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Jay-Z goes to bat for Mississippi prisoners and files federal lawsuit | NBC News

The rap mogul had warned Mississippi officials he was “prepared to pursue all potential avenues.” Rap mogul Jay-Z sued the head of the Mississippi Department of Corrections and the warden of the state penitentiary Tuesday on behalf of 29 prisoners who say the two officials have done nothing to stop the violence that has left five inmates dead in the past two weeks. “These deaths are a direct result of Mississippi’s utter disregard for the people it has incarcerated and their constitutional rights,” according to the lawsuit, which was filed by Jay-Z’s lawyer Alex Spiro at the U.S. District Court […]

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1,000 pot convictions tossed as Kim Foxx expunges records of marijuana busts | Chicago Sun Times

Foxx went to court Wednesday to vacate and expunge records of people caught up in the drug war — her first move to wipe the books clean after the state legalized recreational marijuana. More than 1,000 pot convictions will soon be off the books in Cook County. In a hearing Wednesday afternoon at the Leighton Criminal Court Building, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx stood before the circuit court’s chief judge and called for the vacation and expungement of 1,012 low-level, nonviolent convictions for possession of less than an ounce of pot. The vast majority of the people who were […]

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US taxpayers spent almost $1 billion incarcerating innocent black people | Yahoo Finance

In total, among all known exonerees, Americans have shelled out a staggering $4.12 billion to incarcerate innocent men and women since 1989, according to a Yahoo Finance analysis. Over the last few weeks, the Rodney Reed case has ignited a firestorm of interest, as celebrities, activists, and politicians worked to delay his Nov. 20 execution on the basis that he might be innocent. After facing mounting pressure, a Texas appeals court granted Reed a stay of execution, allowing him to fight allegations that he committed murder more than two decades ago. If he succeeds, Reed would be another of the […]

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Justice for Curtis Flowers | The New York Times

Delayed and incomplete, but still a triumph. First, a quick note about impeachment: More than 600 protests will be taking place around the country this evening. The goal is to voice outrage at President Trump’s behavior and show support for impeaching him. My colleague Michelle Goldberg writes about the planned events in her column: “In this moment, when the political valence of impeachment is still unclear, and the fight for a thorough, transparent trial in the Senate is just beginning, citizens can make a real difference by gathering en masse and voicing their outrage.” Justice delayed There was no physical […]

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Freed from prison nine years ago, Brandon Flood is new secretary of Pa.’s pardon board | Will Bunch | The Philadelphia Inquirer

This column will probably come as something of a shock to all the people in Harrisburg who only know Brandon Flood – a bow-tied, bespectacled policy wonk with sartorial flair – as the persona that he laughingly calls “Urkel Brandon,” in a homage to one of TV’s most famous nerds. Flood, now 36, readily admits most folks who know him from nearly a decade as a legislative aide or lobbyist will be shocked to learn of his past that includes boot camp for juvenile offenders, a physical scuffle with Harrisburg’s then-police chief, and finally felony convictions and two lengthy prison […]

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John Legend Wants To Improve Job Opportunities For People With Criminal Backgrounds | Forbes

In Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Grammy-winning musician John Legend announced the second cohort of participants in Unlocked Futures, a 14-month accelerator program for social entrepreneurs who have been incarcerated and urged business leaders to be more inclusive of job applicants with criminal backgrounds. Unlocked Futures launched in 2017 as a partnership between the philanthropic venture fund New Profit and Legend’s criminal justice reform initiative FreeAmerica, with financial support from Bank of America. “We started this as a collaboration, saying, ‘Let’s not just tell folks to hire formerly incarcerated individuals, but to invest in their ideas,’” says Legend. “All of the […]

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An effort to stop overnight jail releases in California is rejected by Gov. Newsom | Los Angeles Times

SACRAMENTO — Ten years ago, Mitrice Richardson was released from the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Malibu/Lost Hills Station just after midnight, left to find her way home through a remote area, alone and on foot, with no money or phone. When her body was located 11 months later, questions were raised about why the Sheriff’s Department let her go at an hour when there were few transportation options available and after she showed signs of a mental health crisis; she had been arrested after failing to pay her bill at a Malibu restaurant and exhibiting what was described as “strange […]

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