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.
LOS ANGELES AND BAKERSFIELD, CA - This week advocates, academics and community members will gather in Los Angeles and Bakersfield for the 4th Annual national convening of Latinxs for criminal justice reform. This convening will also feature a preview of scenes from a work-in-progress film that LatinoJustice is developing in conjunction with esteemed director Carlos Sandoval.
Earlier today the White house released a statement that further vilifies the Latino community. This statement was released the week when a forum is being hosted on Long Island to allegedly address gang violence on Long Island. Juan Cartagena, LatinoJustice’s President and General Counsel, issued the following statement in response:
Earlier this week, Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD) officers responded to a May Day march to protest school closures and austerity measures by using tear gas and violence against demonstrators, press, and legal observers. According to the ACLU of Puerto Rico, the PRPD response continued after the conclusion of the protests with warrantless arrests of demonstrators in their homes and dorm rooms. Juan Cartagena, President and General Counsel for LatinoJustice and Sherrilyn A. Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), issued the following joint statement in response:
Jerónimo Saldaña has joined LatinoJustice PRLDEF as the leader of a new national Latinx collaborative that will focus on ending the over criminalization of communities of color. Jerónimo will co-direct the Justice Reform Collaborative, a national effort to elevate the voices of Latinxs on criminal justice reform issues.
Jason Hernandez, one of the first individuals to receive clemency under President Barack Obama, was named as LatinoJustice PRLDEF’s inaugural Media Fellow under a new grant recommended by The Open Philanthropy Project. The fellowship program is intended to allow a member of the Latinx community to document and eventually publish an account of his or her direct involvement with the criminal justice and correction system.
LatinoJustice PRLDEF commissioned Latino Decisions, a national polling and policy group, to survey Latinxs and document their experiences and opinions about the criminal justice system. It is the first ever poll of the Latinx community focused on the criminal justice system. Many polls do not include Latinos and those that do are regional and/or statewide or limited to one or two issue areas.
The President’s State of the Union address last night offered no surprises. The platitudes about DREAMers, Puerto Rico and unity made for a dry reminder that this administration’s policies on issues impacting Latinos, immigrants and other marginalized communities are dangerous, retrogressive and subject to a given day’s whim.
Latinos favor spending on rehabilitation programs and treatment over prisons and police in response to their significant concerns over the criminal justice system and their public safety. More than 50% of Latinxs are convinced that police use deadly force unjustly against their community and a wide majority of Latinas feel less safe since President Trump was elected. As a measure of Latino support of reentry in general, over three-quarters of Latinxs also support restoring the vote to people convicted of crimes.
LatinoJustice PRLDEF commissioned a national poll of Latino community members to document their experiences and opinions about the criminal justice system. Conducted by Latino Decisions, the poll is the first of its kind within the Latinx community and it reveals data on Latino concerns about public safety, police relations, solutions to the problems they face in the criminal justice system, and their own experiences with crime and policing. As the country continues to address criminal justice reform this national poll highlights how Latino communities are an indispensable ally in the efforts to secure a fair, restorative and comprehensive approach to public safety.
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.