Justice

PART 3 — PODCAST SPECIAL: The First Los Angeles District Attorney Debate

This is the third part of a three part look at the First Los Angeles District Attorney Debate of the 2020 election cycle. You can find part 1 of this series here and part 2 of the series here. On December 19, 2019 USC Law Professor Jody Armour moderated the first Los Angeles DA debate in which candidates George Gascón and Rachel Rossi squared off over a host of criminal justice issues. Conspicuously missing from the event was incumbent Jackie Lacey, who cited a scheduling conflict....

CalGang

According to the California Department of Justice, you are eligible for inclusion on CalGang, a statewide database of gang members and gang associates, if you meet two or more of the following criteria: 1.     You have admitted to being a gang member. 2.     You have been arrested for offenses consistent with gang activity. 3.     You have been identified as a gang member by a reliable informant. 4.     You have been seen associating with...

PART 2 — PODCAST SPECIAL: The First Los Angeles District Attorney Debate

This is the second part of a three part look at the First Los Angeles District Attorney Debate of the 2020 election cycle. You can find part 1 of this series here. On December 19, 2019 USC Law Professor Jody Armour moderated the first Los Angeles DA debate in which candidates George Gascón and Rachel Rossi squared off regarding a host of criminal justice issues. Conspicuously missing from the event was incumbent Jackie Lacey who cited a scheduling conflict. In today’s Podcast Special, we examine the...

A Public Defender Speaks

When I moved to LA, I dreaded living in a city famous for its superficiality but I reassured myself that I was also settling in a mecca of progressive ideals. Marijuana is legal, gay marriage is celebrated, and the state is plastered with blue on every political rendering. Welcome to California, or as Jack Donaghy of 30 Rock called it, “The People’s Gaypublic of Drugifornia.”  Given what I knew, I assumed that in LA, the District Attorney’s Office would be at the forefront of criminal justice reform.

PODCAST SPECIAL: The First Los Angeles District Attorney Debate – Part 1

On today’s podcast we have the first part of a special immersive experience into the Los Angeles District Attorney election. Molly Miller takes us inside a recent forum for the candidates. This is: The First LA DA Debate - Part One. Participating Candidates: George Gascón and Rachel Rossi. Invited but not attending: Jackie Lacey. Moderator: USC Professor Jody Armour. SAMSON: “MANY DA’S AROUND THE COUNTRY SEEM FOCUSED PRIMARILY ON ACHIEVING PUNISHMENT AT ANY COST, MEASURED SOLELY BY CONVICTIONS AND PRISON SENTENCES BASED ON THE MISPLACED ASSUMPTION, THE INCORRECT ASSUMPTION THAT...

PODCAST SPECIAL: A Congressional Crime Hearing in the City of Angels – Part 2

This is the second part of our two part coverage of this hearing. You can find part 1 here. Stanley Bailey served 36 years in the California state prison system on a three-strikes violation life sentence. An addict dating back to his teenage years, Bailey’s third strike was non-violent, triggered by the discovery of a single hypodermic needle in his prison cell.  BAILEY: TWO MONTHS BEFORE MY 19TH BIRTHDAY, I ENTERED THE PRISON SYSTEM.  A MONTH BEFORE MY 54TH BIRTHDAY, I WAS RELEASED. 

RightWay Youth: Ernesto’s Story

A significant aspect of CRIME STORY’s mission is to draw attention to programs that have demonstrated success in helping stem the tide of over-incarceration. As part of that mission, we published The RightWay To Shut Off the Foster Care to Prison Pipeline by Sean Smith. That piece told the story of how the RightWay Foundation — based in Los Angeles — is working to address the core reasons why 25% of California’s recently emancipated foster youth are incarcerated within two years of emancipation. (This has become known as the Foster Care To Prison Pipeline.)  As a...

PODCAST SPECIAL: A Congressional Crime Hearing in the City of Angels – Part 1

VARGAS-EDMOND: MY HUSBAND, AT THE AGE OF 19, WAS FACING 150 YEARS TO DOUBLE LIFE FOR AN OFFENSE IN WHICH NO ONE WAS HURT. HE ENDED UP BEING SENTENCED TO 10 YEARS AND PLED OUT TO THINGS THAT HE DID NOT DO BECAUSE OF THE WAYS THE DISTRICT ATTORNEYS HAVE THE ABILITY TO STACK CHARGES. This past July, Taina Vargas-Edmond, co-founder of the Los Angeles-based prisoner rights group, Initiate Justice, addressed a congressional field hearing on criminal justice reform hosted by Representative Karen Bass (D. CA).  Vargas-Edmond shared her personal...

RightWay Youth: James’ Story

A significant aspect of CRIME STORY’s mission is to draw attention to programs that have demonstrated success in helping stem the tide of over-incarceration. As part of that mission, we published The RightWay To Shut Off the Foster Care to Prison Pipeline by Sean Smith. That piece told the story of how the RightWay Foundation — based in Los Angeles — is working to address the core reasons why 25% of California’s recently emancipated foster youth are incarcerated within two years of emancipation. (This has become known as the Foster Care To Prison Pipeline.)  As a...

RightWay Youth: Lafawn’s Story

A significant aspect of CRIME STORY’s mission is to draw attention to programs that have demonstrated success in helping stem the tide of over-incarceration. As part of that mission, we published The RightWay To Shut Off the Foster Care to Prison Pipeline by Sean Smith. That piece told the story of how the RightWay Foundation — based in Los Angeles — is working to address the core reasons why 25% of California’s recently emancipated foster youth are incarcerated within two years of emancipation. (This has become known as the Foster Care To Prison Pipeline.)  As a...

RightWay Youth: Belle’s Story

A significant aspect of CRIME STORY’s mission is to draw attention to programs that have demonstrated success in helping stem the tide of over-incarceration. As part of that mission, we published The RightWay To Shut Off the Foster Care to Prison Pipeline by Sean Smith. That piece told the story of how the RightWay Foundation — based in Los Angeles — is working to address the core reasons why 25% of California’s recently emancipated foster youth are incarcerated within two years of emancipation. (This has become known as the Foster Care To Prison Pipeline.)  As a...

RightWay Youth: Leo’s Story

A significant aspect of CRIME STORY’s mission is to draw attention to programs that have demonstrated success in helping stem the tide of over-incarceration. As part of that mission, we published The RightWay To Shut Off the Foster Care to Prison Pipeline by Sean Smith. That piece told the story of how the RightWay Foundation — based in Los Angeles — is working to address the core reasons why 25% of California’s recently emancipated foster youth are incarcerated within two years of emancipation. (This has become known as the Foster Care To Prison Pipeline.) 

The RightWay To Shut Off the Foster Care to Prison Pipeline

Leo has been in 21 foster homes, three psych wards, and one group home. One of his foster mothers would pull him out of bed in the middle of the night in order to whip him and then force him outside like a dog. Belle was beaten so severely by her new housemate that she couldn’t see out of her swollen eyes. She somehow made her way to Los Angeles Trade-Technical College, where she curled up in a ball on the floor outside her counselor’s office. She remembers that she saw terror in the...

Special Docket

“I should just come to work with some alcohol,” the bailiff says, “I really should.” I am the only person left in the gallery and she’s looking right at me, but she is mostly thinking out loud, hoping that one of the other court staffers will commiserate. The judicial assistant picks up the cue: “When I worked downtown, all the old sheriffs came to work with booze in these little flasks,” she reminisces. The court staff today are chatty and candid, though I come to realize that the turn to humor is mainly to offset the stress...

Solitary Time (Excarceration 3)

On Saturday, June 1, 2019, Defy Ventures held an event called Business Coaching Day at the NationBuilder offices in downtown Los Angeles. As a nonprofit focused on reducing recidivism by supporting currently and formerly incarcerated men to become entrepreneurs, Defy puts on Business Coaching Days to give their participants, known as “Entrepreneurs-in-Training” or EITs, an opportunity to learn from and be mentored by local executives. But their June event was unique: It was the first Business Coaching Day held outside prison, and therefore primarily aimed to help EITs in transitional housing. There were roughly...

Off the Path of Self-Destruction (Excarceration 2)

On Saturday, June 1, 2019, Defy Ventures held an event called Business Coaching Day at the NationBuilder offices in downtown Los Angeles. As a nonprofit focused on reducing recidivism by supporting currently and formerly incarcerated men to become entrepreneurs, Defy puts on Business Coaching Days to give their participants, known as “Entrepreneurs-in-Training” (or EITs), an opportunity to learn from and be mentored by local executives. But their June event was unique: It was the first Business Coaching Day held outside prison and therefore primarily aimed to help EITs in transitional housing.There were roughly 10...

Talk Foreal (Excarceration 1)

On Saturday, June 1, 2019, Defy Ventures held an event called Business Coaching Day at the NationBuilder offices in downtown Los Angeles. As a nonprofit focused on reducing recidivism by supporting currently and formerly incarcerated men to become entrepreneurs, Defy puts on Business Coaching Days to give their participants, known as “Entrepreneurs-in-Training” (or EITs), an opportunity to learn from and be mentored by local executives. But their June event was unique: It was the first Business Coaching Day held outside prison and therefore primarily aimed to help EITs in transitional housing. There were roughly...

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