Punished Enough?

Downstate confronts questions that date to the time of Plato and the Old Testament: How ought we punish acts that are repugnant to society? Are there lawbreakers who are truly unforgivable? Are there offenses that demand perpetual condemnation, shunning, expulsion—banishment?   We once thought that we knew the answer to such riddles, at least in principle. For much of the twentieth century, jurists and lawmakers progressively tethered law to enlightened ideals: they eschewed punishment for the sake of punishment, embraced the idea of contingent redemption—rehabilitation—and imposed limits to punishment. But after the turmoil of the 1960s, American legal history diverged…

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California Hearsay Challenge

I. Introduction Currently, there is some slow progress being made in the quest to reform the use of hearsay in California criminal and Sexually Violent Predator Act (SVP or SVPA) proceedings.   Part of this progress began in 2016, when the California Supreme Court heard a case, People v. Sanchez (2016) 63 Cal.4th  665, that changed the way California applied Crawford v. Washington (2004) 541 U.S. 36 to state court proceedings.  Following the reasoning of the high Court in Williams v. Illinois (2012) 567 U.S. 50, the California Supreme Court did away with the (fraudulent) reasoning that expert testimony was “not…

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Percy Foundation Survey Report on Imprisoned and Committed Sex Offenders

Note from JustFuture: The original title of the paper was “The psycho/social/spiritual impact of being held in a ‘treatment center’ for sex offenders: reflections on the outcome of a brief questionnaire administered to a group of civilly committed men.” We would love to receive a full copy of the essay.  Please contact us if you know how to find it. The below quote came from “The Legal Pad” Volume 2, Issue 11, (November 15, 2018) published by Cyrus P. Gladden, II from the gulag in Mooselake, Minnesota. Gladden used the above title to describe the paper and attributed the paper…

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Lawsuit, Ballot Initiative Seek to Reform Felon Disenfranchisement in Florida | Prison Legal News

In 1868, in response to the abolition of slavery following the Civil War (except for prisoners), Florida enshrined in its constitution the permanent disenfranchisement of people convicted of a felony.  The deprivation of felons’ voting rights was combined with Black Codes that criminalized offenses state lawmakers believed were mostly committed by blacks, as a means of sending freed slaves to prison and ensuring they could not vote. While the civil rights movement helped to change racial attitudes, Florida has held strong to its disenfranchisement policy.  It is one of only four states, the others being Iowa, Kentucky and Virginia, to…

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When Junk Science About People Labeled “Sex Offenders” Infects the Supreme Court | NYT Op-Doc

American criminal justice policy for sex-related crimes is built on a myth.  The U.S. Supreme Court green lighted draconian restrictions that relegate persons with former sex-related convictions to a permanent pariah status based on the erroneous findings that they commit new crimes at an astronomical rate.  Watch filmmaker, lawyer, activist David Feige unravel this “frightening and high” myth in a compelling NYT OP-doc.  “A ‘Frightening’ Myth About Sex Offenders” by David Feige. This month the Supreme Court will have a rare opportunity to correct a flawed doctrine that for the past two decades has relied on junk social science to justify…

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Speak Up Minnesota

The spark is catching. Read this powerful organizing appeal from a person living behind the walls in Minnesota and learn what Just future is doing to help. At Just Future Project we believe that the people closest to the problem are closest to the solution, but furthest from power and opportunity. We are trying to balance the scales by connecting advocates living on the registry or working from the inside with tools to create change.  Our hats off to Cyrus Gladden for writing this compelling call to action. The appeal below is written to other people living behind the walls…

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