Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Black folks jailed longer, junk-science-writ scholarship, and other stories

Grits has a busy week, but here are a few odds and ends of which Grits readers should be aware:

When officers are indicted
The Balch Spring police officer who shot and killed Jordan Edwards has been indicted. However, these cases against law enforcement officers are notoriously difficult to win. In Arlington, two jail guards involved in the death of an inmate caught on video received sentences of deferred adjudication and just one year on probation. MORE: The Texas Tribune offered up a feature on the rarity of police-officer indictments or even on-the-job punishment related to fatal shootings in Texas. RELATED: From the Marshall Project, "White America's Unshakeable Confidence in the Police."

Black folks jailed longer in Travis
A new study of the Travis County Jail commissioned by Grassroots Leadership found that black folks stay in jail longer than whites when charged with the same or similar offenses. See coverage from the Austin Statesman.

Scholarship re: Texas' junk science writ
Here's a new academic paper that goes on Grits' to-read list comparing Texas' junk science writ with a similar law in California, vetting the language of both.

States ban some in-court witness IDs 
Massachusetts and Connecticut have banned in-court eyewitness identifications when defendants had not previously known the subject or ID'd them in an out-of-court procedure. That's a really good reform. Texas should consider it, especially since our current standards aren't keeping problematic IDs from being presented to juries.

Rural woes driving incarceration
Rural jurisdictions are now driving mass incarceration's upward trajectory to a greater extent than their urban counterparts, with high incarceration rates in rural counties while rates in urban and suburban counties are declining. The Wall Street Journal dug into into rural America's underlying problems driving crime rates there, which run deeper than just a lock-em-up mentality among their prosecutors.

Best practices for crime prevention
Police Chief magazine published a feature detailing nine evidence-based crime-prevention strategies based on "best practices on crime control and prevention for law enforcement executives based on what is known from research."

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