What's Happening

Last week, Judge Carney in the Central District of California wrote a refreshingly accessible, logical, and just opinion declaring California’s death penalty system unconstitutional.  It is worth reading, but I summarize it briefly below.
Right now, in the United States, close to three million children are growing up with one of their parents, most often their father, in prison. That works out to about one in every 28 kids. For African Americans, the number rises to one in 9. And the consequences are grave.
[image by Nick Fisher, https://www.flickr.com/people/cobrasick/]
On June 2, a federal judge granted a group of people incarcerated at Pelican Bay State Prison permission to pursue a class action against the State of California over its use of solitary confinement. More than five hundred of these inmates have lived in extreme isolation for at least ten years—some for as many as 28 years. 
I first met Alex Nieto at my friend’s college graduation party. He was polite and laidback, and he told me how he wanted to make a difference in youth’s lives, to move them away from a life of violence. A practicing Buddhist, he had aspirations to become a youth probation officer. The next time I heard anything about Alex was on the news. He had been killed by the SFPD because he was perceived as a threat. 
"They say everything is messed up and can never get better, but they don’t understand that they’re the agents of change and each generation has to have something to look forward to, to change momentum."
What is Justice Reinvestment?
If you Google “Justice Reinvestment” you will find a very jargon-riddled, wordy definition that goes a little something like this: