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VIEWPOINT: What should we think about Donald Trump’s thoughts about judges?

We have seen this sort of attack before, and we no doubt will see it again. Donald Trump attacked Judge Gonzalo Curiel, the judge presiding over the Trump University litigation, stating that because the judge is “Mexican,” he was biased because Trump advocates building a wall between the United States and Mexico. Trump added fuel to the political fire by then stating a Muslim judge might also be unfair to him. Our nation has a long history of political figures brutally attacking judges. Politicians often take advantage of controversial decisions for political gain. But perhaps this one is different.

Art, Science and the Challenge of Justice Reform

Almost every week brings more grim news about the state of criminal justice in the United States: Unwarranted uses of force, fees and fines being used to balance municipal budgets, dire statistics about mass incarceration, protests in the streets… the list goes on and on. Alongside these developments, we have seen—drip by drip—the continued erosion of public trust in justice, particularly in low-income neighborhoods and among communities of color. How should we respond to these challenges?

How Cost-Benefit Analysis Might Save America’s Criminal Justice System

It took decades for politics – that messy, flawed business of gauging the public mood, haggling with interest groups and turning out votes – to build America’s prison system: a behemoth of staggering size and cost, unlike anything else in the developed world. What chance is there that the monster can be tamed by the dry, abacus-clicking discipline of economics?

20 Jurisdictions Receive Millions to Reduce Jail Overcrowding

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation today announced nearly $25 million in support for ambitious plans to create fairer, more effective local justice systems across the country. The Foundation is awarding 11 jurisdictions grants between $1.5M and $3.5M over two years to reduce their jail populations and address racial and ethnic disparities in their justice systems. An additional nine jurisdictions will be given $150,000 grants to continue their reform work and to participate in a growing, collaborative network of cities, counties, and states driving local justice reform.

Court systems rethink the use of financial bail, which some say penalizes the poor

Shannan Wise of Baltimore had never been arrested before. A single mother of two, she was busy juggling her family, her job as a driver for a private van service, seasonal work at Target and going to school to become a medical biller. But on Oct. 24 of last year, Wise, 26, had a fight with her younger sister, who has mental disabilities. The next day, Wise dropped off her kids, ages 2 and 5, at day care and school. When she got home, she found the police waiting with a warrant for her arrest. Her sister had filed a false police report against her for assault. A judge set bail at $35,000, which was increased to $100,000 at a bail review hearing because—based on the allegations against her—the judge believed Wise was dangerous. Wise didn’t have that kind of money. Her family scraped together a down payment to a bail bond company, but it took five days. During that time, her kids had to be shuttled between their father and another of her sisters.

Justice Department warns local courts about illegal enforcement of fees and fines; Task Force formed

The U.S. Department of Justice sent a “dear colleague letter” on March 14, 2016, warning state and local courts about constitutional concerns regarding fees and fines imposed on poor defendants. Concurrent with the dissemination of the letter, the first meeting of a National Task Force to study the issue and eventually make recommendations to the states regarding reforms took place in Arlington, Virginia.