Is criminal justice still failing women?

This Al Jazeera America piece brings to focus the idea that incarcerated women who are deemed “violent” have not been represented in the mainstream press and pushes the question whether alternatives to incarceration should be considered for murderers. Is there a way, at the outset, to reduce sentences for women who commit crimes because they…

Avoiding prison possible more often in Mass.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, and I’m sorry for that. My work at Northeastern has been quite busy, and I have some exciting projects to be revealed soon. I am heartened to see this recent news in The Boston Globe about sentencing alternatives for low level federal drug violators. The RISE program, which stands…

Do we need probation reform?

Probation is one of the original alternative sentences, of course. But what happens when its demands—perhaps due to the judge in charge of a case—are too heavy-handed? How does a judge maintain appropriate punishment, determine if punishment is necessary at all, and take into account the potential public safety danger of the people involved? If someone qualifies…

Chronicles of recovery #1: Lois

This is Lois. She’s a mother of five and grandmother of eight, soon nine. “Them ‘bebe’s kids’,” Lois used to say of her four sons and one daughter when they were young. She explains that they were “bad-ass, bad kids”—rowdy children often not under the control of an adult. She’s not proud, and she knows…