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“Tough on Crime” Is Tough on Budgets: Ten Ideas to Improve Our Justice System

Isn’t it time to stop this approach to criminal justice? Don’t we have better things to spend the money on? Inspired by David Letterman, here is our list of 10 Ideas for saving money by putting fewer people in prisons and jails, and being “smart” on criminal justice instead of simply being punitive. Read More »

End the Federal Ban on Syringe Exchange Funding

Syringe exchange programs save lives, save taxpayer money, and do no harm to society. The federal government finally lifted its decades long funding ban in 2009. Unfortunately, the ban was reinstated in December 2011 for purely political reasons. Advocates are now working to remove the funding ban once again. Read More »

Humiliated, But Not Beaten: Fighting Back for Pregnant and Parenting Teens in Washington

When eighth-grader Shantelle Hicks learned she was pregnant, she was determined to stick with her education. But the administrators at her New Mexico middle school said she was a “bad example” and told her she couldn’t remain in school. Read More »

Combating Housing Discrimination: Moving Beyond Narrow Definitions of Families

Two years ago, Michelle DeShane wanted to add her partner Mitch, a transgender man, to the housing voucher she receives to find affordable housing. The local housing authority in Richland refused and told her that the couple did not meet its definition of a “family.” Then it referred the DeShanes to a neighboring housing authority, because, as they were apparently told, that housing authority “accepts everyone – even Martians.” Read More »

Facebook, blogs, cell phones: Learn the new ABCs of student rights

Text messaging, YouTube, blogs, Facebook, and Twitter have joined books and pencils as part of the everyday reality of being in school. Online and mobile communications innovations raise new and old questions about the legal rights of public school students. Do you know the ABCs of student rights in the digital age? Take our quiz to find out. Read More »

Small Crimes, Big Consequences: Why Fairness in Municipal Courts is so Important

Aside from the jail time and fees and fines that may be imposed as part of a misdemeanor sentence, there can be life-long consequences of a misdemeanor charge. In connection with our work on criminal records issues, the ACLU has heard from numerous individuals denied housing or jobs because of a misdemeanor on their record. Read More »