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Pew Research Center;
The U.S. Supreme Court, which typically attracts only modest attention from the American public, is about to occupy the national spotlight with the possibility of a history-making change among the court's justices and a series of highly anticipated rulings on matters ranging from abortion to gun policy.The court enters this pivotal period with its public image as negative as it has been in many years, as Democrats – especially liberal Democrats – increasingly express unfavorable opinions of the court.In a national survey by Pew Research Center, 54% of U.S. adults say they have a favorable opinion of the Supreme Court while 44% have an unfavorable view. The survey was conducted before Justice Stephen Breyer announced his retirement from the court and President Joe Biden reiterated his pledge to nominate the first Black woman to the Supreme Court to replace Breyer.Over the past three years, the share of adults with a favorable view of the court has declined 15 percentage points, according to the new survey, conducted Jan. 10-17 among 5,128 adults on the Center's American Trends Panel. Looking back further, current views of the court are among the least positive in surveys dating back nearly four decades.
Human Rights First;
Today, the United States operates the world's largest immigration detention system—a system the Biden administration uses to jail people seeking refugee protection. While this administration is not currently detaining families and has requested a reduction in detention funding, its policy has led the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to target adult asylum seekers as priorities for detention. DHS has perpetuated a punitive immigration detention system—converting former family detention centers to jail adults and expanding other existing facilities. As the administration restores compliance with U.S. refugee law at the southern U.S. border and ends Trump policy that illegally prevented people from seeking asylum, it should not substitute one rights-violating policy for another. Instead, it should set an example of global leadership by ending mass detention of asylum seekers and providing a true humanitarian welcome to people seeking refugee protection at the border.This report is based on information about 270 asylum seekers and immigrants held in detention, including direct interviews with 76, information received from dozens of attorneys and detention center visitation programs, DHS data, government records received through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and visits to three ICE detention centers where researchers spoke with detained individuals and ICE officials. Requests to visit five additional facilities were denied by ICE. Human Rights First interviewed or received information from asylum seekers, attorneys, and other monitors related to asylum seekers and immigrants held at 49 facilities in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington. The report is also informed by Human Rights First's decades of experience providing pro bono representation to asylum seekers, including those held in immigration detention, and its prior research and reporting on U.S. detention and parole of asylum seekers, including reports issued in August 2015, July 2016, February 2018, June 2018, and January 2019. A full description of Human Rights First's research methodology is included at the end of this report.
Center for American Progress;
Each year, hundreds of thousands of individuals fleeing persecution arrive in the United States and begin the process of claiming asylum, while other undocumented immigrants in the United States encounter Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Although many of these individuals end up in ICE detention, a large subset of them are released and enrolled in the Alternatives to Detention (ATD) program as they await a decision on their case or deportation. As opposed to remaining in a physical detention center, those enrolled in the ATD program are electronically monitored through ankle monitors, telephone calls, and smartphone applications.As the Biden administration has worked to reform an immigration system impeded by Trump-era policies that criminalized undocumented immigrants and asylum-seekers and expanded immigration detention, the ATD program has rapidly grown. In fact, as of June 2022, a record number of almost 280,000 undocumented immigrants and asylum-seekers have been enrolled in ATD, and the Biden administration plans to double this number by the end of 2023.This is an important step toward reducing the country's costly reliance on immigration detention, which severely harms immigrants and asylum-seekers by separating them from their families, communities, and critical services as they fight their legal cases to remain in the country.However, the expansion of the ATD program raises a new set of privacy and civil liberty concerns. Namely, there is growing concern that enrolled immigrants and asylum-seekers may experience the program as "e-carceration," or a different form of detention, due to its invasive surveillance measures and mobility restrictions.To address this, the Biden administration must reconsider how it implements the ATD program as it works to build a more fair, humane, and functional immigration system that respects due process and the dignity of immigrants and asylum-seekers. Specifically, less restrictive, community-based approaches to administering the ATD program hold the most promise for providing immigrants and asylum-seekers with support, while also promoting voluntary compliance with immigration authorities. Instead of relying on electronic monitoring, which has become synonymous with the ATD program, the alternatives detailed in this report operate using case management models that offer wraparound social and legal support to immigrants and asylum-seekers as they resolve their cases.
Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan;
The Michigan Justice Fund aims to support the economic mobility and success of people with criminal records, reduce reliance on confinement and adjudication, and build a movement for communities to shape justice policies and funding. The 2021 annual report outlines what long-term success looks like for each of these goals and shines a spotlight on the progress that already has been made.
African Bureau for Immigration and Social Affairs (ABISA);
Over the last year, the Biden administration has rapidly expanded the socalled "Alternatives to Detention" (ATD) program of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Also known as the Intensive Supervision Appearance Program (ISAP), this electronic monitoring program now has more than 227,000 immigrants under constant surveillance as of April 2022, more than double the number enrolled in the program when President Biden took office. Though ISAP is pitched as an "alternative" to the inhumane and irreparable ICE detention system, it is not an alternative. Instead, the program expands the carceral reach of ICE and bolsters all forms of immigrant detention.This report highlights the excruciating toll that ICE electronic monitoring takes on immigrant communities, underscoring the need for a transformative shift in our approach to immigration. Despite ICE's claims to the contrary, digital prisons are physically inhibitive and harmful to health and wellbeing.
Center for Constitutional Rights;
This report shows how the harms associated with ICE detention practices are embedded in the structures of the immigration control regime rather than a manifestation of a broken system. In doing so, it offers a summary of U.S. detention laws to illustrate how the system is designed to make it as easy as possible for the federal government to exclude and deport people. It also shows how the detention system deploys multiple tactics to undermine the ability of individuals to fight deportation. In addition, the report highlights the stories of people who've been held in ICE detention, and their resistance and resilience in the face of a draconian system.Piecemeal reforms alone will not be sufficient for remedying the cruelty of this system. What is ultimately required is far-reaching transformation, one aimed at ending detention as a tool of the U.S. regime of exclusion.
Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law;
Bipartisan efforts to change the criminal justice system have gained momentum around the country in recent years. Nearly all 50 states, many counties, and the federal government have sought to reduce imprisonment and mitigate its harms. A remarkable wave of legislation has shortened custodial sentences and widened eligibility for sentences served in the community. States and localities have also invested in rehabilitation and reentry services.Yet the impact of these efforts has been relatively modest. While the nation's imprisoned population has declined since peaking in 2009, incarceration levels remain extraordinarily high. Nearly 1.2 million people are serving sentences in state and federal prisons, and 10.3 million are admitted to local jails every year. Mass incarceration -- a term now entrenched in the popular lexicon -- is proving remarkably resistant to well-intentioned reforms.One explanation can be found in the infrastructure erected to support the United States' reliance on imprisonment as the country's primary crime control policy. Mass incarceration did not result simply from increased policing and harsher criminal penalties. Economic and financial incentives established by local, state, and federal agencies also played a role. Police, prosecutors, and corrections agencies competed for these benefits by escalating their enforcement practices. Law enforcement came to depend on these funding sources, particularly as declining tax receipts and intergovernmental transfers left them grasping to fill budget holes. These incentives are a persistent structural driver of punitive enforcement and mass incarceration.The perverse financial incentives of direct federal funding programs for incarceration are relatively easy to identify. So too are laws passed by Congress that encourage more punitive policies. This report focuses instead on an interlocking set of economic incentives that are more deeply entrenched and difficult to unravel. These incentive structures raise the risk that officials will chase revenue rather than pursue public safety and justice, giving law enforcement agencies a stake in perpetuating mass incarceration. This report catalogs some of the most corrosive practices.
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU);
Drawing on responses to open records requests, analysis of state and federal laws and regulations, interviews, and written questionnaires completed by incarcerated workers, this report discusses at length the features of state and federal prison labor systems that result in systemic exploitation and abuse. This report also recommends concrete steps to make prison systems treat incarcerated workers with dignity and respect for their human rights. Though this report centers on the gratuitously harsh conditions of contemporary prison labor, it is embedded in larger conversations about racism, sexism, the U.S. criminal legal system, the 13th Amendment, and the ultimate morality of this country's vast network of prisons, jails, and detention facilities.
Bridgespan's experience and relationships working with institutional foundations and philanthropists created an opportunity to dive into the common challenges we've heard funders navigate: What role could philanthropy play in movement building in criminal justice reform? How might mindset and practice need to shift to enable effective giving to movement?The purpose of this report is to provide guidance for some of those common challenges by offering the perspectives and wisdom of those doing the work. Our research included interviews with more than 40 movement leaders, funders, and others across the ecosystem seeking transformative change of our criminal legal system, as well as a review of literature to understand how social movements can achieve equitable change.Bridgespan recognizes that this research is indebted to the work of many others who have long been thinking about these issues deeply. We hope to contribute to that ongoing conversation and the fight for equity and justice.
ACLU of Northern California;
Over the past decade, the California Legislature enacted a trio of critical laws intended to protect people from collusion between state and local law enforcement agencies and agencies engaged in immigration enforcement. Certain sheriffs and local law enforcement agencies, however, have circumvented these laws and undermined the protections envisioned for California immigrants — at times in consultation with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). As a result of these unlawful practices, sheriffs facilitate the reincarceration of noncitizen community members, whom ICE then forces to sit in prison-like detention awaiting trial, often without counsel. Collaboration between sheriffs and ICE are particularly destructive to the communities of the Central Valley: an expansive rural region with a large immigrant population, high poverty levels, and a dearth of legal services providers.This report exposes the different tactics used by Central Valley sheriffs to divert their resources to immigration enforcement and funnel noncitizen community members into the hands of immigration enforcement authorities. This report also reveals new details about the mechanisms developed by Central Valley sheriffs and law enforcement agencies in close partnership with ICE to evade pro-immigrant state laws. Notably, the practice of funneling people in Central Valley communities to ICE custody has continued even during the COVID-19 pandemic, which threatens particularly dangerous results in the congregate settings of ICE detention centers, which have been plagued by outbreaks.A two-year bill that was introduced in 2021 (AB 937, VISION Act), if enacted, would strengthen prohibitions on entanglement between state and local law enforcement agencies and ICE. This report demonstrates the need for such a bill: to sever sheriff entanglement with immigration enforcement and better protect all California residents.
Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law;
In 2019–20, state Supreme Court elections attracted more money — including more spending by special interests — than any judicial election cycle in history, posing a serious threat to the appearance and reality of justice across the country.Thirty-eight states use elections to choose the justices who sit on their highest courts, which typically have the final word in interpreting state law. Over the past two decades, the Brennan Center has tracked and documented more than $500 million in spending in these races.This unparalleled spending speaks to the power and influence of state supreme courts, which often fly below the public's radar. The current political moment only heightens the stakes. In 2020 alone, state supreme courts ruled on everything from ballot access and challenges to election results to governors' emergency orders concerning the Covid-19 pandemic. Looking ahead, state courts are playing a crucial role in the ongoing redistricting cycle, including resolving disputes about racial discrimination and partisan gerrymandering and even drawing electoral maps in some states.States have a wide range of tools to mitigate the harms documented in this report, including eliminating Supreme Court elections or limiting justices to a lengthy single term in office, providing judicial candidates with public financing, strengthening disclosure rules, and adopting recusal and ethics reforms. The 2019–20 cycle underscores that the challenges posed by modern supreme court elections are not going away — and that the need for action is urgent.
Loyola University New Orleans;
This report provides targeted recommendations for foundations and philanthropy as a supplement to research and findings presented in our 2022 report, "Louisiana Justice: Pre-trial, Incarceration, & Reentry." That report provides a high-level overview of the criminal legal system in Louisiana based on original statistical research and focus group interviews.