The First Step Act was touted as beginning a reversal of decades of tough-on-crime policies. But just hours after the bill was signed by President Trump, the federal government began a shutdown of “nonessential” government operations. Now more than a month later, the shutdown has stopped efforts by the federal government to meet the new law’s first deadline - the selection of a team who will help implement a tool to assess risk and needs.
Between a federal shutdown, ongoing litigation, and new efforts to change bad policy, there’s a lot going on in the nation’s criminal justice system. Here’s what you might have missed.
The severe, gray, concrete walls of prison sometimes give way to unexpected bursts of color and potential moments of inspiration. The Massachusetts Department of Correction revealed some of these in a recent public records release containing photographs of several motivational posters hanging on its prison walls.
‘50s CIA report critical of Soviet police techniques has eerie parallels to the modern American criminal justice system
In the midst of the Cold War, the Central Intelligence Agency routinely collected information about the methods of control employed by the Soviet Union to capture, incarcerate, and punish those opposed to the state. While the CIA used this information to denounce the USSR in reports such as this one available in the CREST archives, a modern reader will note how several of the criticized policies resemble those of the criminal justice system in modern day America.
As we approach the end of the year and the beginning of a new presidency, let’s give some thought on the everyday, mind-boggling ways that being a prisoner in America is absolutely terrifying.