Inequality Inquiry >> Category

Deadly Force: How George Floyd’s Killing Exposes Racial Inequities in Minnesota’s Felony-Murder Doctrine Among the Disenfranchised, the Powerful, and the Police

March 8, 2021

View/Download PDF Version Greg Egan[1] I. Equity in Peril: How Felony-Murder Charging Discretion and Widely Varying Punishments are Deployed Against White Defendants, Defendants of Color, and Peace Officers Minnesota’s second-degree felony-murder statute represents a unique and creative charging mechanism that affords wide discretion to prosecutors. This makes it ripe for inequitable application. It is the…

Continue Reading

Biden’s Private Prison Ban Must Include ICE Detention

March 16, 2022

By Katie McCoy* Our incarceration-focused immigration system needlessly locks up hundreds of thousands of noncitizens each year. The number of people incarcerated in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody was 15,000 when President Biden first took office, and it now hovers near 29,000. Sixty-nine percent of those detained have no criminal history. Many ICE detention…

Continue Reading

A Healthy Start: Minnesota Is Pioneering an Alternative to Prison Nurseries, and Other States Should Follow Its Lead

March 28, 2022

by Rachel Pokrzywinski*   In May 2021, Governor Tim Walz signed Minnesota’s Healthy Start Act (HSA) into law. The first of its kind in the United States, the HSA authorizes placement of pregnant and postpartum inmates into alternative housing—such as halfway houses and residential treatment facilities—with their newborns for up to one year after birth.…

Continue Reading

A Constitutional Necessity, Not a Luxury: States Must Provide Public Defender Offices With More Resources to Provide Indigent Defendants With Effective Counsel

March 30, 2022

By Haashir Lakhani* The phrase “you have the right to an attorney” is so ingrained in our social conscience that we perhaps do not even give it a second thought. The task of upholding this right for indigent defendants falls largely on public defenders, with some cases being assigned to other court-appointed attorneys. However, underfunded…

Continue Reading

How We Got Here: Race, Police Use of Force, and the Road to George Floyd

April 1, 2021

Long before the killing of George Floyd, the United States has struggled to mitigate racially arbitrary use of force by the police. This article seeks to explain how we got to the killing of George Floyd. This article contends that that the law—especially the decisions of the Supreme Court and political choices made by politicians—has helped to enable the relatively unchecked use of force against people of color.

Continue Reading

Out of the Cell and Into the Fire: Inherently Dangerous Prison Work Assignments, the Eighth Amendment’s Guarantee of Safe Conditions of Confinement, and California’s AB-2147

April 13, 2022

by River Lord[1]   Using the labor of inmates in the United States has a long and controversial tradition. Many observers have identified how higher rates of policing and incarceration among minority communities, coupled with the widespread use of inmate labor in exchange for sub-minimum wages, create a system of labor exploitation and racial oppression…

Continue Reading

Will Minnesota’s New Automatic Expungement Laws Have an Effect on Federal Sentences?

February 14, 2024

By Britane Hubbard* On January 1, 2025, Minnesota’s new automatic expungement statutes will go into effect.[1] Under this new law, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension will identify eligible people and grant them expungement relief if they qualify.[2] Offenses eligible for expungement range from petty misdemeanors to felonies.[3] The possibility of a new wave of expungements…

Continue Reading

An Ongoing Struggle: Police Brutality and Native Americans

April 3, 2024

By: William Rauschenberg Per capita, Native Americans are among the most common victims of police violence of any minority group in the United States.[1] Depending on the year and statistics used, Indigenous Americans are either the most at risk or second behind Black Americans.[2] This is a striking figure that, like many Indian issues, is…

Continue Reading

The Injustice of Inconsistency: Language Access in Judicial Proceedings

April 25, 2021

Rachel Pokrzywinski Judicial proceedings are often stressful. The stress is only compounded for an individual who must navigate the complex legal system in a language they are not proficient in. To ensure that these individuals receive adequate guidance and representation, federal law requires that, in all federal judicial proceedings, certified language interpreters must be provided…

Continue Reading

Purging False Narratives Around Cash Bail

October 28, 2022

By Christian Purnell.   With Illinois’ Pretrial Fairness Act (PFA) set to take effect in a matter of months, opponents are stepping up their efforts to spread misinformation about the law on social media. Homing in on a provision of the PFA that abolishes cash bail in the state’s pretrial system, Twitter trolls, and even…

Continue Reading

Will Solitary Confinement’s Visibility in the Public Consciousness Lead to Real Change?

April 29, 2024

By: Zinaida Carroll* On March 15, 2024, Charles Leo Daniel was found dead by suicide in his solitary confinement cell at the Northwest ICE Processing Center in Tacoma, Washington.[1] Mr. Daniel had been held in solitary confinement for almost four years according to federal data––the second-longest sentence of solitary confinement in immigration detention.[2] The public…

Continue Reading

What’s Brewing with Bruen?

October 30, 2022

Kenneth Cooper examines the impact of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, 142 S.Ct. 2111 (2022), and New York’s public defender and legal aid offices unexpected involvement in the case. 

Continue Reading

Pass Senate Bill 355: How Proposed Minnesota Legislation Brings the U.S. into Compliance with International Norms

May 25, 2016

Journal Logo

by Maria Warhol
As the 2016 presidential election approaches, the issue of voting rights in the United States is more salient than ever. While millions of people will take advantage of their right to vote in the election, nearly six million U.S. citizens are unable to vote as a result of a felony conviction. Of this disenfranchised population, only 25% are incarcerated. The remaining 75% are in the process of completing supervised release (probation or parole) or have served their sentence entirely. This concern only deepens when data reveals that disenfranchisement policy disparately impacts some communities more than others. These concerning figures impact almost every state in the United States.

Continue Reading