Criminal Justice Reform News
For decades LatinoJustice PRLDEF has used litigation, advocacy, and community education and mobilization to eradicate unlawful discrimination against Latino communities by protecting their legal rights. That work has now led us to address the rights of prisoners, former prisoners, and victims of racial profiling and police abuse, with the goal of reducing mass incarceration and promoting policies and laws that ensure successful reentry and lower recidivism among persons with criminal histories. Below is a list of stories related to our on going work on Criminal Justice Reform.
In Washington the President of the United States has engaged in tyranny. His presidential pardon of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is both a slap in the face to the thousands of Latinos who were racially profiled in Arizona and an unbridled rejection of the role of our federal courts to curb unconstitutional behavior.
This weekend’s violence against people who uphold the values of a democracy grounded in racial equality is a tragic reminder of how the words, actions and silence of one man can ignite racial hatred. Make no mistake about this, the violence and the loss of life lies squarely with Donald Trump. His pretense of ignorance of white supremacists during his campaign, his hiring of white nationalists in the White House, and his intentional refusal to denounce white supremacist violence immediately after the events in Charlottesville nurtures and feeds into a segment of the country that yearns for a race war.
En solo siete meses de gobernación la presidencia de Donald Trump ha soltado las riendas al uso de fuerza policial por medio de unos mensajes, directos y sutiles, que reflejan una rechazo al respeto de derechos constitucionales.
August 1, 2017 – LatinoJustice PRLDEF and The New York Civil Liberties Union today filed Freedom of Information Law requests with South Country Central School District and the Suffolk County Police Department regarding suspensions of immigrant students for questionable gang affiliations. The requests seek to determine the criteria for such suspensions, what information is shared with the police and what information police may be relaying to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
We are suing ICE! The case challenges the Constitutionality of Administrative Warrants based on an individual who was detained after he posted bail.
New York – A longtime Brentwood, N.Y. resident filed a complaint against Suffolk County, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and other defendants after being unconstitutionally detained by the Suffolk County Sheriff at the request of federal immigration agents after his bail had already been posted.
“LatinoJustice joins with our colleagues at the ACLU-NJ in cheering the unanimous decision issued by the New Jersey Supreme Court today concerning police accountability in North Jersey Media Group v. Lyndhurst, a pivotal case that will play a large role in shaping police transparency in New Jersey.”
New York, NY: A new report released today by the Marijuana Arrest Research Project, commissioned by the Drug Policy Alliance, shows that marijuana possession arrests under Mayor de Blasio continue to be marked by extremely high racial disparities, as was the case under the Bloomberg and Giuliani administrations.
An unprecedented and wide-ranging coalition of powerful stakeholders is calling for an end to the widespread practice of arresting people solely for drug use or possession. A press teleconference this Tuesday will be accompanied by the release of a new Drug Policy Alliance report, endorsed by over 30 organizations, that lays out a roadmap for how U.S. jurisdictions can move toward ending the criminalization of people who use drugs.
New York City – LatinoJustice, The Legal Aid Society and New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Council Member Rory Lancman joined with defender and legal services organizations, domestic violence and victims services advocates, community groups and stakeholders today at City Hall calling on New York State’s Chief Judge Janet Difiore and the Office of Court Administration to implement policies immediately to stop Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) courthouse raids that have proliferated under the Trump Administration and escalated in recent weeks.
El Color de la Justicia is the Spanish version of the New York Times bestseller The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, about race and mass incarceration in the United States. The book from professor Michelle Alexander, which has sold over a million copies, has enormous relevant for Latinos/as. This edition includes a new introduction from Juan Cartagena, President and General Counsel at LatinoJustice, which analyzes thh relationship between Latinos/as and the criminal justice system in the United States throughout the years.
LatinoJustice PRLDEF, the Hudson Valley Community Coalition and the Westpac Foundation have sent a letter to Westchester District Attorney Anthony A. Scarpino urging him to create an Office of Immigrant Affairs to better serve Latina/o/x’s and other immigrant residents in the lower Hudson Valley.
More than 30 scholars, reformers, activist, lawyers and policy analysts will gather in Orlando on April 18-19 to discuss issues around Latinos and the criminal justice system. The free, open-to-the-public convening will cover topics such as the death penalty, felon disenfranchisement, bail reform, drug policy, and ICE raids and detainers.
Allowing immigration agents to stalk and arrest undocumented immigrants in courthouses undermines the judicial system and results in “separating children from parents, breaking up families who have lived together for decades,” and could cut off many immigrants from legal representation, according to a letter sent from LatinoJustice PRLDEF to New York State Chief Justice Hon. Janet DeFore.
On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of more than 200 national organizations committed to promoting and protecting the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, and Florida Council of Churches, we are writing to express our support for Senate Bill 458 (S.B. 458) introduced by Senator Jeff Brandes (R-24) and Senator Darryl Ervin Rouson (D-19) and to offer recommendations for the Senate Appropriations Committee to consider.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA), a coalition of 46 of the nation’s most preeminent Latino advocacy organizations, calls on the federal government to end the 287(g) program, which permits the federal government to deputize inadequately trained state and local law enforcement officers to enforce federal immigration law. In a resolution adopted by NHLA’s board, the coalition also committed itself to a campaign to discourage local and state jurisdictions from entering into 287(g) agreements with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and to instead adopt community trust policies that strengthen the relationships among local law enforcement, city officials, and immigrant residents and their families.
NEW YORK, NY - The Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform, which included LatinoJustice President and General Counsel Juan Cartagena, joined by City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito – who convened the Commission in early 2016 – Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer, advocates, and formerly incarcerated individuals and family members, outlined a detailed, achievable plan to permanently close Rikers Island and establish of five state-of-the-art borough-based jail facilities. The Commission’s recommendation to close Rikers were detailed in its final report released on Friday, following more than a year of in-depth research and extensive community outreach.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, a coalition of 40 of the nation’s preeminent Latino advocacy organizations which includes LatinoJustice and Hispanic Federation, stands firm with the decision of Florida State Attorney Aramis Ayala to no longer pursue the death penalty in future cases. This decision comes at a critical time, as Florida recently approved a bill that reinstates the death penalty after its use was put on hold following the Hurst v. Florida verdict. With this reinstatement, State Attorney Ayala’s decision is of utmost importance in developing criminal justice reforms that provide for a more humane and fair criminal justice system.
In this week's LJP Update you can find out more about why our legal team went to Baltimore in response to a possible ICE deportation as well as what we are doing to support activist who are working to reinstate Sanctuary Policies.