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Washington State Top Court Nixes Life Without Parole for Minors

The trend by states moving to reject life sentences without the possibility of parole for juvenile offenders continued this year when the Washington State Supreme Court ruled the practice unconstitutional on October 18. In State of Washington v. Brian Bassett, the court noted that states were “rapidly abandoning” the practice since youth are “less criminally

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What Does RAND Say about Prison Education?

RAND Corporation is massive. Its people number 1,850 across 50 countries, representing 80 languages. More than half of the researchers hold one or two doctorates, and 38 percent have one or more master’s degrees. Together, this team performs research and analysis to challenge and change public policy through evidence-based findings. RAND wants to make the

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The Consequences of Spending More on Education Prior to Prison

CNN Money collected data from the Census and the Vera Institute of Justice to learn how much money is spent on an elementary/secondary school student versus housing an inmate in each state. Spoiler alert: every single state spent more money on inmates than it did on public education. Which states were the worst “offenders?” Colorado’s

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Supreme Court Takes Up Case That May Limit Civil Asset Forfeiture

On November 28, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in Timbs v. Indiana, a case that could reshape civil asset forfeiture. Tyson Timbs, who attended the Court’s oral argument, is an Indiana resident who became addicted to opioids he was taking for chronic pain. To support his habit, he became a low-level drug dealer. When

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Supreme Court Hears Challenge to Double-Jeopardy Exception

On December 6, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in Gamble v. United States, raising the issue of whether sometimes defendants can face separate trials, and possible conviction and sentencing, for the same violation in both state and federal courts, despite the Constitution’s provision against double jeopardy. The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides,

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Highlights from the Prison Education Project’s Spring Evaluation Report

The Prison Education Project (PEP) utilizes faculty volunteers and university students to provide education in 12 California correctional institutions. PEP has reached 6,000 inmates since 2011, making this initiative the most extensive volunteer-based prison education program in America. The ultimate goal of PEP is to flip the school-to-prison pipeline around, creating instead a prison-to-school pipeline

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Federal Judge Rules County Jail Must Allow Addict Methadone

A federal judge in Boston has ordered officials at the Essex County House of Correction to allow an incoming inmate to take his doctor-prescribed methadone while he serves a sentence there. It was thought to be the first such order issued by an American judge. Geoffrey Pesce, a 32-year-old resident of Ipswich, Massachusetts, faces a

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The First Step Act: A Good First Step Indeed!

If it passes, the First Step Act will dramatically change life for thousands of inmates in America and will tackle, head-on, some of the problems that lead people to prison and keeps them there. There are many long-overdue items on the Act that includes banning the shackling of pregnant and postpartum women (was a woman

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Departing AG Limits DOJ Consent Decrees

Shortly before resigning his post, as requested by President Trump, ex-Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued guidelines for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to follow when seeking consent decrees with police departments or other units of state or local government. The likely result will be to keep DOJ out of state and local law enforcement investigations,

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