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Millions of Americans with felony convictions are banned from voting, including in the upcoming November election, according to a new study from The Sentencing Project, a criminal justice nonprofit.

Titled “Locked Out,” the study estimates that 5.2 million people across the country have had their voting rights stripped as a result of a felony conviction, down from 6.1 million in 2016.

Felony disenfranchisement creates some of the most arduous obstacles to voting in the country. In 11 states, people with felony convictions — regardless if they’re imprisoned, served their sentence, or are under parole or probation — are prohibited from casting a ballot. …


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One of the foremost experts on correctional health services warned of a “very perilous and looming threat” inside American correctional facilities amid the coronavirus pandemic outbreak.

The warnings from Dr. Homer Venters, an epidemiologist, and former chief medical officer for New York City’s jails, comes as public health officials and prison reform advocates express concern over already insufficient healthcare services inside jails and prisons throughout the United States, which has the highest incarceration rate in the world. …


Episode art for the News Beat podcast episode ‘Mentally Ill & Incarcerated’
Episode art for the News Beat podcast episode ‘Mentally Ill & Incarcerated’

The three largest jails in the United States each house more mentally ill patients than any psychiatric facility in the country, underscoring how America has essentially criminalized mental illness amid an era of mass incarceration and failed mental health policies. …


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It’s kind of like Democracy Now! and Hamilton had a podcast baby.

Subscribe to News Beat for free on Apple Podcasts, Google, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn or wherever you get your podcasts.

The cries for change came in every direction, ricocheting off skyscrapers and increasing in urgency with each thunderous wail. …


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Chesa Boudin (left) is a career public defender. His election as San Francisco District Attorney signals the so-called “progressive prosecutor” movement is resonating. (Photo credit: Boudin 4DA)

Chesa Boudin, the deputy public defender in San Francisco who ran a progressive campaign promising to dismantle the city’s mass incarceration apparatus, was elected district attorney. He was featured prominently in our episode “Restorative Justice: Healing Instead of Incarceration.”

Listen to the bonus episode here or download the podcast on your favorite podcast app.

Boudin’s victory is also a major win for the broader criminal justice reform movement simmering across the country. Boudin is among a number of so-called “progressive” candidates competing for the incredibly influential position of district attorney-a marked shift from recent history, when a significant number of DA incumbents-primarily white men-would either run unopposed or essentially sail to victory. …


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News Beat is an award-winning podcast that mixes hard-hitting, social justice journalism with music to uniquely examine some of the most pressing issues facing society. Each episode features interviews from well-known voices — ranging from activists to scholars to journalists — set to music, interspersed with powerful, original lyrics crafted by notable artists specifically for that episode. Subscribe to the podcast New York Press Club awarded best of 2018.

On the surface, Chesa Boudin would seem an unlikely candidate for district attorney.

Boudin was only 14 months old when his Weather Underground activist parents were arrested. …


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Criminal justice reform has emerged as a pressing issue across the country. Almost all the top-performing presidential hopefuls for the Democratic Party nomination have released their plans to reform America’s massive justice system. Even President Donald Trump has gotten into the fold, criticizing former Vice President Joe Biden for his support of the much-maligned 1994 crime bill.

At News Beat podcast, we’ve made it a priority to examine the myriad aspects of the country’s massive criminal justice system, which imprisons more than 2.3 million Americans annually.

Why focus on criminal justice?

While there are many facets of the justice system, perhaps the biggest takeaway is this: America has the highest incarceration rate in the world. This stark reality is largely the result of tough-on-crime policies that have prevailed throughout the last three decades. Among the largest drivers of incarceration: the racialized War on Drugs and other punitive measures adopted in subsequent years, such as mandatory minimum sentences and notorious “three-strike” laws.


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President Trump announcing the First Step Act at the White House. (Credit: White House)

Welcome to News Beat, an award-winning social justice podcast. This is a special bonus episode on criminal justice reform, poverty, and felony disenfranchisement in Florida. You can listen directly on Apple Podcasts, Google, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn or wherever you get your podcasts. Make sure to subscribe and leave a review while you’re there.

What the White House, Congress, and advocacy groups accomplished in pushing the First Step Act, billed as a major criminal justice bill, over the finish line was “groundbreaking” and “historic,” Trump said. …


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Photo by Social Estate on Unsplash

Anyone familiar with the Australian drama “Secret City” — a political thriller set in the nation’s capital city of Canberra — would likely recall its pressure-packed first season culminating in a sleuthing journalist’s imprisonment due to the passage of a draconian national security law.

A fictional series, it seems life in the Land Down Under is now to some degree imitating art, with potentially dangerous consequences.

Last week, Australian authorities launched controversial investigations into its press, prompting widespread condemnation from press freedom organizations and journalists across the globe. Among these troubling overreaches: a probe into the country’s public broadcaster, Australian Broadcasting Corp. (ABC), and a raid of an investigative reporter’s home in Canberra — both of which involved authorities seizing journalistic property, according to reports. …


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This episode of News Beat podcast was created in partnership with The Marshall Project, a non-profit news organization based in New York City dedicated to award-winning journalism covering the U.S. criminal justice system. Visit its site to read more of TMP’s work and its series about prison reform in The Golden State, aptly titled “The California Experiment.”

What began as a response to court intervention, including a U.S. Supreme Court mandate to substantially reduce prison overcrowding, has morphed into a wide-ranging set of initiatives addressing everything from police accountability to mass incarceration.

California is hardly alone in such an undertaking. Still, its legislative ambitions, combined with contentious issues confronted by lawmakers and smaller municipalities, such as the city of Stockton, has put the state at the forefront of this movement. …

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News Beat

A groundbreaking social justice podcast melding journalism with original hip-hop to amplify under-reported stories.

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