“People set to die in prison are now free. Our clients weren’t even on this selective list the Sentencing Commission sent out or on federal defenders’ radars. In fact, we have copies of letters federal defenders sent some of our clients telling them they weren’t even eligible for relief under the First Step Act – but we got them free. Our work in 90 days is historic. We picked some up from prison. We gave re-entry stipends. We continue to support them upon release.” Said Anne Branigin. (Photo: The Decarceration Collective)
#NNPA BlackPress

“Black Girl Magic”: Black Women Lawyers Freed 17 Inmates Serving Life Sentences, Receive Financing Assistance from Kim Kardashian

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “Let’s pause here to give a little credit where credit is due. Freeing 17 prisoners – all of whom were serving life sentences without parole – is impressive and commendable and the result of a campaign – 90 Days of Freedom – launched by Kardashian’s attorney, Brittany K. Barnett, a black woman,” Anne Branigin wrote for The Grapevine. The Decarceration Collective’s MiAngel Cody, another black female lawyer, also collaborated on the project. “If we wanted to go back even further, it’s worth knowing the viral Mic video on Alice Marie Johnson that moved Kardashian to act was facilitated by – you guessed it – a black woman, Topeka Sam.” […read more]

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Senator Harris originally introduced the Ensuring Diverse Leadership Act during the 115th Congress.
#NNPA BlackPress

Harris Introduces EQUAL Defense Act to Boost Pay and Resources, Limit Workload of Public Defenders

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “After spending my career around the criminal justice system, I’ve seen up close how it can fail to ensure that poor defendants receive a fair trial and due process, as guaranteed to all of us in our Constitution,” said Sen. Harris. “All too often, our public defenders are overworked and lack sufficient resources. This makes public defense unsustainable over the long haul. And the person who suffers is the defendant, whose liberty is on the line. It’s wrong, and it’s the opposite of justice.” […read more]

HBCU

It Will Take Partnerships to Dismantle Criminal Injustices

HOUSTON FORWARD TIMES — The overrepresentation of Blacks in the criminal justice system is widely acknowledged.  Unfortunately, there are few Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) producing the necessary research to support the criminal justice reform movement. A quick Google search on the role of HBCUs in criminal justice reform produces few results. Limited resources and no directed marketing approach – issues not unique to HBCUs –  make it difficult for HBCUs to be part of the reform. […read more]

Op-Ed

Saying You’re Sorry isn’t Sufficient

By Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. NNPA Columnist   “That’s what strikes me. There for the grace of God.”  That was President Obama’s reaction when he became the first sitting U.S. president to visit a federal prison, the medium-security El Reno Federal Correctional Institution near Oklahoma City. Read More