PUBLICATIONS 2018-02-08T21:55:49+00:00
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Rape and the Justice System: When Police Fail to Listen

Two Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters uncovered the trail of a serial rapist and two very different police investigations. TCR talks with one of the journalists who followed the story. Read More

The Hidden Costs of Pretrial Detention

If you are released ahead of your trial date, you’re 14 percent less likely to be found guilty, according to an American Economic Review study. Compared to those who can’t make bail and are held in pretrial detention, your economic outlook is better too, researchers concluded in a study of court records in Philadelphia and Miami-Dade counties. Read More

Rikers Island Activists Call for Bail Reform

Leaders of the campaign to close New York’s notorious Rikers Island jail are celebrating the announcement that one of the facility’s nine detention centers will be closed this year. But they said that fundamental justice change requires reform of the money bail system. Read More

Officer-Involved Shootings: Who’s Really to Blame?

The public and the media often demand swift punishment for cops identified in deadly use-of-force incidents. But a new research paper suggests that the best way of preventing future incidents is to look for the “root causes” of misbehavior in a police agency’s procedures and culture. Read More

The Lesson of Meek Mill: A Probation System ‘Set Up to Fail’

The Philadelphia rapper sent back to prison over a technical violation of his probation terms is just another example of how the resource-strained community supervision system sets former inmates—the majority of them young men of color- up for failure, writes a University of Minnesota professor. Read More

 Slow Down, Officer: An Experiment in ‘Building a Better Cop’

Can changing the way cops think on the job make communities trust them more? The results of a Seattle experiment that trained officers to gather and process information differently showed participants made fewer arrests and were involved in fewer use-of-force incidents, according to a study released Wednesday. Read More


A publication by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (

Prisoners in 2016. By E. Ann Carson. U.S. Dept. of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. Jan. 9, 2018. 36 p.




Racial disparities drop in criminal justice system after Prop. 47, study says

Report – pdf: An Analysis of Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Case Dispositions and Sentencing Outcomes for Criminal Cases Presented to and Processed by the Office of the San Francisco District Attorney

Significant racial disparities between African Americans and white people caught up in San Francisco’s criminal justice system have narrowed in the three-plus years since statewide Proposition 47 reduced some nonviolent felonies to misdemeanors, according to a study released Thursday.

ICE says it won’t make immigration sweeps at courthouses

Federal immigration officials, criticized for authorizing arrests at courthouses, say their agents will enter court buildings to seize specific immigrants but will not conduct sweeps in search of anyone else who is undocumented

Criminal Justice Reform in California: Implications for Public Safety and Disparities in Involvement with the Criminal Justice System (Livestream)   Wednesday, February 7 – 9:30 – 10:30 am

For decades, California’s incarceration rate moved in lock step with that of the nation, increasing nearly five-fold between the early 1970s and the mid-2000s.  Between 2010 and the present, however, California’s incarceration rate declined by nearly a quarter—to levels not seen since 1990.  These changes were driven by a series of remarkable policy shifts stemming not only from pressure by federal courts to reduce overcrowding, but also from shifts in public opinion regarding the proper use of incarceration as a crime control tool. This talk will detail the policies driving incarceration changes in California, the manner in which the state reduced prison and jail populations, and the effects of these changes on state crime rates and racial disproportionality in the California’s criminal justice system.

SF will wipe thousands of marijuana convictions off the books

San Francisco will retroactively apply California’s marijuana-legalization laws to past criminal cases, District Attorney George Gascón said Wednesday — expunging or reducing misdemeanor and felony convictions going back decades.

The unprecedented move will affect thousands of people whose marijuana convictions brand them with criminal histories that can hurt chances of finding jobs and obtaining some government benefits.



From the Legislative Analyst’s Office

Under “Policy Areas” (left column) Click on Criminal Justice

January 18, 2018

Recent Report Compares California Inmate Health Care Costs to Rest of Nation

December 6, 2017

Improving In-Prison Rehabilitation Programs


From the Pew Charitable Trust

Search “Public Safety”

Articles on:

Crime, Incarceration Rates Fall

Public Safety performance Project Report

Criminal Justice Reform Panel

Kentucky Mandatory Reentry Supervision

and others


ADDED 1/15


Promises to Native Americans on Justice Still Unfulfilled, says Federal Review

Nearly a decade after a 2010 federal law to improve public safety in “Indian Country,” the Justice Department and related agencies are failing to address native Americans’ concerns about crime and substance abuse on their lands, according to the department’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG). Read more

 ‘The Court of a Million Chances’

The Brooklyn (NY) Mental Health Court is an impressive example of how diversion to treatment and counseling can help the seriously mentally ill who run afoul of the law. But although such courts are spreading around the country, they represent only part of the solution. Read more

Death Penalty Decline Signals ‘Long-Term Change’ in Capital Punishment

With executions and death sentences at near-historic low levels so far this year, the U.S. is witnessing a “long-term change in capital punishment,” according to a report released Thursday by the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC). Read more

You’re Safer in a ‘Sanctuary City,’ says New Study

A California study rebuts arguments that urban counties which limit or refuse cooperation with immigration authorities in reporting undocumented immigrants are breeding grounds for crime. In particular, white residents of sanctuary cities are 62 percent less likely to die from gun violence than their counterparts elsewhere, the study found. Read more


From a member

“California examines prison guards’ high suicide rate”.  



Punishment is Not a “Service”: The Injustice of Pretrial Conditions in Cook County

Full Report:

Punishment is Not a “Service” details how punitive pretrial conditions operate in Cook County and includes individual experiences of how these restrictions have caused severe and unnecessary hardship for people who are legally innocent. These stories demonstrate how pretrial conditions undermine the ability of people to support themselves and their families while their case is pending in many of the same ways that incarceration does. They are stories of lost jobs, restricted movement, inability to support children and other dependents, and pressure to plead guilty.


Justice Shouldn’t Come With a $250 Fine

For those who hope to see the criminal justice system operate more fairly, this is an exciting time in the United States. Cities and counties across the country have recently elected a new wave of reform-minded prosecutors. But the fines and debt that many of them want to use instead of incarceration can be just as unfair and ineffective as the long sentences they say they reject. In November, Nueces County, Tex., elected a progressive district attorney, Mark Gonzalez. His platform included a promise that he wouldn’t prosecute misdemeanor marijuana offenses but would instead mandate a $250 fine and a drug class. That same month, Larry Krasner, who ran on expanding the use of drug courts and diversion programs as alternatives to incarceration, was elected district attorney in Philadelphia. While it’s understandable that the election of prosecutors like these who are committed to finding options other than locking people up — a key part of criminal justice reform — has inspired excitement, real change to the system will require that they go a step further to ensure that alternative punishments aren’t an unreasonable financial burden.


Trump administration ends registry for substance abuse, mental health programs

The federal government has ended a national registry designed to provide information to the public about evidence-based mental health and substance use interventions and programs.








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