The Journalists’ Guide to Criminal Justice Reform 2013
Presented by the ACLU, this guide [PDF] covers the main issues surrounding criminal justice in the US. It opens:
The main goals of the U.S. criminal justice system are to prevent crime and to deliver just and fair punishments when crime occurs. Our system is failing on both counts.
The U.S. overcriminalizes types of conduct that either should be considered innocent or could be handled through other social systems, such as public health and education; overpolices poor communities and communities of color; holds many people in jail awaiting trial simply because they cannot afford bail; uses incarceration far too often as a sanction; keeps people incarcerated too long; treats people inhumanely while they’re incarcerated; and, perhaps most shamefully, continues to engage in the barbaric practice of execution.
We have far to go in repairing this broken system, and we will not solve all of our problems in 2013. But we will make progress. Here, we provide background information on some of the most vexing issues plaguing the criminal justice system today—excessive rates of incarceration, broad use of solitary confinement, and the death penalty—and suggest some areas that are ripe for reform.
This guide details what journalists need to know in a new and changing world. It is aimed at local and international journalists of varied levels of experience. The guide outlines basic preparedness for new journalists taking on their first assignments around the world, offers refresher information for mid-career journalists returning to the field, and provides advice on complex issues such as digital security and threat assessment for journalists of all experience levels.