Criminal Justice

A State Will Require Civics Education in Prisons

The goal of the new Illinois law is to reduce recidivism, help former prisoners reintegrate into their communities, and boost voter turnout.

At least 25% of People in Jail Are Booked More Than Once a Year, Report Says

A new report sheds light on how many people are arrested and booked into jail several times per year, often because of mental health or substance abuse problems.

Leveraging Technology to Clear Criminal Records

Cook County, Illinois, will automatically expunge low-level convictions for marijuana offenses using software from Code for America.

Cities See Some Progress in Building Trust in Police, Report Says

New analysis of an initiative meant to increase trust between police and communities shows moderate success—and the potential for greater gains in the future.

New State Laws Give People More Time to Report Rape or Sexual Assault

COMMENTARY | In 2019 alone, 20 states and the District of Columbia passed sexual assault reporting reforms.

A Database Reveals Which Police Officers Shot Civilians

COMMENTARY | A new project looks at the race of on-duty police officers and civilians involved in 917 fatal shootings in 2015.

How One City Dramatically Cut Its Murder Rate

With a focus on community policing and engagement with neighborhood groups, Aurora, Illinois has become a model for cities across the country.

Pennsylvania Becomes First State to Use Automated System to Expunge Criminal Records

After passing the country’s first ‘clean slate’ bill, Pennsylvania is debuting a system that will automatically clear the records of all who are eligible.

Can Parks Help Cities Fight Crime?

The short answer: It depends on the park.

A City Says ‘No’ to More Police Officers

The city council in Durham, North Carolina recently rebuffed a police department push to add more cops on the beat, with a narrow majority deciding instead to spend the money on employee raises.

The Pros and Cons of 'Banning the Box'

New Mexico became the 12th state to prohibit private employers from asking about criminal records on job applications, a practice designed to reduce recidivism by helping ex-offenders gain employment.

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Criminal Charges Have Been Dropped Against Officials in Flint. What Comes Next?

Those who want to hold public officials accountable for the water crisis in Flint, Michigan are upset about the latest developments—but the case isn’t over.

Local Law Enforcement Must Decide if They Want to Continue Working With ICE

The 287(g) program has significantly expanded since 2017, stoking controversy about cost and transparency. Now, sheriffs have to decide if they want to renew their agreements with ICE.

Parole and Probation Violations Are Filling State Prisons

A new report from the Council of State Governments shows that many minor violations of parole or probation come with a high price tag, as they often lead to people ending up back in prison.

Supreme Court Upholds Right of States and Federal Government to Prosecute for Same Crime

The 7-2 ruling affirms an exception to “double jeopardy” protections, finding that states and the federal government are “separate sovereigns” with the ability to prosecute an individual for the same offense.

Maryland Has Created a Truth Commission on Lynchings—Can It Deliver?

COMMENTARY | In April 2019, the state of Maryland established a truth commission to investigate the lynchings of at least 40 African Americans between 1854 and 1933.

Boxing As a Solution to Help End Gun Violence

Baltimore Mayor Jack Young suggested that letting young people settle their differences in a boxing ring might stop people from shooting each other. But would an intervention like that really make a dent in the murder rate?

Broad Racial and Ethnic Coalitions Prompt Policing Changes

Native Americans and Latinos also die in police shootings at a disproportionately high rate.