Maryland Abolishes Life Sentences Without Parole For Juveniles

Life-without-parole sentences for juveniles have been abolished in Maryland as the state’s general assembly overturned two vetoes from Governor Larry Hogan.

Senate Bill 494 and House Bill 409 are called the Juvenile Restoration Act and they require authorities to sentence minors convicted as adults to less than the legal minimum term and prohibit courts from imposing life sentences.

Senator Chris West from Baltimore County said he thought the bill strikes a good balance.

“This bill is not a get-out-of-jail free card. This bill doesn’t offer any person incarcerated in a Maryland corrections facility the promise or the assurance of release.”


Freedom-Making In An Age Of Mass Incarceration

Join the Human Rights Lab and White Snake Projects for a panel discussion about what freedom-making means within the deeply carceral context of contemporary America.

Date: April 13, 2021

Time: 6-7:30PM CDT

Register: Click Here

Q & A will follow the moderated conversation.

Pritzker Commutes Life Sentence Of Man Who Claims Burge Cops Tortured Him Into Confessing

Reed’s criminal defense attorney said he’ll continue to push to have Reed’s conviction vacated.

Reed, who’s in Stateville Correctional Center near Joliet, was convicted of the fatal shootings of Pamela Powers and Willie Williams on the South Side. Reed said he was forced to confess. He said detectives beat him so badly they dislodged a metal rod in his leg.

Those detectives worked for Burge, who was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in 2010 in connection with his testimony in a lawsuit accusing him of torture. Burge served a four-year federal prison sentence and died in September 2018.


Illinois Led Nation In Criminal Exonerations For 3rd Straight Year: Report

Illinois recorded more criminal exonerations than any other state in 2020, according to a new report, which found nearly all of those cases were tied to a disgraced former Chicago police detective and his team.

The National Registry of Exonerations released its annual report, which found Illinois led the nation in criminal exonerations for the third year in a row. Of the 22 exonerations recorded in the state last year, the vast majority were drug possession or sale convictions tied to ex-CPD Sgt. Ronald Watts.

“Illinois’s ranking continues to be driven by the large number of exonerees tied to misconduct of corrupt police officers led by Sgt. Ronald Watts of the Chicago Police Department, who planted drugs on people after they refused to pay officers attempting to extort money from them,” the report states.

According to the report, 17 of those 22 exonerations were tied to Watts, who led a tactical team that has been accused of manufacturing dozens of drug cases over the course of several years against residents and guests of the Ida B. Wells housing project in the Bronzeville neighborhood.


Halfway Home: A Beautiful Book By Reuben Jonathan Miller

Miller writes about the aftereffects of mass incarceration in his new book, Halfway Home. The book is based on 15 years of research in which he followed the lives of about 250 incarcerated and formerly incarcerated men and women, and spoke with their family and friends.

Among the families Miller writes about is his own; Miller grew up poor on Chicago’s South Side and spent four of the first five years of his life in foster care after his mother abandoned him and his brothers. Two of his brothers and his father have been in prison.

Miller hopes that his work will help break down some of the barriers that affect so many people in America.


Prison Mail Surveillance Company Keeps Tabs On Those On The Outside, Too

Prisons are increasingly copying mail to prevent contraband, but this means prisoners never get to hold letters and photos from loved ones.


Prosecutors And Judge Agree That After 20 Years In Prison, Troubled Mother Deserves Mercy And A New Shot At Life

In an interview after the decision, Coleman, who has prosecuted countless murders, reflected on the complexity of 20-year story and why the resentencing could be called just too.

“I will tell you that at the time, I thought that 30 years was not enough for her,” Coleman said. “But 21 years has passed and she has done extraordinarily well. I think that is something we have to acknowledge — that is, one of the things justice is and what justice looks like. If someone is not the same person. If they have gotten better. And they have done everything we could expect of them and the family is forgiving them. I think that is part of seeking a safer society.”