The Verdict Is in—California’s Dickensian Courts Are Failing Us

Our Clogged Legal System Creates Overcrowded Prisons, Underfunded Schools, and Housing Shortages

Dig deep enough into any of California’s biggest problems, and you’ll eventually hit upon a common villain: our court system.

California’s housing shortage, its poverty, its poor business climate, and its failing infrastructure all are explained in no small part by the failure of our underfunded, delay-prone courts to provide anything resembling timely justice. But in public narratives of what’s wrong with the state, we have mostly let the courts dodge responsibility for their many crimes against California’s future.

This is, in part, because, our courts have been broken for …

California Prison Sentences Don’t Work Any More

Why Now Is the Time to Change the Rules I Helped Make

Just how much discretion should we give to officialdom when sentencing people to prison for crimes?

It’s a hard question, and, as I’ve learned firsthand, the answer can change through time. …

Playing Hooky From School Isn’t a Crime

The Path to Education Is Redemption, Not Prison

To understand the disturbing connection between San Bernardino schools and prison, consider this: Our school district is one of only two in California with a police force that can arrest …

How to Make Every Offender an Ex-Offender

Keeping Parolees Out of Prison Takes Jobs, Housing, and Cold, Hard Cash

Immediately after Californians voted in favor of Proposition 47—which redefined nonviolent felonies—last November, lawyers’ phones started ringing. The goal of this legislation—called the “The Safe Neighborhood and Schools Act” by …

Prison Reform Advocate Prophet Walker

If You Want to Hold People Accountable, You’ve Got to Speak Up

Prophet Walker helped create a Youthful Offender Pilot Program in California prisons and is a founding member of the Anti-Recidivism Coalition. After being incarcerated as a teenager, he went on …

UC Irvine Criminologist Keramet Reiter

Where Does Someone Who Studies Solitary Confinement Go to Be Alone?

Criminologist Keramet Reiter studies prisons, prisoners’ rights, and the impact of prison and punishment policy on individuals, communities, and legal systems at UC Irvine. She also has done a great …