Top Reads

The Bail Project / Newsroom  / Top Reads (Page 11)

Over half of all pretrial service programs use video for people’s initial bail hearings! The audio and visual quality of the video is often low, such that defendants sometimes can’t even hear what’s going on at all. In some places, such as Philadelphia, a person’s public defender is only available to them via video, disabling them from having any private interaction with their counsel before or during arraignment and calling into question if defendants’ Sixth Amendment right to counsel is being met.

Summarized by: Jacob Koffler

As jails become overcrowded and conditions continue to deteriorate, the knee-jerk reaction from lawmakers is usually to build a new jail, eating up millions of dollars that could be better used to address communities’ needs and safety. This is particularly unfortunate because most jails in the U.S. are filled primarily with people being detained pretrial. This report provides some vital questions anyone anywhere with a proposed jail expansion should ask, including, of course: Are we holding too many people pretrial?

Summarized by: Jacob Koffler

“When Nicholas Colbert, a 36-year-old Army National Guard veteran, died last Friday in the Cuyahoga County jail, in Cleveland, Ohio, he became the ninth detainee to die in the jail system over the last year—and the fifth to die by suicide…The jail’s conditions are the subject of a class action lawsuit filed in December that was amended last month. Twenty plaintiffs, including current and former detainees, accuse the co-defendants of failing to provide safe and habitable living conditions for people incarcerated in the jail.”

There’s been a lot of recent – and justified! – focus on electing progressive prosecutors as an integral element of the movement for bail reform and to end cash bail (see: Philly, St. Louis, Queens). A new wave of organizing has its sights set on judges, who do ultimately make a lot of the final decisions when it comes to bail (and, of course, much more). This piece explores the politics behind judicial races and the impact judicial organizing can have on decarceration.

Summarized by: Jacob Koffler

USA TODAY published the largest collection of police misconduct records to date, which are often shrouded in secrecy. They found at least 200,000 incidents of alleged misconduct, most of which were previously unreported, including 3,145 allegations of rape, child molestation, and other sexual misconduct, 2,307 cases of domestic violence by officers, and 22,924 cases of officers using excessive force.

Summarized by Lillian Kalish

Sentencing Project’s analysis of the newly-released Dept. of Justice figures reveals that at the current rate of decline, it will take 75 years to cut the prison population by 50 percent. While the prison and jail population has declined by 7.3 percent by the end of 2017, compared to its peak in 2009, these declines are “heavily influenced by a handful of states that have reduced their populations by 30% or more in recent years,” most notably Alaska, Connecticut, California, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont.

More than half of states are still experiencing an increase or single-digit decrease in their jail and prison populations. Vera also released their annual prison population report, which advocates feel is more accurate, as the federal reports “are increasingly outdated,” due in part to budget cuts.

Summarized by Jacob Koffler