103 entries

Category: Law & Justice

#WhenICECame Video Series: "Police Took Me Away In Front Of My 5 Year Old Son"

This is the second installment of the #WhenICECame video profile series of immigrants in Santa Clara County caught in the crosshairs of police-ICE entanglement. As Santa Clara County is considering whether our local law enforcement agencies should notify ICE about individuals going through the criminal justice system, hear from our community members who are most affected when local police become entangled with ICE. This video series, produced by Silicon Valley De-Bug, is done in coordination with the Santa Clara County Forum for Immigrants Rights (FIRE) Coalition. For more information, check out www.iceoutofscc.org. In this video, a mother enduring years of domestic violence recounts the moment with police that separated her from her son. Undocumented, she always felt the fear of deportation, and even when she called police, it was her that was taken into custody. Her story is particularly poignant as Santa Clara County recognizes October 2015 as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

On Mental Health Issues, Gun Control, and Child Incarceration

The recent Oregon mass shooting at a community college by a student stirs up memories of one too many tragedies involving guns, mental health and child incarceration. Writer Shaunn Cartwright writes, "It seems all too common that people with mental health issues have access to guns... and this seems to me the real issue that our elected officials need to address."

Do More Than Just Hope for a "Not Guilty" -- 6 Participatory Defense Steps for Effective Trial Monitoring

Have a loved one facing trial? Here are a few things your community can do to have impact on the outcome of the process.

The ‘Torment of Isolation’ – Ending Solitary Confinement for Juveniles

After years of litigation and protests, earlier this month California’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation agreed to drastically reduce the use of solitary confinement in state prisons. But as prison and human rights advocates celebrated the victory, the legislature put on hold a bill that would have curbed the practice in the state’s juvenile detention facilities.

No Sympathy for Those Labeled "Violent Criminal"

Tim Casarez writes from an inside view about the continuing push for reforming the criminal justice system and believes that more than merely punishing offenders labeled as "violent" they should be urged toward reform and earn their release. It is time for a change of thought toward incarceration, he says, the proposed reforms don't go far enough.

The Label of “Violent” Leaves Majority of Inmates Without a Road to Rehabilitation

As President Obama is moving on unprecedented prison reform, the national conversation has left out those with the most to gain – inmates with “violent” offenses, who make up the majority of prison inmates, but who will continue to see the least benefits. This possibility of ending mass incarceration has started and stopped with the limited focus on “non-violent” offenders.  Tim Casarez is currently serving a 22 year prison sentence for crimes committed at 18 years old. While serving his sentence he has been a model prisoner - focused on changing his life for the better. However, he says this is not the norm under the CDCR, where the majority of inmates with a history like his will return to society worse than when they walked into prison.

Traffic Tickets Stopped My Life for Six Years

Daniel Zapien was 20 years old when he first lost his drivers license. After two tickets, it took him more than six years and $5,000 dollars to be able to hold this card once again. He was in what California Governor Brown calls a "hellhole of desperation." A new bill, Senate Bill 405, was recently proposed for stories like his.

Opportunity Court: A New Take on Juvenile Justice Reform

As mass incarceration continues to be at the forefront of discussion in this country, leading advocates are looking for new ways to go about juvenile justice. Santa Clara County, through Judge Lucero, has been seeking alternative ways to approach the process of juvenile court as well through an innovative program called Opportunity Court. Follow youth journalist Kymeira Stewart as she went to the one year anniversary of Opportunity Court.

First Time Saved Story of 2015! Mom, Attorney, and Community Beats a Life Sentence Through Social Biography Mitigation

Cherisse Bergeron, the mother of a 16 year old who was facing a 6 year commitment in juvenile prison for his first offense, she took to the community to help build a case to free her son. With proof of a community in his social biography packet, the judge in the case made him turn around and face his community in the courtroom.

Photo Essay: From Oakland To Ferguson, People Hit The Streets For Mike Brown

Last night a grand jury in St. Louis came back with a verdict of not indicting Officer Darren Wilson who shot and murdered unarmed Mike Brown. Familiar feelings for Oakland arised, in the similar case of Oscar Grant who was also a young unarmed black man shot by a police officer.
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