BOOKS, REPORTS, LONGER RESEARCHED ARTICLES
"The Black Family in the Age of Incarceration": an article by Ta-Nehisi Coates for The Atlantic, part of a 20-part series
Journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates has researched the history of incarceration as it has affected many thousands of black families. He relies upon research to tell a compelling story of how mass incarceration of black men especially has had reverberating consequences throughout our society. (published online 15 September 2015)
Black Lives Matter: Eliminating Racial Inequality in the Criminal Justice System, 2015.
Available online at:
This is a new publication from The Sentencing Project "which provides a comprehensive review of programs and policies across the nation and identifies a broad range of initiatives than can address racial disparities at all levels of the criminal justice system."
The Counted: People Killed by Police in the U.S.
This database maintained by the British newspaper The Guardian attempts to record every incident of deaths in encounters with U.S. police. The database includes photos, when available, and details of the encounter: demographics of the victim, cause of death, location of death, whether or not the victim was armed, and links to U.S. news sources that provide more information.
Delinquency Cases in Juvenile Court, 2011
published by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, December 2014
This research report by Sarah Hockenberry and Charles Puzzanchera provides statistics of the juvenile justice system in the United States for 2011. According to the report, juvenile justice cases fell 34% from 1997 through 2011. However, those cases show racial disparities, as "the rate at which black youth were referred to juvenile court for a delinquency offense was more than twice the rate for white youth." These are disturbing statistics:
The rate at which referred cases were petitioned for formal processing was 20% greater for black youth than for white youth. The rate at which petitioned cases were adjudicated was 9% less for black youth than for white youth. The rate at which petitioned cases were waived to criminal court was 20% greater for black youth than for white youth. The rate at which youth in adjudicated cases were ordered to residential placement was 20% greater for black youth than for white youth, but the rate at which they were ordered to probation was 9% less for black youth than for white youth.Disproportionate Impact of K-12 School Suspension and Expulsion on Black Students in Southern States
A report by Edward J. Smith and Shaun R. Harper, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania, The Center for the Study of Race and Equality in Education, 2015.
From the Executive Summary: "This report aims to make transparent the rates at which school discipline practices and policies impact Black students in every K-12 public school district in 13 Southern states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. On average, Blacks were 24% of students in the 3,022 districts we analyzed, but rates at which they were suspended and expelled are disproportionately high."
The report includes at the beginning a message from U. S. Congressman Cedric Richmond, who represents Louisiana's 2nd Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives.
For a response to this study, see Laura Moser's article online in Slate, 25 August, 2015: "Schools in the South Suspend and Expel Black Students Way More than White Ones."
"Financial Conflicts of Interest and the Funding of New Orleans's Criminal Courts"--Micah West, in California Law Review, 2013.
"State and local government budget shortfalls have increased financial pressure on criminal courts. Many states are relying on fees and costs imposed on criminal defendants to help fund their criminal justice systems. This Comment highlights the constitutional and policy concerns raised by fines, fees, and costs in New Orleans’s adult criminal courts. New Orleans’s criminal courts are financially dependent on fines, fees, and costs (collectively “financial assessments”) imposed on criminal defendants to pay operating costs. This dependence creates a possible financial conflict of interest that violates defendants’ due process rights to impartial judges. This Comment provides several recommendations to reform the adult criminal court system’s funding structures, including abolishing judicial expense funds, separating court funding from financial assessments, consolidating the court system, and providing fee waivers for indigent defendants. These reforms would better protect citizens’ constitutional rights, preserve judicial independence, and improve local democracy and governance."
also located for download at:
High Price, by Carl Hart
A memoir by Dr. Carl Hart, who also appears in the documentary The House I Live In and is Professor of Clinical Neuroscience at Columbia University
Louisiana’s Debtors Prisons: An Appeal to Justice: A Report by the American Civil Liberties Union, August 2015
related report: In for a Penny: The Rise of America's New Debtors' Prisons
"Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror," 2015.
This is an online summary of a report by the Equal Justice Initiative "which documents EJI's multi-year investigation into lynching in twelve Southern states during the period between Reconstruction and World War II.. . . The report explores the ways in which lynching profoundly impacted race relations in this country and shaped the contemporary geographic, political, social, and economic conditions of African Americans. Most importantly, lynching reinforced a narrative of racial difference and a legacy of racial inequality that is readily apparent in our criminal justice system today."
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
Website for Michelle Alexander's book, with suggestions for taking action
Slavery in America: The Montgomery Slave Trade
The Equal Justice Institute has published a report which "documents American slavery and Montgomery's prominent role in the domestic slave trade. The report is part of EJI’s project focused on developing a more informed understanding of America’s racial history and how it relates to contemporary challenges. EJI believes that reconciliation with our nation’s difficult past cannot be achieved without truthfully confronting history and finding a way forward that is thoughtful and responsible.”
A short version of the report can be found here: http://www.eji.org/files/Slavery%20in%20America.pdf
Vernon Parish Extra-Legal Needs Assessment: A Survey of the demographics and social service needs of adult criminal defendants appointed representation by the 30th JDC Public Defenders' Office and incarcerated at Vernon Parish Prison
Louisiana Justice Coalition, 26 August 2011
"Data collected in this study supports the presence of a relationship between crime and unmet social needs. This research reveals that the vast majority of pre-trial prisoners awaiting trial in jail are suffering from at least one kind of crisis, be it a crisis in housing, addiction, employment, or mental or physical health."
Who Pays? The True Cost of Incarceration on Families
" Who Pays? is a national community-driven research project. The research presented in this report was led by the collaborative efforts of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Forward Together, and Research Action Design with extensive research and participation by [other partners listed on the 'About the Project' page of the website]. This research and its contributing organizations seek to address the lack of representation and the misrepresentation of low-income communities of color in the design of smart solutions that can break the cycles of violence and poverty exacerbated by the criminal justice system at the local, state, and national levels. This research also sought to uncover some of the ways individuals, families, and communities disparately experience these punitive practices based on race, class, gender, and sexuality."
WEBSITES, DOCUMENTARIES, FILM, TELEVISION
American Civil Liberties Union
Especially these pages:
School to Prison Pipeline: https://www.aclu.org/school-prison-pipeline
The War on Marijuana in Black and White: https://www.aclu.org/billions-dollars-wasted-racially-biased-arrests
Marijuana Law Reform: https://www.aclu.org/criminal-law-reform/marijuana-law-reform
The War on Drugs blog series: https://www.aclu.org/end-war-drugs
Breaking the Addiction to Incarceration: https://www.aclu.org/blog/tag/breaking-addiction-incarceration
Angola for Life (online video)
Jeffrey Goldberg, correspondent with The Atlantic, interviews inmates of Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola as well as Warden Burl Cain. This video, which runs just a little over 13 minutes, is part of a 20-part series published by The Atlantic, September 2015.
*Broken on All Sides
Website for the documentary Broken on All Sides, directed by Matthew Pillischer--focuses on the overcrowded Philadelphia county jail system and explores the wider concerns of race and incarceration
Bureau of Justice Statistics
U.S. Department of Justice website--provides research, reports and statistics on the criminal justice system
Center for Ethical Living and Social Justice Renewal
This New Orleans organization provides on its website links to many videos that cover the history of racism in the United States and in the world as well as videos that focus on regional topics related to Louisiana and New Orleans. In addition, the organization offers a printable, pdf version of questions for each video to help groups facilitate discussion of these topics.
How the Formerly Incarcerated Re-Enter Society (online video)
The formerly incarcerated face many difficulties as they re-enter society, and society provides few resources for making that transition successful. Two fledgling organizations in New Orleans, both run by former inmates of Louisiana penitentiaries, are trying to help those recently released from prison find housing, jobs, and counseling. This six-minute video, focusing on the founders of these organizations, is part of a 20-part series published by The Atlantic, September 2015.
Interview with former New Orleans Police Chief Ronal Serpas
WWL, channel 4, New Orleans reporters interview the former police chief about "how the country can reduce incarceration rates and crime at the same time." The interview follows the publication of an opinion column on the same topic in USA Today, by Gary McCarthy and Ronal Serpas--link here:
Locked Up in America
Frontline investigates mass incarceration through documentaries, interviews, and articles. You can view the documentaries online and also read the accompanying material. The website has a lot of information that covers solitary confinement, the school-to-prison pipeline, racial disparities in the criminal justice system, breaking the prison cycle, among others. The documentaries--Solitary Nation and Prison State--originally aired April 22 & 29, 2014.
Louisiana Budget Project
"The Louisiana Budget Project (LBP) monitors and reports on public policy and how it affects Louisiana's low- to moderate-income families. We believe that the lives of Louisianans can be improved through profound change in public policy, brought about by:
- creating a deeper understanding of the state budget and budget-related issues
- looking at the big picture of how the budget impacts citizens
- encouraging citizens to be vocal about budget issues that are important to them
- providing insight and leadership to drive the policy debate"
Louisiana Incarcerated: How We Built the World's Prison Capital
Eight-part series by Times Picayune reporters about the Louisiana's prison-industrial complex--includes video and print information
*The House I Live In
Access to the movie The House I Live In, which investigates the effects of the (failed) Drug War on people and communities
*Think Outside the Cell
Access to the film Think Outside the Cell: The Long Shadow of Incarceration's Stigma, which explores the barriers to society that the formerly incarcerated face
This is Crazy: Criminalizing Mental Health
Part One of a three-part series by Brave New Films on the criminalization of mental health can be viewed on line: "Part one shows what happens when police are not properly trained to deal with people with mental illness."
Prison Phone Justice
The Human Rights Defense Center maintains this website on the cost of jail-phone calls: “Prison phone contracts are based on a ‘commission’ model, where the phone service provider pays a commission (kickback) to the contracting government agency, such as a state prison system or county jail. These kickbacks inflate the costs of prison and jail phone calls, which in the vast majority of cases are paid not by prisoners but by their family members. This website includes detailed information on state-by-state prison phone rates and commission data, as well as reports, articles and other resources related to prison phone services and the prison phone industry.’
The Sentencing Project
Website of organization founded by defense lawyers that "works for a fair and effective U.S. criminal justice system by promoting reforms in sentencing policy, addressing unjust racial disparities and practices, and advocating for alternatives to incarceration"--includes lots of statistics and gathers up-to-date news on the prison-industrial complex and those affected by it
*The School to Prison Pipeline DVD
30-minute film produced by Families and Friends of Louisiana's Incarcerated Children
Slavery to Mass Incarceration
The Equal Justice Initiative has released this "animated short film by acclaimed artist Molly Crabapple, with narration by Bryan Stevenson. The film illustrates facts about American slavery and the elaborate mythology of racial difference that was created to sustain it. Because that mythology persists today, slavery did not end in 1865, it evolved. Its legacy can be seen in the presumption of guilt and dangerousness assigned to African Americans, especially young men and boys, the racial profiling and mistreatment that presumption creates, and the racial dynamics of criminal justice practices and mass incarceration."
Smart on Sentencing, Smart on Crime: An Argument for Reforming Louisiana's Determinate Sentencing Laws
A report written by Lauren Galik and Julian Morris, sponsored by Reason Foundation, Texas Public Policy Foundation, and Pelican Institute for Public Policy
Tavis Smiley Reports: Education Under Arrest
Episode aired 26 March 2013, available online at the link above--explores the juvenile justice system and the connection to school drop-out rates