Obama’s commutation of drug offenders: youth journalists weigh in

President Obama recently commuted prison sentences for 46 more nonviolent drug offenders, and became the first sitting president ever to visit a federal penitentiary, El Reno prison in Oklahoma. In his statements, he pointed out that many of the bad decisions made by offenders were made in the throes of drug addiction. Days later, young people who’ve experienced the fallout of drug abuse […]

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A million Californians could benefit from Prop 47 — if they act fast

An estimated one million Californians could get their felony convictions reduced to misdemeanors under Proposition 47, the Safe Neighborhood and Schools Act, which passed last November. Nonviolent offenders eligible for felony reduction will have opportunities for jobs, loans and housing assistance previously unavailable to them. But Prop 47 is a three-year program, and eight months have already passed — leaving community advocates and public defenders scrambling to spread […]

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In world’s largest female prison, inmates organize for health

About twenty miles south of Merced sits the Central California Women’s Facility, which carries the dubious distinction of being the largest female-only prison in the world. The facility illustrates the slew of problems plaguing the state’s penal system. Reports show overcrowding and neglect of health care needs, especially treatment for mental illness and addiction – which for women often relate to past […]

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Manifest justice: a photo essay

Art in the “Manifest Justice” exhibition in Los Angeles highlights inequities and violence in America. Alyssa Castro, of Merced, photographed the pieces that most impacted her. “I’ve never been exposed to such a large amount of art that highlights social justice.” See the photos on We’Ced.

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Police messaging on Prop. 47 draws suspicion from supporters

Proposition 47, a landmark law that was passed on the November ballot, is designed to ease California’s overcrowded prisons. The law is a flashpoint between common opponents: prison reform advocates and law enforcement officials. In Long Beach, local police officers have appeared at community meetings to report upticks in crime and drug usage, warning residents to […]

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Proposition 47 a “historical passage”

Local organizations joined forces with other proponents to mobilize enough voters to pass Proposition 47, the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act, which calls for misdemeanor rather than felony charges for some non-violent drug and property offenses. Now Kern County grassroots groups can envision the impact that sentencing reform will have on the state’s excessive prison population. “By passing Proposition 47, California is the first […]

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