Criminal Justice

The Legal Protections Shielding Police Taken Up By State Legislatures

With federal action on the issue looking unlikely, state legislators are considering proposals that would eliminate or limit the scope of qualified immunity for police officers.

Progressive Prosecutors Push for Reform in Response to Protests

Some say that the current moment has taught them the need for a thorough examination of the “historic impact of harmful policies” on certain communities.

Civil Asset Forfeiture Under New Scrutiny Amid Calls for Police Reform

But with the economic instability caused by the coronavirus pandemic, some worry law enforcement and prosecutors could actually step up efforts to seize criminal defendants' property.

Policing Protests Propel Marijuana Decriminalization Efforts

Reducing marijuana penalties might reduce interactions with police.

Court Strikes Down Restrictions on Pandemic Aid for Small Business Owners with Criminal Records

The Small Business Administration has changed the rules following a lawsuit from small business owners with criminal records.

In Many Cities, Police Only Solve a Portion of Murder Cases. What Happens if We Defund Them?

Homicide clearance rates in cities across the country are abysmal. Experts say solving more murders would involve increased resources and improved community relations.

Power to Rework Criticized Police Contracts Lies With Elected Leaders

In the wake of protests over police brutality, new attention is being focused on police unions and their contracts, known to stymie reforms. Will mayors and city council members force changes?

Small Business Owners with Criminal Records Sue Over Pandemic Aid Restrictions

Many small business owners with criminal records were shut out of the Paycheck Protection Program, which was designed to keep employees on payrolls during coronavirus lockdowns.

Some Cities Decline to Prosecute Arrested Protesters

Prosecutors in large and small cities alike are saying they won’t press charges against peaceful protesters arrested for nonviolent offenses.

Stop Training Police Like They’re Joining the Military

COMMENTARY | If policing is to change, the spotlight must turn toward police academies, where new recruits are first inculcated into the folkways of their profession.

Cities Respond to ‘8 Can’t Wait’ Campaign

The campaign calls for police departments to make changes in how officers use force. Some activists say they aren’t enough.

Majority of Minneapolis City Council Vows to Dismantle City’s Police Force

A veto-proof majority of the municipal legislative body said that they will dismantle the police department and reinvest their budget into community-led public safety programs. But many key details have yet to emerge.

Minnesota Presses for Oversight of Minneapolis Police—Will Other States Follow?

In the absence of federal civil rights investigations into the conduct of local police departments, some states may begin to implement their own consent decree programs.

Protesters Demand Defunding and Demilitarization of Police

In cities across the country, protest organizers say they want less money from local government budgets going to the police.

Being in Jail Has Become a ‘Death Sentence,’ Advocates Say. Detainees Are Suing to be Released.

People in jails with medical vulnerabilities and short times left on their sentence are suing for release—and if that fails, they want masks, gloves, and the space to socially distance.

A California County Allows Sexual Assault Victims to Perform Their Own Forensic Exams During the Pandemic

The at-home rape kits are a temporary measure meant to ensure that victims of sexual assault continue to report their experiences in a timely manner, county officials said.

Stay-At-Home Orders Can Be Dangerous for Victims of Domestic Violence. But Help Is Still Available.

Roughly half of agencies providing help to victims of domestic violence are closed during the coronavirus outbreak, but many have transitioned to virtual or phone services.

New Jersey Set to Release 1,000 Jail Inmates to Limit Coronavirus Spread

Up to 1,000 people could be eligible for release. Other jurisdictions around the U.S. are also taking steps to curb their jail populations.

For Many Serving Harsh Sentences, The Governor Becomes a Last Hope

Lawmakers are recognizing the harms of mass incarceration. But some governors are reluctant to use their clemency power to address them.

Gunfire Detection Technology Spreads, Raises Privacy Concerns

Police advocates of the audio monitoring surveillance system say it helps them know just how many shootings are happening in their cities. But civil rights advocates say policy makers should think about possible privacy implications.