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.
National press conference call with the family of Francisco Serna and community members marking the one-year anniversary of his death. The press conference will take place ahead of a local community vigil on Saturday, highlighting the high number of deaths by Kern County police and the lack of accountability by the local government. Speakers will also address the role of the Latinx community, nationally and locally, in responding to issues of police violence and criminalization.
NEW YORK – LatinoJustice PRLDEF, with the support of several foundations, will create a Justice Reform Collaborative (find more information about the collaborative here) that seeks to transform public will around criminal justice, policing, and drug policy reform by changing the black/white binary to include the voices of the Latinx community and its leaders. It is the first center in the country dedicated solely to the Latinx community and the broken criminal justice system that focuses on litigation, community engagement, advocacy and policy reform.
Existe actualmente una necesidad urgente para convocar líderes, activistas, académicos y personas involucradas en el sistema penal para hacer visible lo invisible: el concomitante apuro de latinos en un sistema criminal roto y discriminatorio. Los latinos, hombres y mujeres, sufren a diario las peores manifestaciones del sistema penal en EEUU.
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.
La ciudad de Nueva York tiene la infama distinción de ser la capital de arrestos marihuaneros. El alcalde de Blasio prometió reformas pero después de tres años la gran mayoría de arrestos son, inexplicablemente, de personas negras y latinas. Un informe de la Alianza de Política de Drogas y el Proyecto de Arrestos por Marihuana concluye que hay una disminución significante de arrestos por marihuana. Pero concluyen también que en esta administración arrestos han superado más de 60,000 personas, 86% de ellos negros o latinos. Tendríamos que pretender que personas de la raza blanca no poseen, compran, venden, o fuman marihuana en la ciudad para tratar de entender estas cifras.
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.