Some of the best #MuckReads we read this week. Want to receive these by email? Sign up to get this briefing delivered to your inbox every weekend.
The new science of sentencing (The Marshall Project and FiveThirtyEight)
"Pennsylvania is on the verge of becoming one of the first states in the country to base criminal sentences not only on what crimes people have been convicted of, but also on whether they are deemed likely to commit additional crimes. As early as next year, judges there could receive statistically derived tools known as risk assessments to help them decide how much prison time — if any — to assign."
"Being a lawyer, I can definitely say that is a civil rights issue" http://t.co/KarPQo8nNK— Spencer Ackerman (@attackerman) August 5, 2015
"Despite the quadruple-digit number of arrestees held at Homan Square, the Chicago police proffered only three arrestees receiving visits from lawyers between 3 September 2004 and 1 July 2015. Two of them occurred on the same day in January 2013. Unless approximately 3,500 people in custody waived their right to counsel, the revelation complicates – if not contradicts – the police's March statement that 'any individual who wishes to consult a lawyer will not be interrogated until they have an opportunity to do so'."
Thirty miles from Selma, a different kind of civil rights struggle (The Center for Public Integrity)
"A Center for Public Integrity investigation has found that the EPA's civil-rights program, championed under presidents from Clinton to Obama, almost always closes cases without action, either rejecting or dismissing nine out of every ten. Records show the agency has failed to exercise its authority to investigate claims even when it has reason to believe discrimination could be occurring."
589 days to justice? (The Florida Times-Union)
"Jerome started falling apart just a couple of months after his arrest. He had alibis for two of the crimes. He passed a polygraph. Key records connected to his brother's name. But it took 589 days before prosecutors released Jerome from jail."
"...if you put one of these on an airplane and fly them around, you can find all sorts of info about potentially thousands of people,' said Freddy Martinez, an activist who has sued the Chicago Police Department multiple times for records on its use of cell-site simulators. 'That includes voice content, who they're calling, what data they're sending. It's like a StingRay on steroids.'"
"One sign of improvement: New arrest warrants issued this year are down from the same time last year, though five court dates -- where hundreds of individual cases would typically be heard -- were canceled during this time. But the city is ramping up again. In May and June alone, more than 1,000 people were hit with new arrest warrants -- making up almost half of all new warrants this year (as of June 30), according to figures provided by Ferguson."