An Uncertain Future for a Key Missing Persons Program

Officials point fingers over the fate of the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, a singular resource.

Death Penalty Used Sparingly by States in 2020 Amid Pandemic

States suspended executions due to the coronavirus outbreak and put just 7 people to death this year. Meanwhile, federal executions resumed for the first time in 17 years.

In One State, a Racial Equity Task Force Suggests 100 Ways to Change the Criminal Justice System

North Carolina’s task force released a sweeping report calling for changes in policing and the courts.

Nation Sees Troubling Rise in Fatal Cocaine Overdoses

Many of the deaths involve cocaine mixed with the opioid fentanyl, a new analysis finds. Data shows that 2019 may have been a record year for deadly overdoses.

How a Spreadsheet Could Change the Criminal Justice System

COMMENTARY | A lack of data instills trial-court judges with enormous, largely unrestrained sentencing power.

Setting the Record Straight on the Current and Future Role of Prosecutors

COMMENTARY | The job of a prosecutor is right in the job title: to prosecute. But prosecutors’ roles have grown more complex over time as they’ve worked to fulfill the many dimensions of justice that their jobs demand.

Fire Official Urges Governors to Be Proactive on Hardening Homes Against Wildfire

Failing to do so, the official said, means “we're just building tomorrow’s problems.”

Instead of Defunding Police, Minneapolis Cuts $8 Million from Department Budget

After the police killing of George Floyd, a majority of the city council vowed to dismantle the police department. They took a much more modest step this week.

2020 Sees Largest Year-Over-Year Rise in Murder on Record

Preliminary data from this year shows that homicide rates are up in most major cities. The pandemic and social unrest are both possible factors in the rise.

States Halt Jury Trials Again, Leaving Many Defendants in Jail

The pandemic-related backlog of cases could take years to plow through.

States Join Pilot to Investigate Cases of Missing and Murdered Indigenous People

Federal, state, and tribal agencies will create guidelines for investigations into missing persons and murder cases where Native American or Alaska Native people are involved.

States May See a Lot More Money for Crime Prevention with Biden Plan

President-elect Joe Biden's sweeping criminal justice proposal focuses on prevention and diversion in an attempt to prod states away from locking people up.

State and Local Republican Officials Shy Away From Trump's Efforts to Overturn Election Results

STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Illinois House speaker’s power slipping amid federal probe … Milwaukee health workers face death threats … Florida sheriff’s office keeping list of kids seen at risk of “life of crime” … state-local spat over charity venison.

Federal Intervention in Police Departments to Return Under Biden

The Biden administration will reinvigorate “pattern and practice” investigations into police departments and correctional facilities, while also looking to more aggressively examine prosecutors.

Covid Cases in One State Prison System Are ‘Off the Charts’

A new report from the University of Texas at Austin says that the state’s correctional system has not taken the adequate steps to reduce Covid cases and deaths among incarcerated people and staff.

New York City Tests Replacing Police with EMTs for 911 Calls about Mental Health Crises

The city saw a wave of protests this summer calling for major changes in how the police operate. Now it’s the latest city to embrace the use of medical and mental health professionals for certain 911 calls.

Two Ohio Cities Sue State Over Gun Background Check System

Dayton and Columbus officials announced their lawsuit on Monday, saying the state attorney general’s office needs to fix a system that doesn’t always contain information about people with felony convictions.

Republicans, Democrats Fail to Flip Attorney General Seats

Ten states held elections for the office of attorney general this year.

Looking to Replace Police with Crisis Response Teams? Consider These Lessons Learned from the Military.

COMMENTARY | Many cities are exploring how to cut police funding and replace some law enforcement officers with teams of social workers and other specialists. The shortcomings of teams of social scientists deployed by the U.S. Army in Iraq and Afghanistan can provide some valuable insights into the kind of mistakes to avoid.