Criminal Justice

Canceled Fines and Fees, $0 Cash Bail. Will Pandemic-era Criminal Justice Changes Stick?

A group that advocates for incarcerated people provides states and localities recommendations for keeping citizens who committed minor offenses out of jails and prisons.

The Prison Population is Falling, But in Some States Lots of People Are Still Locked Up

Incarceration rates have been dropping for years. Here’s where prisons and jails are still packed.

The Everglades Experiment: Florida’s First ‘Incentivized’ Prison Redefines Punishment

The initiative focuses on improving the quality of life inside prison, with attention paid to education, career counseling, leisure time, wellness, and planning for reintegration in civilian society before release.

The False Hope of the Progressive-Prosecutor Movement

COMMENTARY | Well-intentioned reformers can't fix the criminal legal system. They have to start relinquishing the power.

Violent Crime Up in Major US Cities Since Covid-19 Pandemic Began

But overall crime rates are lower when compared to prior years, according to a report by the National Commission on Covid-19 and Criminal Justice.

Alternatives to Juvenile Justice Probation Growing in Many States, Report Finds

Research by the National Conference of State Legislatures shows that states are turning to more effective programs that incentivize and mentor young offenders rather than punish them.

America’s Rural-Jail-Death Problem

Every day, in small towns and cities across the country, thousands of people are booked into local jails, many for minor crimes. Some never come home.

There’s Only One State Where Falling Behind on Rent Could Mean Jail Time. That Could Change.

Only Arkansas permits criminal consequences for nonpayment of rent — and it has enforced the law during the pandemic. Now, after ProPublica investigated the practice, some legislators want to revoke the statute.

Justice Department Warns of Fake Unemployment Benefit Websites

It’s one more issue for jobless Americans and state workforce agencies to be concerned about.

A Las Vegas Judge Approves $1.4 Million Payment to Wrongfully Convicted Man Who Served More Than Two Decades

Fred Steese, who spent decades behind bars for murder — despite the fact that Nevada state prosecutors had documents showing he was in another state at the time of the crime — will receive cash, fees and a certificate of innocence.

This New Advancement in Interpreting DNA Evidence Could be a Game Changer

COMMENTARY | Probabilistic genotyping software has helped forensic labs close more cases and exonerate individuals wrongly accused of a crime.

Lawyers Who Were Ineligible to Handle Serious Criminal Charges Were Given Thousands of These Cases Anyway

In the only state with no public defenders, people charged with murder and other serious crimes can get assigned attorneys who are legally ineligible to take on their cases. The state claims it was unaware.

Maryland Created the Police Officers’ Bill of Rights. Now Lawmakers There Might Repeal It.

Passed in 1974, the statute grants broad workplace protections for officers accused of misconduct and has served as a blueprint for similar laws in more than a dozen other states.

Republicans in State Legislatures Look to Toughen Rioting Penalties

Indiana is one of nearly two dozen states where proposals along these lines have emerged in the wake of last year's protests over racial justice and police misconduct. Critics are raising constitutional rights concerns.

'Systemic Buy-In:' How New Jersey Approaches Police Reform

In New Jersey, comprehensive police reform began by listening to community members, law enforcement agencies and civil rights organizations, Gurbir S. Grewal, the state's attorney general, said during a Route Fifty event.

Would Judges Sentence Fewer People to Prison if Local Governments Had to Pay for Their Prison Stays?

In a case where counties had to bear the cost of incarceration, local prosecutors and judges dismissed more cases. For one researcher, this raised a key question: If local governments had to pay for prison sentences, would incarceration rates decrease?

One State is Reforming Its Sex Offender Registry. Criminal Justice Advocates Aren’t Happy.

Michigan legislators passed legislation to revamp the sex offender registry, which courts have concluded is unconstitutional. Advocates say the new policies miss the mark.

People Convicted of Crimes as Young Adults May See a Chance at Early Release in D.C.

A veto-proof majority of the D.C. City Council passed a bill to open early release to people convicted of crimes they committed before they were 25, saying they deserve the chance for rehabilitation. Victims’ advocates are skeptical.

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.