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PACEs in the Criminal Justice System

Discussion and sharing of resources in working with clients involved in the criminal justice system and how screening for and treating ACEs will lead to successful re-entry of prisoners into the community and reduced recidivism for former offenders.

Prison Reform

Felony Murder: An On-Ramp for Extreme Sentencing (

In San Joaquin County, California in 2010, 19-year-old Emmanuel Mendoza helped lure a robbery victim to a location where a masked accomplice waited with a firearm. When a struggle with the victim over the firearm ensued, Mendoza’s accomplice fired a fatal shot. Although Mendoza did not have a weapon and the killing had not been planned, he was convicted of felony murder with special circumstances, and automatically sentenced to life without parole (LWOP). 1) In prison, he ended his gang...

The invention of incarceration (

For most of Western history, long-term incarceration wasn’t used as punishment, and many countries even had rules against it, Rubin tells Knowable . “The idea of confining people for long periods of time as punishment was really quite revolutionary.” Her research involves combing archives for records, letters and other documents on the early history of prisons, and along with other scholars she argues that prisons as we now know them first arose in the nascent United States, shortly after...

Changing Prison from the Inside Out: Interview with Samual Brown (

Cal State LA BA Prison Program Graduate Fights to End Involuntary Servitude On October 5, 2021, Samual Nathaniel Brown, co-founder of the Anti-Violence Safety and Accountability Project (ASAP), creator of the 10P program, and author of the constitutional amendment proposal, The California Abolition Act (ACA 3), recently became one of the first along with 24 other men to graduate with a bachelors in communication from Cal State LA’s Prison B.A. Graduation Initiative on the yard at California...

How “Solitary Gardens” Help Envision a World Without Prisons (

In a small patch of green space on Andry Street in New Orleans’ lower ninth ward, nine garden beds lie next to one another, each 6 feet by 9 feet, each the size of one standard solitary-confinement cell. Each garden bed grows a mix of herbs and flowers, among them pansies, stinging nettles, onions, mugwort. They are a mix of plants with medicinal properties and some that just bring pleasure to the eyes, and their growth is limited to the parts of the tiny space where a person would be free...

We Don’t Need Prisons to Make Us Safer (

The United States now has 2.3 million people behind bars of some form or another. These are not 2.3 million isolated individuals—their imprisonment sends reverberations into their families and communities. On any given day, 2.7 million children have a parent in prison. Incarcerating that parent removes a source of financial and emotional support for both children and adult family members. For families who are already in economically precarious situations, removing a parent can plunge them...

Abolitionist Politics: The Case for a World without Prisons (

What is often called police and prison reform does not and has never worked for Black people. Measures to stem police violence and other acts of harm toward Black people, like hiring more Black police officers, community policing, modernized surveillance techniques, placing police outposts in under-serviced and marginalized neighborhoods, and starting sports camps run by police, among other programs, fail by their very nature because each is meant to further cement the position policing...

Oregon law to decriminalize all drugs goes into effect, offering addicts rehab instead of prison (

In prison six years later, Gullickson was contemplating joining an intensive recovery program when a “striking, magnetic gorgeous Black woman walked in the room, held up a mug shot and started talking about being in the very chairs where we were sitting,” Gullickson remembers. There was life on the other side of addiction and prison, the woman said. But you have to fight for it. Gullickson believed her. “I remember thinking, I may not be able to do all that, be what she was, but maybe I...

Where Incarceration Isn’t the Answer (

Progressive voices long ago characterized America’s penal system as a failure. However, in recent years, even a few button-down conservative, law-and-order types have grudgingly acknowledged the need for change. Of course, they don’t sign on to so-called “bleeding heart” concerns about human rights. But they do express alarm about the dollars and cents required to warehouse human beings with no financial return. Texas lawyer Marc Levin, who helped establish the organization Right on Crime...

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