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Legal News
14 Jul 2015
by Valerie Howell

[JURIST] US President Barack Obama [official profile] on Monday granted [statement, video] commuted sentences to 46 drug offenders in what he said was part of an effort by his administration to remedy the unfairness of the criminal justice system. In his statement, Obama noted that the majority of the men … [read more]

Legal News
4 Jul 2015
by Taylor Gillan

[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] on Thursday said that the SAFE Justice Act, a US criminal justice reform bill introduced in June, could better protect prisoners' rights and increase fairness in federal prison sentencing. The bill proposes reforms [HRW report] to federal sentencing statutes, which include the modification … [read more]

Academic Commentary
25 Jun 2015
by Albert Scherr of University of New Hampshire School of Law

JURIST Guest Columnist Albert Scherr of the University of New Hampshire School of Law, discusses the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice's new rules regarding torture...For the past four and a half years, the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (the "Commission") has been working on … [read more]

Legal News
22 Jun 2015
by Devin Montgomery

The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] 5-4 in Kingsley v. Hendrickson [SCOTUSblog materials] that force used against pre-trial detainees must be "objectively reasonable," the same standard used outside of prisons. The plaintiff in the case brought an excessive force claim against the government under the Fourteenth Amendment's … [read more]

Legal News
5 Jun 2015
by Sarah Boehme

The UN torture prevention body on Wednesday urged the Philippines to tackle urgent prison overcrowding [press release] issues and improve independent monitoring of detention facilities. During a visit by the six-member delegation, the Sub-Committee on the Prevention of Torture (SPT) [official website] presented its confidential preliminary observations to the Filipino … [read more]

Legal News
20 May 2015
by Matt Belenky

[JURIST] The top UN human rights expert on torture, Juan Mendez [official profile], called Monday for the adoption of the revised Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners [backgrounder] in an open letter to the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice [official website]. The revised Rules include … [read more]

Legal News
13 May 2015
by Emelina Perez

[JURIST] Mentally disabled prisoners experience "unnecessary, excessive, and even malicious force" at the hands of prison staff across the US, said a report [text] released Tuesday by Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website]. The report found excessive force used in many instances when prisoners exhibit behaviors that are characteristic of … [read more]

Professional Commentary
8 May 2015
by Mark Allenbaugh of Allenbaugh Law

JURIST Guest Columnists Alan Ellis and Mark H. Allenbaugh, discuss the US Sentencing Commission votes for fundamental fixes to the US Sentencing Guidelines ... On April 9, 2015, the US Sentencing Commission voted to fundamentally fix some portions of the US Sentencing Guidelines that have been in need of addressing … [read more]

Legal News
3 May 2015
by Julie Deisher-Edwards

[JURIST] The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) expressed concern [press release] Friday over actions by Burundi [CIA backgrounder] authorities ahead of its upcoming presidential elections. OHCHR Spokesman Rupert Colville noted in particular [UN News Centre report] the detention of hundreds of people in overcrowded prisons, … [read more]

Student Commentary
1 May 2015
by Harrison Thorne of UCLA School of Law

JURIST Guest Columnist Harrison Thorne of UCLA School of Law discusses the role of bankruptcy courts in equity... Bankruptcy law, embodied in Title 11 of the United States Code (also known as "the Bankruptcy Code"), strives to balance the rights of creditors to receive payment for what they are owed … [read more]

Academic Commentary
30 Apr 2015
by John D. Bessler of University of Baltimore School of Law

JURIST Guest Columnist John D. Bessler, of the University of Baltimore School of Law, discusses new changes in the evolution of capital punishment... Increasingly, US death penalty states are no longer content to have just one method of execution on the books. Instead, with a persistent shortage of lethal injection … [read more]

Legal News
17 Apr 2015
by Taylor Brailey

[JURIST] At the 13th UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice [official website] on Thursday, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) [official website] announced [press release] that prison overcrowding has reached "epidemic proportions" worldwide. "Prison overcrowding can also be considered as a symptom of a malfunctioning justice … [read more]

Legal News
15 Apr 2015
by Bradley McAllister

[JURIST] Boko Haram has abducted at least 2,000 women and girls in Nigeria since the start of 2014, Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] said Monday in a new report [press release] detailing the extreme violence and crimes against humanity committed by the group. The 90-page report [text, PDF] is entitled: … [read more]

Academic Commentary
30 Mar 2015
by David M. Crane of Syracuse University College of Law

JURIST Guest Columnist David M. Crane of Syracuse University College of Law discusses enforcing the laws of armed conflict in an age of extremes... Shortly after three planes went into three buildings on September 11, 2001 the chief law enforcement officer of the US, Attorney General Albert Gonzalez declared that … [read more]

Legal News
27 Mar 2015
by Matt Belenky

[JURIST] The UN-backed Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) [official website] on Friday charged [press release] mid-ranking former Khmer Rouge [CTM backgrounder] cadre Ao An with crimes against humanity. The charges allege that An, 79, carried out crimes at an execution site and in two security centers during … [read more]

Legal News
26 Mar 2015
by Brittany Felder

[JURIST] The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture [official website] on Thursday criticized [report, PDF] Bulgaria for its treatment of prisoners. The report highlighted major concerns that the committee had expressed with Bulgarian authorities and noted that over time these concerns had not been addressed adequately, but had in … [read more]

Legal News
20 Mar 2015
by Valerie Howell

[JURIST] The UN Special Rapporteur on torture Juan Méndez [official website] on Thursday outlined [press release] the substantial progress Georgia has made in eliminating torture and poor conditions in their prisons. But Mr. Méndez stressed that further changes still must be made. According to the report, Georgia's prison system has … [read more]

Legal News
5 Mar 2015
by Steven Wildberger

[JURIST] Paul Black, a prisoner at HMP Wymott [official website], won a contentious judgment [text, PDF] in the UK High Court [official website] on Thursday banning smoking in prisons and all Crown premises. Under current regulations, prisoners are permitted to smoke in cells but forbidden to smoke in corridors and … [read more]

Legal News
20 Feb 2015
by Laura DeGeer

[JURIST] A federal court on Wednesday approved [ACLU press release] a settlement agreement [text, PDF] between the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) [official website] and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] in a class action lawsuit over the health care system within Arizona prisons. The agreement requires the … [read more]

Academic Commentary
14 Feb 2015
by Steven D. Smith of University of San Diego School of Law

JURIST Guest Columnist Steven Smith, of the University of San Diego School of Law, discusses the significance surrounding the decision made in Holt v. Hobbs and our nation's commitment to religious freedom ...In Holt v. Hobbs [PDF], the US Supreme Court methodically applied the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons … [read more]

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