Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Connecticut has received national attention for juvenile justice reforms, like its efforts to reduce the number of kids in the system. But advocates say a black eye remains.

For years, critics of the Connecticut Juvenile Training School have called on lawmakers to close the facility for delinquent boys, saying youth -- especially with a history of trauma -- aren't being helped. 

Awe ouens, zikhiphani daar?

That's South African slang for "Hey guys, what's up?"

We recently had a chance to find out what's up with the teens of South Africa.

fergregory/iStock / Thinkstock

The state of Connecticut has received $2.3 million in grants for programs aimed at reducing recidivism and giving ex-offenders better opportunities to restart their lives.

Karen Brown / NEPR

In the fall of 2013, Mark Schand walked out of court in Springfield, Massachusetts a free man, after 27 years in prison for a murder he said he did not commit.

Lee Werling / Flickr

With recent incidents like the ones in Ferguson and Baltimore, the issue of police training and leadership has come under the spotlight. Police commissioners and chiefs have either been fired or forced to resign due to some of these incidents. But police leadership may not be solely responsible for the practices and policies employed by cops on the street.

Office of the State Child Advocate

Connecticut's Office of the Child Advocate has released a follow up to their July report on conditions at the state's two juvenile detention centers. 

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A Connecticut man who spent more than 12 years in prison for a crime it was determined he did not commit has been awarded $4 million by the state.

Lawrence Miller Jr., who now lives in Branford, received the funds under a state law that established a mechanism to compensate those who file claims of wrongful incarceration and can validate their cases.

Laura Ouimette / Creative Commons

As Hartford voters prepare to pick their next mayor, there's another mayor whose name keeps coming up. Eddie Perez was convicted more than five years ago on corruption-related charges. Now, his case may soon get a hearing at the state's highest court. 

A new report from Yale Law School looks at solitary confinement in the U.S. 

Former President Bill Clinton plans to visit UConn next month, where he will be awarded the Thomas J. Dodd Prize in International Justice and Human Rights.

The judge in the Boston Marathon bombing trial has rejected a motion brought by The Boston Globe and joined by WBUR to publicly release the names of the trial jurors.

Massachusetts is joining a national movement to reexamine get-tough-on-crime policies.

Massachusetts state leaders earlier this month committed to a comprehensive review of the state’s criminal justice policies with a goal to reduce the cost of incarceration and improve public safety by reducing recidivism. 

Thomas MacMillan / New Haven Independent

Connecticut's Supreme Court has ruled the state's death penalty is unconstitutional. WNPR spoke to the public defender who represented one of the state's best known death row inmates.

President Obama's perhaps most notable statement on race came recently in Charleston, S.C. That's where he gave the eulogy for nine African-Americans killed by a white man in a church.

The president has also continued to address the killings of black men at the hands of the police, and he's pushing to reduce the number of prison inmates, who are disproportionately black.

Connecticut DCF

Connecticut lawmakers are preparing to learn more about the conditions and practices at the state's juvenile detention facilities.


The CDC recently announced that kissing or cuddling your chickens is a health hazard. Because… Well, because people kiss or cuddle their chickens, apparently. Some people probably kiss and cuddle their chickens. But you shouldn’t kiss or cuddle your chickens. Because your chickens are basically just waddling featherballs of salmonella, it turns out. So, ya know. Don’t kiss or cuddle your chickens.

But before we get to that, two other stories:

The Justice Department says it is investigating "possible unlawful coordination" by several major airline carriers. American, Delta, Southwest and United Airlines have all confirmed receiving letters from the Justice Department.

In a statement, American said the department "seeks documents and information from the last two years that are related to statements and decisions about airline capacity."

A United spokesman said the company is complying fully in regard to the probe.

City of New Haven

State and federal prosecutors in Connecticut have joined law enforcement officials, New Haven's mayor, and members of the city's clergy in issuing what they call a "statement of conscience" decrying racial violence and vowing to help prevent it. 

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Connecticut lawmakers passed two bills on Monday aimed at reforming the state's criminal justice system. 

Updated at 10:46 a.m. ET

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 opinion, says the sedative used in Oklahoma's lethal injection cocktail does not violate the U.S. Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

Here's the background to the case, in the words of SCOTUSblog:

Yusuf Syed

Adnan Syed, who was convicted for murder in 2000, and whose case was the subject of the podcast Serial, was granted a post-conviction hearing in a court order released Monday.

On WNPR's The Colin McEnroe Show, attorney Rabia Chaudry spoke about the development, which came sooner than Syed's legal team expected.

Lawmakers working on fixes to the justice system say that unrest in places like Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore is pushing them to act.

"The whole idea of a young man dying in police custody, the confrontations with police, the looting and burning of innocent minority owned businesses," Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn said on the Senate floor this month. "The question arises, what can we do?"

Updated at 11:41 a.m. ET

Loretta Lynch is the new U.S. attorney general.

Lynch was sworn in today by Vice President Joe Biden, who said the daughter of a Baptist minister who preached during the sit-ins in Greensboro, N.C., will now be "leading the march to a more perfect union."

Lynch, 55, is the nation's 83rd attorney general and the first black woman to hold the position. She said during a ceremony at the Justice Department that she would work to "imbue our criminal justice system with both strength and fairness" to protect the rights of all.

www.stockmonkeys.com / Creative Commons

In her latest book, Burning Down the House, journalist and author Nell Bernstein explores the dark side of America’s juvenile justice system. Through the eye-opening stories of incarcerated youths, she argues that it’s time to shut down the nation’s juvenile prisons once and for all.

A federal civil rights investigation of the Ferguson, Mo., police force has concluded that the department violated the Constitution with discriminatory policing practices against African Americans, according to a law enforcement official familiar with the report.

The investigation, the source says, concluded that blacks were disproportionately targeted by the police and the justice system, which has led to a lack of trust in police and courts and to few partnerships for public safety.

Derek Gavey
Creative Commons

We incarcerate more people in this country than any other country in the world, a shift that started over 30 years ago with punitive sentencing policies that disproportionately targeted non-violent, mostly black, drug offenders caught in President Reagan's war on drugs.

Now, decades later, we're dealing with the fallout. The costs of incarceration are high. Sure, the economic cost is astronomical, about $52 billion dollars in 2011, but the human cost is staggering. 

A new report on the growth of court fines and fees that are charged to often-impoverished offenders is focusing on another group that pays: their families.

bloomsberries / Creative Commons

You probably think of yourself as a voter. Maybe, in one way or another, you think of yourself as a public servant. But do you think of yourself as a juror?

More than one in seven Americans will be called for jury duty this year. More than one in three of us will actually serve on a jury in our lifetimes.

The fact is that almost every one of us is, almost all of the time, a potential juror. We’re all just one dreaded summons in the mailbox away from deciding matters of life or liberty or property for another person.

John Cruden served with U.S. Special Forces in Vietnam, taking his law school aptitude test in Saigon and eventually becoming a government lawyer.

Earlier this month, he started a new job running the environment and natural resources division at the Justice Department. For Cruden, 68, the new role means coming home to a place where he worked as a career lawyer for about 20 years.

Cruden has been around long enough to have supervised the Exxon Valdeez spill case, a record-setter. That is, until the Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

This post was updated at 5:30 p.m. ET

Attorney General Eric Holder says "far more must be done to create enduring trust" between police and communities they serve, even as his Justice Department continues to investigate possible discriminatory police actions in Ferguson, Mo.