Home / Politics / Open thread for night owls: Mayors seek to fix policing and fight mass incarceration

Open thread for night owls: Mayors seek to fix policing and fight mass incarceration

Collier Meyerson at The Nation writes—A Crop of Reform-Minded Mayors Is Trying to Fix Policing and Fight Mass Incarceration:

It angers me how we keep going down the same path [with respect to policing] expecting a different result. We believe over-incarceration and over-policing leads to less crime, yet we have more crime,” Chokwe Lumumba, the mayor of Jackson, Mississippi, told me recently. Lumumba, elected last June with the endorsement of the political organization Our Revolution, added that his plans for criminal-justice reform are manifold; for instance, he supports a proposed ordinance to reduce penalties for marijuana possession in his city and a citizen-review board to assess complaints from the community.


Lumumba is one of several American mayors who intend to use their time in office to change the way the criminal-justice system functions. Ras Baraka, son of the late poet and playwright Amiri Baraka, was elected mayor of Newark, New Jersey, in 2014. In 2016, after a three-year federal investigation, the city entered into a consent decree with the federal government to improve its policing practices. Since Baraka took office, criminal-justice reform has been one of his top priorities. Behind a variety of initiatives is one core conviction: “Number one,” Baraka told me by phone, “is to make police understand that they’re part of the community and not occupying it.” To hold police officers accountable, his administration has created a civilian complaint review board and increased training for police officers to learn how to form better relationships with civilians. Part of that effort is “coffee with a cop,” in which officers go into communities with the express purpose of hearing the concerns of Newark residents, especially in neighborhoods that have been identified as “high crime” areas. During the holidays, police hand out toys to children. “We want to change the way people perceive the police and the way police perceive the community,” Baraka said.

In order to address over-incarceration, Baraka’s predecessor, Cory Booker, created an alternative to the traditional court system that can impose punishments other than fines or jail time. This “community court,” spearheaded by then-municipal judge Victoria Pratt, might impose community service, essay writing, or counseling on offenders who are charged with low-level misdemeanors, like marijuana possession or driving with a broken tail-light. Once he was mayor, Baraka appointed Pratt Newark’s chief judge. The motivation behind the community court, Baraka says, is to stop “the prison pipeline, divert [Newark residents] from incarceration, get them help and support they need to change their behavior.” […]

Michael Tubbs was elected mayor of Stockton, California, in November 2016. When he took office, the City was already in the process of rethinking its approach to policing. Stockton had reached a crisis in 2012, when the number of homicides there increased nearly 100 percent, Stockton’s per capita homicide rate surpassed Chicago’s, and Stockton became the largest municipality to file for bankruptcy. Now “our police department is on the cutting edge of a lot of [reform] work,” Tubbs told me. The city has committed itself to procedural justice, a practice that focuses on ensuring fair treatment of community members by police and legal authorities, and to additional mental-health training for police officers. Since 2017, the Stockton police department has been involved in “reconciliation sessions”—over 80 have taken place—with community groups enabling residents to discuss their experiences with law enforcement and build trust.



“One isn’t born courageous, one becomes it.”
~Marjane SatrapiEmbroideries, (2006)




On this date at Daily Kos in 201298 large corporations pull ads from Rush Limbaugh, all right-wing shock jocks:

Premiere Radio Networks, distributor of Rush Limbaugh and other right-wing talk radio shows, sent a very interesting memo to its affiliates on Friday.

The emailed memo lists 98 major corporations that have requested their ads appear only on “programs free of content that you know are deemed to be offensive or controversial (for example, Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Tom Leykis, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity).” […]

Ouch. That, along with the several dozen of companies who’ve already pulled their ads, has to amount to millions of dollars in revenue.

Has Rush Limbaugh, pioneer of right-wing gasbags on the air, just doomed the genre now that they’re all officially labelled “offensive” and toxic by major advertisers? His fellow radio hosts can’t be too happy with him, now that they’ve all got his “slut” taint. Couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch of assholes.

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: We’re back at it, with Greg Dworkin for our Monday chaos roundup. The kids are grifters, all right. Betsy DeVos tanks on TV. How to cover these unhinged Trump rallies? Gun nuts vs. doctors. Kushner vs. Qatar. Where were they radicalized? Probably on YouTube. 

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