Instead of protecting citizens, the grand jury system now shields abuse of police power.
On Jan. 6, a Texas grand jury indicted the state trooper who arrested Sandra Bland last July for perjury in filing his arrest report but not for his treatment of Bland. The Chicago-area woman was pulled over for not signaling a lane change and later found dead in her jail cell. In December, the grand jury declined to hold anyone responsible for Bland’s death. Continue reading
Since 1979, the U.S. prison system has ballooned out of control. We now have the highest rate of incarceration in the world — 716 for every 100,000 residents. Minnesota has followed the trend. Our prison population went from less than 2,500 in 1978 to 10,000 in 2011, according to the Prison Policy Initiative’s analysis of Bureau of Justice statistics. That’s a change from about 50 people per 100,000 to almost 200 per 100,000 — much lower than the national rate, but still higher than the rates of all European countries except Russia and Azerbaijan. Continue reading
An advance for voting rights for felons who have served their time and good news about the effectiveness of Minnesota drug courts were in the news recently. Continue reading