Justice and Domestic Affairs

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    Restoring the vote to those convicted of a felony sentence is not just the right thing to do, it’s good social science

Restoring the vote to those convicted of a felony sentence is not just the right thing to do, it’s good social science

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On February 1st, the US District Court for the Northern District of Florida ruled that the state’s process of vote-restoration for those convicted of a felony violated the US Constitution. Sarah Shannon and Christopher Uggen write that Florida is one of the few states which still prevent felons from voting after they have completed their sentences. And while this […]

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    Why an attack on the Supreme Court by Donald Trump could hurt its reputation in the eyes of his supporters.

Why an attack on the Supreme Court by Donald Trump could hurt its reputation in the eyes of his supporters.

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During the 2016 election campaign and the early stages of his presidency, Donald Trump made repeated attacks on the integrity of federal judges. If his belligerence were to turn to the US Supreme Court, would the trust that Americans feel in that institution protect its reputation? In new research which examines how people’s views of the Court are […]

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    States with partisan judicial elections and professionalized courts attract greater campaign contributions

States with partisan judicial elections and professionalized courts attract greater campaign contributions

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More than twenty US states use competitive elections – some partisan, some not – to choose their judges. As with much of the rest of US politics, judicial candidates are often reliant on campaign contributions from businesses, ideological groups, and individuals. In new research, Brent Boyea finds that where states hold partisan elections and have professionalized courts, individual contributors […]

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    How Big Data can save America’s out of control criminal justice policies

How Big Data can save America’s out of control criminal justice policies

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Criminal justice policy in the US is out of control and needs fixing, argues Daniel P. Mears. He writes that many policies designed to tackle crime lack an evidence base, and combine with punishment-based responses to create what he terms a ‘cycle of dysfunction.’ In the current era of Big Data, he calls for a move away from ‘correctional […]

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    Why it will be difficult for Jeff Sessions to put the genie back into the bottle on marijuana policy

Why it will be difficult for Jeff Sessions to put the genie back into the bottle on marijuana policy

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Last week, the US Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, announced that he would be revoking Obama-era Department of Justice guidance which left the enforcement of marijuana policy to the states by giving prosecutors more discretion to pursue marijuana cases. A. Lee Hannah and Daniel J. Mallinson write that Sessions’ policy about-face draws opposition from many of those in his own […]

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    Why a Colorado cake is at the center of one of the Supreme Court’s most important cases

Why a Colorado cake is at the center of one of the Supreme Court’s most important cases

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Earlier this month, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case revolving around the right of a cake-maker to refuse to make and sell a cake celebrating a couple’s same-sex marriage. Chris Barker looks at the precedents and judicial opinions which feed into this case, and comments that its important questions cover the free exercise of religion, compelled […]

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    For many rural participants, Drug Court can be a positive experience, but more treatment options and support are needed.

For many rural participants, Drug Court can be a positive experience, but more treatment options and support are needed.

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Drug Courts are an increasingly popular policy intervention which can divert those convicted of drug-related offenses to treatment services rather than prison. In new research, Susan Witkin and Scott P. Hays spoke to a number of rural-based Drug Court participants about their experiences. While many participants were generally positive about the impact of Drug Court on their lives, they […]

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    Book Review: Mafia Life: Love, Death and Money at the Heart of Organised Crime by Federico Varese

Book Review: Mafia Life: Love, Death and Money at the Heart of Organised Crime by Federico Varese

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In Mafia Life: Love, Death and Money at the Heart of Organised Crime, Federico Varese journeys into the everyday lives of members of different mafia groups across the globe, from the Sicilian Cosa Nostra to the Japanese Yakuza. Drawing on wiretaps, reportage, historical analysis, legal evidence and biography, this book offers readers the opportunity to go beyond the fabricated images of the […]

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    The Ballpark podcast Episode 2.8 Where did the opioid epidemic come from?

The Ballpark podcast Episode 2.8 Where did the opioid epidemic come from?

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With the skyrocketing rates of opioid abuse and overdose deaths in the US, John Collins and Alex Soderholm of the International Drugs Policy Unit join us to dissect the key questions behind this epidemic: what’s at the root of this opioid crisis? Where are these drugs coming from? And what can the US do about it?

This episode features Dr […]

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    Strengthening laws which take guns out of the hands of domestic abusers will help prevent future mass shootings.

Strengthening laws which take guns out of the hands of domestic abusers will help prevent future mass shootings.

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Last week a gunman killed 26 and wounded 20 in a Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Like many mass shooters, the gunman, Devin Kelley, had a record of domestic abuse. Sierra Smucker writes that the irrefutable link between domestic abuse and mass shootings means that lawmakers now need to focus on new and stronger measures, as well as […]

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