The Marshall Project
Opening Statement
June 22, 2022
Edited by Maurice Chammah
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Pick of the News

TMPA victory for Louisiana’s incarcerated youth. State lawmakers have enacted new restrictions on the use of solitary confinement, following an investigation by TMP’s Beth Schwartzapfel, ProPublica’s Annie Waldman and NBC News’ Erin Einhorn. They found boys as young as 14 were spending weeks isolated in decrepit conditions, deprived of everything from mattresses to educational materials. Louisiana joins about one-third of states that restrict solitary confinement for youth. The Marshall Project

TMPAsk our reporters about child immigrants in detention. At 2 p.m. EST today, Marshall Project reporters Anna Flagg and Julia Preston will host a Twitter Space discussion, taking questions about their recent discovery that since early 2017, one of every three people held in a Border Patrol facility was a minor. And that number could soon grow. Twitter

A second chance for second chances. Back in 1975, Maine became the first state to abolish parole entirely, meaning nobody could get out of the state’s prisons early. This meant nobody had an incentive to pursue education or other means of demonstrating rehabilitation. And it was expensive to keep all those people in prison for the full duration of their sentences. Now, a self-described “left-wing radical” in the state legislature is trying to convince his peers to bring parole back. This deep dive on his efforts is a case study in the shifting politics of criminal justice. Down East

Chasing change. Police in Chicago will no longer pursue people on foot when they’re only suspected of minor offenses. The policy change, long in the works, was finally enshrined more than a year after the high-profile police killings of 13-year-old Adam Toledo and 22-year-old Anthony Alvarez, both of whom ran away from officers. And it comes five years after the U.S. Department of Justice argued in a public report that too many foot chases in the city were both unnecessary and deadly. The Associated Press


Lawmakers in Pennsylvania passed a law in 2020 to better track police personnel records, with the goal of keeping problem officers from hopping between departments. It hasn’t gone very well. Spotlight PA

In Illinois, incarcerated women can seek shorter sentences, based on the argument that they were victims of domestic abuse. But a prison screening of a new documentary about the issue in New York has prompted renewed debate about how the legal system handles such cases. Chicago Tribune

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 against Raymond Twyford, an Ohio man on death row who argued the state should have transported him to a university hospital for neurological testing, because the results might have affected his sentence. Related: Read the full opinion. U.S. Supreme Court Related: The court also limited the reach of a federal law that aimed to increase sentences for certain crimes involving guns. The Associated Press

A state court judge rejected a Texas district attorney’s plea to cancel an execution date that his office had previously sought. The move sets up a conflict between state and local prosecutors over the fate of John Ramirez, whose request for a pastor’s touch put his case before the U.S. Supreme Court. The Texas Tribune TMP Context: John Ramirez’s case raises questions about what condemned prisoners can and cannot choose in their final hours. The Marshall Project


Don’t execute the Buffalo shooter. New York doesn’t have the death penalty, but Payton Gendron can still face the federal death penalty if convicted of the racist mass shooting of 10 people at a supermarket in May. President Biden promised on the campaign trail to work to end capital punishment, and this case will be a test of whether his attorney general, Merrick Garland, will follow through. Los Angeles Times

“Very few of us will read a detailed academic journal article about trends in crime reporting before deciding how to feel about crime.” Many cities really are seeing increases in some forms of crime, and liberals won’t sway people simply by telling them their perceptions are incorrect. The Atlantic TMP Context: Part of the problem is that data we do have, at least for 2021, is so unreliable. The Marshall Project

Garland’s choice. Try to imagine all the facts, legal theories and far-reaching consequences that Attorney General Merrick Garland must consider as he weighs whether federal prosecutors should indict former President Donald Trump for the events of Jan. 6th. The New York Times Related: Prosecutors across the country are surely aware of how Americans are responding to the House Jan. 6 committee’s revelations. The Washington Post

Will bigger police budgets make us safer? In a word: no, writes a human rights analyst, drawing on research that finds links between poverty, inequality, and violence. Human Rights Watch


TMPIntroducing The Marshall Project – Cleveland. We’ve opened the first in a national network of local newsrooms that will cover criminal justice in particular cities. Read this introductory letter from our Cleveland Editor-in-Chief Jim Crutchfield. The Marshall Project

An “abject failure” in Uvalde. Speaking to Texas lawmakers, the head of the state’s Department of Public Safety accused a commander at Robb Elementary School last month of placing “the lives of officers before the lives of children.” The Washington Post Related: The officers were ready, but their commander held back. The Texas Tribune

D.C.’s newest voters. Meet the latest incarcerated people to gain the ability to vote: men and women from Washington, D.C. who are either in the city’s jail or in federal prisons around the country. They’ll help choose the city’s next mayor this November. Bolts

Seven weird hours in custody. The satirist Dennard Dayle recounts — with telegraphic efficiency — his strange evening following an arrest for placing a sticker on a New York City lamppost. The New Yorker

“Guns 4 Ukraine.” It’s not uncommon for police departments to offer cash for guns, as part of an effort to get them off the streets with “no questions asked.” Less common is the final destination of the guns that Miami police are collecting: the front lines in Ukraine. The Washington Post

Opening Statement curates timely articles on criminal justice and immigration; these links are not endorsements of specific articles or points of view.

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