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…

Pre-trial alternatives: A path to ease incarceration cycle?

I attended a Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators meeting about justice involved women last Wednesday at the State House in Boston. Erika Kates, senior research scientist at Wellesley Centers for Women, and Meghann Perry, a formerly incarcerated woman, were the two main speakers pushing alternatives for criminally-justice involved women. Kates focused her talk on pre-trial alternatives for women.…

Great list of recent reports

Prison Policy Initiative has compiled a great list of the most recent reports out on incarceration topics, which is especially nice because I’ve been meaning to post the reports but have lacked the time. The Vera Institute report is particularly interesting, in my opinion. Meanwhile, this City Lab story includes a discussion about the Vera…

NYTimes on locking up fewer people

This New York Times op-ed makes a compelling case for shorter sentences and community-based alternatives. The highlights: We could cut sentences for violent crimes by half in most instances without significantly undermining deterrence or increasing the threat of repeat offending. Studies have found that longer sentences do not have appreciably greater deterrent effects; many serious…

Cure criminal justice ills by spending less? No. It’s a shift, says TNR.

The New Republic has an interesting piece about how reducing spending on mass incarceration won’t solve the main issues causing our over-incarceration problem despite the fact that we have bipartisan support to do so. It’s funny how when put in such blatant terms how obvious and damning that statement is. It is clear to me that…

Treatment for prostitutes instead of jail in Worcester, Mass.

Worcester Magazine had a report out earlier this week about a prostitution sting in Worcester, Mass. on May 11. But instead of arresting the people, they were offered treatment at medical or mental health facilities. The program was sponsored by the Worcester Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation. Meanwhile, six men and two women were still charged. One…