The Radical Humanness Of Norway’s Halden Prison

To anyone familiar with the American correctional system, Halden seems alien.

Its modern, cheerful and well-­appointed facilities, the relative freedom of movement it offers, its quiet and peaceful atmosphere — these qualities are so out of sync with the forms of imprisonment found in the United States that you could be forgiven for doubting whether Halden is a prison at all. It is, of course, but it is also something more: the physical expression of an entire national philosophy about the relative merits of punishment and forgiveness.

The treatment of inmates at Halden is wholly focused on helping to prepare them for a life after they get out. Not only is there no death penalty in Norway; there are no life sentences. The maximum sentence for most crimes is 21 years.


Kamala Harris, Prosecutor’s Tale

Harris offered a pair of stories as evidence of the importance of a Black woman’s doing this work. Once, ear hustling, she listened to colleagues discussing ways to prove criminal defendants were gang-affiliated.

If a racial-profiling manual existed, their signals would certainly be included: baggy pants, the place of arrest and the rap music blaring from vehicles.

She said that she’d told her colleagues: “So, you know that neighborhood you were talking about? Well, I got family members and friends who live in that neighborhood. You know the way you were talking about how folks were dressed? Well, that’s actually stylish in my community.”

She continued: “You know that music you were talking about? Well, I got a tape of that music in my car right now.”


New Pilot Program Will Pair Mental Health Experts With Police

Mayor Lightfoot noted that police cannot be the first and only responders on each call for service. That’s why she said the city will spend $16.5 million on community-based violence reduction efforts, including a new $1.3 million co-responder alternative dispatch pilot program.

Through the program, officers responding to a mental health crisis calls will be joined by a trained mental health professional, community paramedic and crisis intervention-trained officer.


Petition For Prison Reform

The tragic death of George Floyd is but one piece of a much larger picture.

We cannot begin to talk about systemic racism without also addressing the epidemic that is mass incarceration throughout America, and, the disproportionate number of black and brown people who occupy the beds within these facilities.

Comprehensive prison reform needs to be an issue that becomes synonymous with police brutality, misconduct, prejudice, and reform.



Mercy For Juveniles

Kyle Rittenhouse can be charged as an adult, and if convicted, could face a life sentence without parole.

Despite the anger I have toward him and his supporters, I feel strongly that Rittenhouse should have the kind of mercy that my son—and so many other predominantly Black and Brown Children—did not receive.

He is too young for such a harsh punishment.


More Incarceration Will Not Make Us Safer

Since 2000, the increased use of incarceration accounted for nearly 0% of the overall reduction in crime.

Research consistently shows higher incarceration rates are not associated with lower violent crime rates.

Incarceration rates and neighborhoods with concentrated incarceration, the increased use of incarceration may be associated with increased crime.


The Prison Paradox

Despite two decades of declining crime rates and a decade of efforts to reduce mass incarceration, some policymakers continue to call for tougher sentences and greater use of incarceration to reduce crime.

It may seem intuitive that increasing incarceration would further reduce crime: incarceration not only prevents future crimes by taking people who commit crime out of circulation, but it also may dissuade people from committing future crimes out of fear of punishment. In reality, however, increasing incarceration rates has a minimal impact on reducing crime and entails significant costs.

There is a very weak relationship between higher incarceration rates and lower crime rates.



Organizers of the Chicago action said they chose Cook County Jail because they felt the Japanese American community’s experience with mass incarceration during World War II holds lessons for how to handle the coronavirus outbreak in the jail.

“We saw what was happening, and it reminded us of how many people in the World War II incarceration camps died because of medical neglect. We want as many people as possible to be released to prevent more loss of life.”

The demonstration was part of a national social justice movement called Tsuru For Solidarity.


WNBA Superstar Steps Away From The Court To Fight Injustice

When Maya Moore announced that she was once again sitting out a basketball season — and this year, skipping what would be her third appearance in an Olympic Games — in order to keep pursuing a wrongful conviction case in Missouri, her peers expressed admiration.

“We are proud of the ways Maya is advocating for justice.”



A University of Illinois college-in-prison program created a reentry guide for those released from prison and jail during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Every year, the Education Justice Project updates one reentry guide to reflect the latest information about resources available to those released from prison and returning to Illinois communities, as well as another guide for those being deported to Central American countries following their release.

This year, however, Rebecca Ginsburg, EJP’s director, says it became clear the group needed to create a reentry guide specific to release during the coronavirus pandemic.

The group who worked on the document “interviewed people who had been released during (the COVID-19 pandemic) to understand what the particular challenges were, and they worked very hard to get the guide produced in one month,” Ginsburg says.

She says one challenge newly released people face is a lack of information about the virus.

“And the guide seeks to provide that,” Ginsburg says. “So they know, for example, why it’s so important to wash your hands regularly.”

The guide advises people released from incarceration to quarantine for 14 days before interacting with their family, and it also provides guidance for what to do if they fall ill.