When remains are found in a suitcase, forensics can learn a lot from the insects trapped within
The investigation of human remains in a suitcase can often represent a Pandora’s box, full of complicated problems.
San Francisco decriminalizes plant-based psychedelics
San Francisco joins Oakland, Santa Cruz, DC, and Denver in decriminalizing some psychedelics.
Prisoners will get a $2,750 check when they leave prison
A non-profit is experimenting with providing prisoners a $2,750 check when they leave prison. The goal is to reduce recidivism and help people get a fresh start.
former prisoners
Ex-felon helps former prisoners launch careers in tech
The Underdog Devs nonprofit helps former prisoners make the connections they need to secure jobs in the technology industry
3D police lineups could reduce wrongful convictions
A new type of police lineup uses 3D technology to let eyewitnesses view suspects from any angle, and could reduce wrongful convictions.
police use of force
It’s not enough to remove "bad apples" from police forces
Police use of force complaints would not dramatically decrease if “bad apples” were fired early in their careers, Princeton and UPenn researchers predict.
inmate postcards
He built an app to send postcards to prison
Flikshop is on a mission to make it as easy as possible to send postcards to prison. Founded by a formerly incarcerated individual, the company is keeping families connected to help reduce recidivism.
incarcerated mothers newborn babies
Minnesota stops separating newborns and incarcerated mothers
The Healthy Start Act makes Minnesota the first state to stop the practice of separating incarcerated mothers from their newborns soon after delivery.
police training vr
Controversial police killings are being recreated in VR
Virtual reality simulations of controversial police killings of Black Americans are being included in a police training program.
police reform
What does police reform look like in 2020?
Calls for police reform have resulted in budget cuts, new policies, and a record number of police oversight measures landing on the 2020 ballot.
Despite the pandemic, voting rights groups help register voters in jail
Voting rights groups help inmates register and vote, despite hurdles presented by the pandemic.
The law enforcement unit that responds to a crisis before it happens
The Maplewood mental health unit anticipates 911 calls and circumvents them before they happen.
crisis intervention
Should police respond to mental health crises?
As tensions between law enforcement and the public continue to rise, many are beginning to question whether all 911 calls warrant a visit from armed officers.
bail reform
Cash bail keeps poor people in jail. Here’s how we fix it
Bail reformers say it’s unconstitutional for a person to be imprisoned because they can’t afford bail. Do bail bonds begin punishing the poor before they’re even found guilty?
Police Records
Volunteers build first nationwide database of police records
Thousands of volunteers are data scraping public websites to compile police records into a single national database for researchers to mine.
Qualified Immunity
Qualified immunity might not protect police for much longer
The U.S. government is considering changes to qualified immunity, a doctrine that protects police from civil lawsuits.
How Police Spend Their Time
How police spend their time
The New York Times looks at how police spend their time at work, providing insights that could be useful for “unbundling the police” efforts.
prisons
Converting prisons into farms, community centers, and shelters
Across the U.S., prisons, jails, and detention centers are being transformed from facilities that confine people into ones that support them.
Public Safety
Rethinking public safety: Are police always needed?
The mobile mental health service CAHOOTS handles public safety calls related to mental or behavioral health for the Eugene Police Department.
Decarceration
This Atlanta jail is being replaced with a "center for equity"
A decarceration project will see a 1,100-bed Atlanta jail transformed into a “Center for Equity” to serve the local community.
Street Medics
Street medics tend to protesters in the midst of a pandemic
Across the U.S., groups of volunteer street medics are dispensing medical care to police brutality protestors in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
Criminal Justice Reform
5 must-reads on American police reform
In our weekly roundup, we take you inside the fight to reform America’s criminal justice system, exploring potential solutions to this complex problem.
connecting inmates with their children
How a prison sentence inspired a father & daughter tech startup
A father-daughter pair learned to code while the dad was in prison. Now, their startup is helping other prisoners connect with their kids.
Confederate Monuments
Cities remove Confederate monuments following George Floyd protests
City officials are removing Confederate monuments in Virginia, Alabama, and several other Southern states in response to the George Floyd protests.
George Floyd Protests
Where the George Floyd protests (and responses) have been peaceful
The George Floyd protests remained largely peaceful in these cities, with protestors and law enforcement occasionally even standing shoulder to shoulder.
George Floyd
Seeking justice for George Floyd
Articles, thought leaders, and organizations worth paying attention to following the murder of George Floyd by police in Minnesota.
Mothers in Prison
Fighting to get breast pumps to mothers in prison
Breastfeeding isn’t a right afforded to mothers in prison. One former inmate wants to change that.
criminal justice system
Crime survivors fight against harsh punishments. Here’s why.
A national group called the Alliance for Safety and Justice has set out to rethink America’s criminal justice system, with a focus on healing rather than punishment.
life after prison
Series | Catalysts
Learning to code in prison
This progressive organization is on a mission to break the cycle of recidivism, using coding. Incarcerated individuals can now spend their sentences acquiring marketable skills.
criminal justice reform
The formerly incarcerated fighting for criminal justice reform
These formerly incarcerated individuals are fighting to give people who’ve served their time a second chance by advocating for change in one of the country’s most notorious justice systems.
criminal record clearance
Algorithm clears thousands of marijuana convictions in just one minute
With this new system that identifies candidates for criminal record clearance and even auto-fills forms, offenders don’t even need to apply.
prison education
Series | Catalysts
Earning college degrees in prison
In the midst of his prison sentence for murder, Sean Pica helped found Hudson Link - an organization dedicated to reducing recidivism and improving lives through higher education.
new york eliminates bail
NY’s bail reform challenges a biased system
Seeking justice in a broken system, the state of New York eliminates cash bail for most misdemeanors.
Organized Crime & Street Gangs in South America
Should we legalize gangs?
Gangs are a major cause of violence and organized crime. Here’s why countries should think twice before trying to...
Hope after prison
This former inmate is cleaning up his city and helping other ex-cons turn their lives around.
F*ck a false arrest: How to get out of jail free in NYC
Good Call NYC Fights Bad Policing With a Free Lawyer Hotline: 1-833-3-GOODCALL
These hero pups are helping veterans and prisoners heal
Hero Pups is an organization providing support dogs for military veterans and first responders. Now, prison inmates are helping train them - with great results.
A day in the life of a 'violence interruptor'
Freethink followed Andre T. Mitchell, the founder of Man Up!, and his violence interrupter team for a day in...
Can cognitive behavioral therapy break the cycle of violence?
CBT is a promising way to reduce violence, so why has it been so hard to scale?
24 years for a crime he didn’t commit
When a prisoner serving a life sentence is suddenly found to be innocent, it often makes national news. But what happens after the cameras go away?
This former wall street felon is helping ex-cons find jobs
Doing prison time changed this Wall Street trader’s life. Now he’s helping others get jobs after prison - and stay out for good.
Miriam Krinsky
Exclusive interview: how Miriam Krinsky is leading us to a smarter & more equitable justice system
Her organization is bringing together a new generation of prosecutors with a shared vision of fair, compassionate,...
Can a new breed of prosecutor reform our broken system?
Prosecutors are afforded a wide array of discretion within the criminal justice system and wielding that discretion appropriately could mean ending America’s mass incarceration problem.
civilian oversight
Civilian oversight is a solution to police misconduct. But is it effective?
Creating a civilian review board to oversee police conduct seems like a straightforward solution to disciplinary...
How to hold police accountable
The Invisible Institute is making Chicago police complaints easily available to the public—and is helping hold police accountable.
Do we need more police or better police?
American cities are safer than they used to be, but they’re still quite violent, and many economists think they’re...
Why the 6th most dangerous city is turning to community policing
Police departments around the country are increasingly looking at community policing programs as a tool to help reestablish trust in the communities they serve.
Community policing is back in vogue. But does it work?
As police departments look for ways to rebuild trust with their communities, an increasing number are turning to...
Freethink's 2019 Criminal Justice Week
Join us as we go inside the criminal justice reform movement for an up close look at the people trying to fix our broken system.
Prison education can break the "revolving door" of recidivism
Over 600,000 people will leave prison this year; here's how we can help them never return.
Why are unsolved murders on the rise?
The evidence suggests that most murderers get away with it. Here's what we can do about that.
For people in prison, a second chance to give back
50% of people released from prison return within three years. This program is changing that.