Read current and past ACLU-NCA newsletters. The publication contains news, announcements, and upcoming events.
The ACLU of the Nation’s Capital (ACLU-DC) is co-sponsoring several town hall forums throughout the month of September 2015 to hear District residents’ perspective on police-community relations. In partnership with local and national organizations and the faith-based community, ACLU-DC would like to reach communities disproportionately impacted by policing and incarceration. The ACLU-DC will share the findings of recent studies highlighting issues in criminal justice practices in the District but more importantly listen to community perspectives on policing and public safety. We hope to connect with District residents across all eight wards and across all racial, class, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, nationality, immigration status and religious lines.
These town hall forums are open to the public. We encourage the attendance of public officials and law enforcement agencies. The emphasis however will be on providing District residents the space to speak openly about their relationships with police in their communities.
Attendees will receive an update on the work of the ACLU of the Nation’s Capital and a discussion on the use of police body cameras in the District of Columbia. The event will include light refreshments and comradery – and the announcement of our newly elected board members.
The meeting is open to the public, but members of the ACLU have the power to elect our board leadership and lay the foundation for future civil liberties victories in the District!
[ACLU Comments] USPC-2015-01, Paroling, Recommitting, and Supervising Federal Prisoners: Prisoners Serving Sentences Under the United States and District of Columbia CodesAugust 14, 2015
Dear Acting Chair Smoot,
The ACLU of the Nation’s Capital, on behalf of its more than 3,000 members in the District of Columbia, is pleased to submit the following comments regarding the U.S. Parole Commission’s proposed rule for determining whether a D.C. Code-convicted prisoner who committed his or her alleged offense on or before March 3, 1985, is suitable for release on parole.
It is now common knowledge that the prison population in the United States has grown at an alarming rate during the past 35 years. In 1981, there were approximately 600,000 people incarcerated in the United States. Today there are more than 2.2 million people incarcerated in the United States, many serving exceedingly long sentences that, due to mandatory minimum sentences, three-strikes rules and other sentence enhancements fueled by the War on Drugs, are disproportionate to the severity of their crime of conviction.
District of Columbia incarceration rates mirror the national trends. In 1981, D.C. incarcerated 3,543 individuals in jail or prison.By 2013 that number more than doubled, with nearly 8,000 individuals incarcerated either in the D.C. Department of Corrections or in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons, according to the D.C. Corrections Information Council.
The racial disparities that accompany this addiction to incarceration are staggering. More than 60% of the people in prison today are people of color. Nationwide, Black men are incarcerated at six times the rate of white men; Latino men are incarcerated at more than twice the rate of their white counterparts. In the District, 91% of the Department of Corrections population is Black, however Black individuals represent only about 50% of the District’s population overall.
ACLU CALLS ON THE DC COUNCIL TO OUTLAW CHOKEHOLDS AND EXPAND THE OFFICE OF POLICE COMPLAINT’S AUTHORITYAugust 11, 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A recent report by the Office of Police Complaints (OPC) uncovered alarming inconsistencies with the Metropolitan Police Department’s (MPD) current policies regarding the use of chokeholds and other neck restraints. The American Civil Liberties Union of the Nation’s Capital (ACLU-DC) calls on the DC Council to outlaw these practices.
It is indisputable that chokeholds are dangerous. In cases like the tragic death of Eric Garner, we’ve seen they can be lethal. Even if trained properly, the potential unintended consequence of death is too great a risk. Neck restraints have been prohibited in places like Atlanta and Miami and other jurisdictions, including Fairfax County, Virginia, are working towards eliminating the practice. It’s time for the District of Columbia to join them.
“There needs to be a shift in the culture of policing in America. A good start would be for our local leaders to come out strongly against this practice. Let’s set an example and outlaw the use of chokeholds and other neck restraints in the District of Columbia,” said Monica Hopkins-Maxwell, Executive Director of ACLU-DC.
Did you know? The ACLU-NCA has an online photo gallery! You may view photos from past events, panel discussions, and other notable activities.
Join us at the White House on Thursday, July 30, 2015, at 11:00 AM to tell President Barack Obama to Ban the Box on federal jobs! You may view details here: http://ow.ly/Q3ukK Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ACLU of the Nation’s Capital seeks law clerks to work part-time during the fall school semester, ideally as part of a law school externship program through which students will receive school credit. Law clerks gain a comprehensive, hands-on introduction to the legal work of one of the nation’s major advocacy organizations.
The H Street Festival is a yearly street festival held in the eastern blocks of H Street in the Near Northeast neighborhood. Volunteer with us at the ACLU-NCA booth! ACLU-NCA volunteers will engage with festival attendees, discuss our work, and hand out ACLU-NCA giveaways. This is a great opportunity to get involved and learn more about our organization.
On Tuesday, July 14, 2015, at the Thirteenth Legislative (additional) Meeting, the DC Council unanimously passed the, "LGBT Equality Day Recognition Resolution of 2015." The purpose of the resolution is to recognize June 26 as LGBT Equality Day in the District of Columbia, to reflect on the importance of the 3 major rulings issued by the United States Supreme Court that have advanced the rights of all LGBT people. You may view the full text of the resolution here and below.