Watch This Meet the activist disrupting LA’s criminal justice system
RESIST is a 12 episode docuseries that follows the grassroots work of the intersectional organizations fighting the Los Angeles county’s $3.5 billion jail expansion plan.
More of This A blueprint for racial healing
Sheryll Cashin is a law professor at Georgetown University and author of White Space, Black Hood.
The 2020 election offered stark, competing visions for American race relations and politics. President Donald Trump cast himself to suburban white voters as their protecter against anarchy, riots and racial integration of their neighborhoods. He embraced Confederate symbols as American heritage, and encouraged and authorized violence against Black Lives Matter protesters. He also constructed a false polarity in which fighting systemic racism was deemed unpatriotic and un-American.
Joe Biden, despite his lengthy record of supporting tough criminal policies, made racial equity a central tenet of his campaign. He spoke forthrightly about racial disparities, especially a staggering racial wealth gap between median white and Black American households. He showed empathy for Black victims of police shootings. He proposed specific policies to promote racial equity and lift up Black communities in rebuilding the nation from the ashes of Covid-19.
That Biden won—with nearly 80 million votes, a record—along with Kamala Harris as the first Black, South Asian American and female vice president, suggests real possibilities for a multiracial democracy that values Black lives and brings all people along. And the Democratic Party’s success in national politics is now very much tied to the work of Black Americans in advancing and exercising their own voting rights, as made clear by Trump’s and other Republicans’ recent attacks on election returns in major cities dense with Black voters.
Read the story on Politico
Finally For the first time ever, SF DA charges police officer for fatal shooting
A former police officer was charged with manslaughter by the San Francisco district attorney’s office Monday, three years after he fatally shot Kita O’Neil during an alleged carjacking incident.
District Attorney Chesa Boudin announced that his office had filed homicide charges against former San Francisco Police Department officer Christopher Samayoa, a decision that appears to be the city’s first homicide prosecution against a law enforcement officer who has killed someone while on duty.
Samayoa faces charges of voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, assault with a semiautomatic weapon, assault by a police officer and discharge of a firearm with gross negligence, the district attorney’s office said Monday.
Boudin, a liberal former public defender, was elected last year on a platform of criminal justice reform and promised a tougher stance on law enforcement accountability.
“I hope the message people take from this decision is my commitment to follow through on my campaign promises, the recognition that no one is above the law, not even police officers, and that we value the Black and Brown lives impacted by police violence,” Boudin told The Washington Post on Tuesday.
Read the story on Washington Post
Less of This Incarcerated Black trans woman is suing (again) for horrific abuse
For Ashley Diamond, a transgender woman serving time in Georgia for nonviolent offenses, it seemed like something akin to victory.
After years of denying her hormone therapy, housing her with male prisoners and failing to protect her from sexual assault, the Georgia Department of Corrections changed its treatment policy, released Ms. Diamond on parole and reached a settlement in her lawsuit. She became a leading voice for incarcerated transgender people.
Five years later, it is as if she had never won.
Ms. Diamond was sent back to prison about a year ago for a parole violation. Once again she has been housed with men, and says she has been sexually assaulted more than 14 times since her return, according to a federal civil rights lawsuit filed on Monday by her lawyers at the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Southern Poverty Law Center.
She has again been denied treatment, leading to attempts at suicide and self-castration, the lawsuit says.
Ms. Diamond has repeatedly notified prison authorities of abuse and assaults, including an episode in which she says she was locked in a windowless office by a corrections officer. The officer instructed her to set up a makeshift bed and then mocked and sexually abused her for hours, the lawsuit asserts.
She is now housed in a cell with a door that does not lock, and has been brutalized and assaulted there by multiple assailants, the lawsuit says.
Read the story on NY Times
Perspective My first Thanksgiving behind bars
Keri Blakinger is a formerly incarcerated journalist whose work has focused on prisons and prosecutors.
Thanksgiving was not the worst holiday in prison but, looking back, I think maybe it was the saddest.
Behind bars, the best holidays were usually the ones that had been the least exciting in the free world—things like Labor Day, Memorial Day and Super Bowl Sunday. Times when we didn’t miss our families as much, when it didn’t feel like an entire season of celebration was continuing without us.
Still, in some sense, my first Thanksgiving in custody was better than the ones before it, when I’d been addicted to heroin and selling drugs to feed my habit. Back then, most of my holidays were a druggy blur, save for the occasional near-disaster—like the year a housemate got chased down the street with a baseball bat and had to spend the rest of the day in hiding because he’d urinated on another guy’s coke stash. I was too high to be bothered by it at the time; it was just another crazy drug story. But if I’d been sober enough, it might have seemed sad and lonely.
A few years later, I got arrested with a Tupperware full of heroin, and I was stone cold sober for my first Thanksgiving in prison. That was in 2011, a few months after a judge sentenced me to 2.5 years behind bars for felony drug possession.
In the New York prison where I did a lot of my time, we lived in dorms that looked like warehouses. It was always cold in the winter, and the heat was never high enough. On weekends and holidays they only fed us twice a day, lumping breakfast and lunch together, with meals never particularly worth eating. But on Thanksgiving, I skipped the mess hall: I was lucky. I had a visitor.
Read the story on Marshall Project
Calling all BIPOC judges: can you open the door for others?
The Judicial Mentor Program is designed to identity, encourage and provide mentors for all individuals considering a judicial career. Learn more here