Juveniles in Solitary in Nebraska 

“I think it’s fair to say as we look to comparisons with our sister states and across the national landscape that Nebraska’s use and policies regarding juvenile solitary confinement truly shock the conscience,” ACLU of Nebraska Executive Director Danielle Conrad said Monday morning.

On any given day in Nebraska, the report said, juvenile justice facilities routinely subject kids to solitary confinement. There is no uniformity in how kids are kept alone for periods of time ranging from hours to months.

Via Solitary confinement of Nebraska youth said ‘disturbing’ @ Journal Star Breaking News

Transparency in Accountability

California will no longer use grand juries in cases involving police shootings of civilians after Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed a bill Tuesday banning the secret deliberations.SB 227, authored by state Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), makes California the first state to ban the use of grand juries to decide whether law enforcement should face criminal charges in use-of-force cases.

The ban, which will go into effect next year, comes after grand juries failed to indict police officers who killed unarmed black men in Ferguson, Missouri, and Staten Island, New York, last year, heightening scrutiny of the process. Mitchell argues that the grand jury process, during which evidence is presented to a panel of civilians in secret, fosters a lack of trust in the system.

Via California Bans Use Of Grand Juries In Police Shooting Cases @ Huffington Post.

Preventing Inquiry

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Mayor Stephanie Miner has blocked the Citizen Review Board’s plans to hire a part-time investigator and forensic pathologist to help it investigate allegations of police misconduct.

Miner’s vetoes of two unanimous resolutions of the Common Council signal renewed friction at city hall over the CRB.

Via Miner blocks added investigators for panel that probes police misconduct @ Syracuse.com.

Qualified Immunity

Recently, police have been killing and otherwise abusing people of color with what seems like increasing frequency. The Black Lives Matter movement is asking them to stop — and pushing for policy changes to help bring about that end. Back in August, the movement launched Campaign Zero, which lays out a thoughtful platform for change at the federal, state, and local levels. One of the legs of this policy platform is “accountability.” This makes sense — real accountability can be a powerful lever to change behavior. But I don’t think the Campaign Zero accountability goes far enough — I think that, in order to bring about real police accountability, we need to reform qualified immunity.

Via Want to Fight Police Misconduct? Reform Qualified Immunity @ Above The Law.

No One

No one should go to prison for drug possession. We don’t jail people for drinking alcohol, even if they become alcoholics. Further, no one should bear the lifelong consequences of a felony record for drug possession. Felony records erect unnecessary barriers to housing, education, and employment, which are all essentials for stability, and stability is essential to recovery. Home, school, and work all build community. And connection with community is the antidote to the isolation of addiction.

Via Smart Justice Is Fair Justice @ ACLU.

No Reduction in Mandatory Minimums 

The judiciary committee’s compromise bill is not expected to include reductions to mandatory minimums that are blamed for mass incarceration. Mandatory minimums require binding prison terms of a particular length and prevent judges from using their discretion to apply punishment. But the legislation is expected to give judges some leeway in sentencing drug offenders.

Via Bipartisan Group of Senators Set to Announce Deal to Reduce Prison Population @ Daily Signal.

The high cost of prosecutorial Immunity

“There is no place for unchecked government power in a constitutional republic dedicated to the protection of individual freedom, and the human costs of prosecutorial impunity have proven staggering. There is compelling evidence that significant numbers of innocent people have been convicted and even sent to death row as a result of prosecutorial misconduct that…