Ghost warrants: US cops routinely arrest people for warrants that were canceled long ago, and lock them up for months before discovering the error

The US has a patchwork of systems for checking outstanding warrants -- it's worst in the south, where paper records and a system that is "labyrinthine and informal" exacerbates the problem -- which means that cops often mistakenly arrest people for having outstanding warrants that were canceled long before. Read the rest

Ahead of California's criminal justice reforms to reduce mass incarceration, prosecutors are locking in plea deals forcing defendants to give up the rights they're about to get

If you enter into a plea deal in California today, your prosecutor will likely make you promise not to use any future legal reforms to get out of jail earlier than is stipulated in your plea -- that way, you won't be able to take advantage of the slate of criminal justice and sentencing reforms passed by the California legislature and voted in by Californians through ballot initiatives. Read the rest

Illinois votes to eliminate inmates' doctor visit co-pays, equivalent to one month's wages

Illinois lawmakers have want to end inmates' co-payments of $5 for each prison doctor visit -- the equivalent of a month's wages in the prison's $0.05/hour and under workshops; in Oregon, they're contemplating creating a $3-5/visit co-pay. Read the rest

Republican lawmaker Doug Cox tricked legislature into exempting "Christian" forced-labor camps from regulation

Christian Alcoholics & Addicts in Recovery is a scandal-haunted forced-labor program that addicted convicts in Oklahoma were diverted to; they were put into back-breaking, unsafe labor for long hours with little or no pay and no care or compensation when they were maimed on the job. Rather than meaningful addiction counseling, prisoners were directed to pray and work. Read the rest

For today's college kids, the Rodney King beating seems mild and unremarkable

In 1991, George Holliday's video of Rodney King being kicked and nightsticked by LAPD officers shocked the nation and sparked an uprising that galvanized the discussion about police brutality. Read the rest