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The President’s Brief

Death be not proud. Roe v. Wade is not the first time the Supreme Court has reversed itself on a matter of life and death. Fifty years ago, the court decided to abolish the death penalty — then changed its mind four years later in a series of cases laying out more limited circumstances for imposing capital publishment. And yet, both executions and death sentences are now in decline. When capital punishment finally disappears — and it is on its way out, even if that will be a very slow process — it will be because opponents succeeded in making their case, not to nine justices, but to millions of voters and jurors. Author of the excellent study of the death penalty in America, Let the Lord Sort Them, The Marshall Project’s Maurice Chammah published this analysis in partnership with the New York Times.

Who votes? In primary elections in Colorado this week, the act of voting — and how those votes get counted — was a matter of hot debate. Our recent investigation showed that state and local agencies were giving confusing and outdated voter information to people on parole, telling them they couldn’t vote when in fact the state legislature had restored the franchise in 2019. The information has now been corrected on government forms and websites in over 300 state offices. And this week, we began distributing a flier with key information in English and Spanish to help clear up some of the mixed messages about voting rights in Colorado. Published in collaboration with The Colorado Sun, the explainer is also being distributed on paper via organizations that help people coming out of prison. It’s news they can use.

Just kids again. Advocates for kids locked up in Louisiana have been lobbying for limits on solitary confinement for a long time. A recent investigation from The Marshall Project, co-published in March with NBC and ProPublica, gave those efforts a critically important push. Our story revealed the existence of a juvenile facility that even people who work in criminal justice didn't know existed. Kids were being held in solitary for weeks, even months at a time, sometimes in the dark, on mattresses on the floor. Local media followed up on our story, advocates amplified the cry, and state lawmakers held two committee hearings. Last week, the governor of Louisiana signed into law new restrictions on the use of solitary confinement for children. That's impact!

With my best wishes,



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