criminal justice

Facing Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric and ICE Raids, Fewer Undocumented Victims Willing to Report Domestic Violence

Spooked by ICE raids in their communities, news of family separations at the border, and anti-immigrant policies from the federal government, undocumented domestic violence survivors are staying with abusers longer and shunning help, often at risk of their lives. Survivors who do come forward also face greater challenges to pursuing safety and stability than in the past.

Poor health care moving from prison to jails

California’s sweeping criminal justice reform plan, in place since October 2011, was meant to sharply reduce the state’s prison population. But the changes may have also had the unintended consequence of passing along the biggest problem associated with overcrowding – poor health care – to county jails.

Ballot-mandated drug treatment cut, despite success

In 2000, California voters overwhelmingly approved Prop 36, a ballot measure that offers non-violent drug offenders treatment instead of jail. But now the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act is on life support, if not altogether dead, despite data that shows it has saved taxpayers money and tamped down recidivism among its participants.

Tribal courts aim to heal

Advocates for Native American survivors of intimate violence cheered when they won the right to prosecute non-Indian assailants in tribal court. That change came with a provision in the Violence Against Women Act earlier this year. On at least one slice of California sovereign tribal land, the change also means defendants will have to engage with a very different criminal justice system – one that is based on restorative justice.

Therapy to help close revolving door on prisons and jails

When California legislators decided that certain felons no longer would be held in the state’s overflowing prisons, they were under pressure from a court order to relieve the system’s dangerously overcrowded conditions. But part of their goal also was to keep lower-level convicts near rehabilitative programs in their own communities. Some counties are embracing the goal of rehabilitation, too, and are turning to local non-profits to help people convicted of non-violent, non-serious and non-sexual crimes start a new life.

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