succeed — homelessness, a lack of transportation, barriers to healthcare, and more — also make it harder to stay safe from the coronavirus.
Can it really be true that most people in jail are being held before trial? And how much of mass incarceration is a result of the war on drugs? These questions are harder to answer than you might think, because our country’s systems of confinement are so fragmented. The various government agencies involved in the justice system collect a lot of critical data, but it is not designed to help policymakers or the public understand what’s going on. As public support for criminal justice reform continues to build, however, it’s more important than ever that we get the facts straight and understand the big picture.