There has never been as much energy and momentum behind criminal justice reform as there is today. In nearly every aspect, there is excitement and renewed optimism about delivering real reforms to help those who have suffered from a broken system for far too long. Freethink’s Criminal Justice Week is focused on highlighting the most innovative people and ideas that are making real progress in reforming our criminal justice system.
Each day we will focus on a different aspect of reform and dive into the topic through a series of videos and written features.
From community policing to citizen journalism, there are exciting reforms to policing from both inside and outside the precinct.
A Freethink update: It's been several months since we first brought you the story of journalist Jamie Kalven and his influential "Sixteen Shots" expose in Slate that depicted a corrupt Chicago police department in the midst of a cover-up following the racist killing of teenager Laquan McDonald, who was shot 16 times by Officer Jason Van Dyke on October 20, 2014. Since then, Kalven has written another critical piece, this...
While community policing programs are nothing new, they fell out of popularity after a big push in the early 90s due to shifting priorities and budget crunches of the Great Recession. But with growing scrutiny of police and their often strained relationships with minority communities, police departments are increasingly looking to community policing programs to bridge the gap and rebuild trust. The Rockford Police...
Creating a civilian review board to oversee police conduct seems like a straightforward solution to disciplinary issues on the force. But why is it so hard to implement?
As police departments look for ways to rebuild trust with their communities, an increasing number are turning to new community policing programs. But are they effective? As with most things, it depends on what you measure.
Prosecutors have enormous power in our modern criminal justice system and what they do with that power will have a profound impact on the success of the overall criminal justice reform movement.
Emily Bazelon's new book Charged: The New Movement To Transform American Prosecution And End Mass Incarceration is an incredible tour de force that guides readers through America's broken criminal justice system through the eyes of two young people as they go through the system. The book reveals the breathtaking amount of power prosecutors wield in our modern legal system and highlights the ways that some reform-minded...
We are taking a closer look at sentencing, from bail reform to restorative justice programs.
Navigating life as a returning citizen can be quite overwhelming. We look at several groups providing critical resources to those leaving prison and the latest research on the most effective ways to ease the transition back into society.
Richard Bronson’s story could inspire a movie—and that’s not far from what happened. He worked for the firm depicted in The Wolf of Wall Street before getting charged with financial crimes and spending 2 years in prison. While incarcerated, his eyes were opened to the inequities prisoners faced and how daunting re-entry to society was. He decided to do something about it. He started the website 70 Million Jobs, with the aim...
When Will Aliva got out of prison, he’d paid his debt to society - but that didn’t help him pay his bills. Like many ex-cons, he struggled to find companies that would take a chance on hiring him. Too often, this roadblock results in ex-cons winding up back behind bars as they turn to old illegal activities to make ends meet. He decided to tackle the problem head on and founded a landscaping company, Clean Decisions, that...
We are wrapping the week by looking at how to reduce crime overall — from changing how we think about drugs and harm reduction policies to interdiction programs that seek to stop violence before it starts.
Freethink followed Andre T. Mitchell, the founder of Man Up!, and his violence interrupter team for a day in Brooklyn as they responded to a recent shooting in a nearby neighborhood.
There are around 2,200 exonerees in the U.S.—people who were convicted of a crime and then later proven innocent by their own doggedness or new evidence in a case. When they are freed from prison, their lives are often saddled by the same issues that hold back people who actually committed a crime—lack of education, no job skills or employment history, and the stigma of having spent years in prison. While their release is...