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In for a Penny: The Rise of America's New Debtors' Prisons

As we said in a previous blog post , you might have thought that “debtors' prisons” were extinct. But people are still being locked up all too often in Washington and around the country simply because they can’t pay their court-ordered financial obligations in a criminal case.

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Recovery Café: Standing in the Gap

The phrase "standing in the gap" comes from the Old Testament. According to the prophet Ezekiel, God said, "I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none. So I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my fiery anger, bringing down on their own heads all they have done."


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Photo of Hands Across the Bridge Event, Labor Day 2010

Stigma: Obstacle to Recovery, Legacy of the Drug War

September is National Alcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery Month.  On Labor Day, Washingtonians and Oregonians in recovery, along with family and friends, joined hands in a human chain across the Interstate 5 bridge that spans the two states.  Patty Katz and Louise Wedge launched the annual Hands Across the Bridge event eight years ago to celebrate their own recovery and, as Patty puts it, "to put a face on recovery."

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Sexual Abuse In Prison: No Laughing Matter

A recent report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) indicates that the Clallam County Jail in Port Angeles had the third highest rate of sexual assaults against inmates amongst all jails surveyed throughout the U.S. Clallam County disputes the report, and has asked the FBI to investigate; BJS has countered its objections.

This recent controversy casts a light on an important national issue that until recently, aside from the occasional crude joke, has been shrouded in silence. Sexual assault is a serious, pervasive problem in America's prisons, jails, and juvenile detention facilities, including in Washington. Read More »

Major Margaret Witt

A Family Reunion

Today, in Federal District Court, Judge Ronald Leighton ordered that the Air Force reinstate Major Margaret Witt, a dedicated flight nurse that had been dismissed under the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. This is an exciting moment for everyone who believes in equality and an important advance in the fight to end discrimination against LGBT Americans in the military and in society at large. Perhaps most importantly, it is also a homecoming. Read More »

Sexting and the Law - Press Send to Turn Teenagers into Registered Sex Offenders

Consensual sexting should not be a crime for teens or adults. The frightening reality, however, is that our current child pornography laws coupled with modern technology have the potential to create a sex offender registry populated with the children it was intended to protect and a generation of teenagers who will reach the age of majority already convicted as child sex offenders. This is not what child pornography laws were meant for, and the time has come to address the issue rationally and reasonably, before it is too late.

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DADT on Trial: Decision Expected Friday!

The landmark trial of Maj. Margaret Witt wrapped up yesterday, and Judge Ronald B. Leighton announced that he will deliver his decision this Friday at 1:30 PM PDT.

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Sex, Lies, and . . . The Push for Change

Opponents of sex education for teens have long argued that providing sex education in schools encourages teens to engage in sexual activity. Research has conclusively refuted this and has effectively proven the opposite: sex education in schools makes it more likely that teens will delay sexual initiation.

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Storm Victory!! A time to celebrate Title IX … and remember there’s still work to do.

I watched the Storm’s championship-clinching game last night with my 11-year-old daughter.  To her it was an exciting game, to me it also was a political event.  I’ve been a Title IX advocate for 25 years, and I still can’t contain my sense of accomplishment when I see prominent coverage of women’s sports. (And I still sometimes get choked up when I see a team of girls swarm a soccer field or a basketball court).

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Why Marijuana Arrests Matter as Much as Use

Last week saw the release of two annual federal government reports which highlight the pervasiveness of Marijuana in the U.S. Unfortunately, only one of these reports received attention from U.S. Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske.

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