Criminal Justice

Closing the Gaps in State Sexual Assault Laws

North Carolina has been the only state where women can't revoke consent. Newly passed legislation could change that.

Employers Are Still Avoiding Former Inmates

Dozens of states and D.C. have restricted when companies can ask about job applicants’ criminal records—but many aren’t following the rules.

Why One City Offers Art Classes Instead of Court Dates for Low-Level Offenses

Since a diversion program, Project Reset, started in Manhattan, district attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. says that prosecutions for low-level offenses have halved.

Have We Become Too Paranoid About Mass Shootings?

COMMENTARY | Over the course of your life, you’re far more likely to die in a car crash, in a fire, or by choking on food.

A Plan to Reduce Bench Warrants—By Text Message

After success in one county, Minnesota is rolling out a statewide program that sends reminders to defendants about their court appearances.

States Take on the Crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

Native women in some communities are killed at a rate ten times the national average. In Wisconsin, tribal advocates and lawmakers are determined to figure out what can be done about it.

A Plan to Spruce Up Vacant Lots to Reduce Gun Violence

A program in Chicago that beautifies abandoned properties is aimed at providing work and reducing crime. But some local residents say more needs to be done to involve people in the neighborhood.

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.

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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.

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.