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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

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Day of action focuses on CT undocumented's healthcare needs; 7 jurors seated in first Trump criminal trial; ND looks to ease 'upskill' obstacles for former college students; Black Maternal Health Week ends, health disparities persist.

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Seven jury members were seated in Trump's hush money case. House Speaker Johnson could lose his job over Ukraine aid. And the SCOTUS heard oral arguments in a case that could undo charges for January 6th rioters.

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Fears grow that low-income folks living in USDA housing could be forced out, North Carolina's small and Black-owned farms are helped by new wind and solar revenues, and small towns are eligible for grants to boost civic participation..

Can GA overcome racial disparities in its criminal-justice system?

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Friday, January 5, 2024   

About 60% of those incarcerated in Georgia are people of color. A new report from The Sentencing Project highlights some of the disparities that contribute to these statistics.

Report lead author Nazgol Ghandnoosh, The Sentencing Project's co-director of research, said racial bias is most prevalent in sentencing, in financial costs tied to the criminal-justice system, and in how lawyers treat their clients' cases.

"There's a lot of research, for example," she said, "that shows that when prosecutors are faced with two people - Black versus white, and they've committed the same crime - they're more likely to charge the Black individual with a crime that carries a mandatory minimum sentence than they are to charge the white individual who's committed the same crime."

Ghandnoosh said this bias is especially evident when comparing charges involving cocaine and crack cocaine. The report said Black defendants receive longer sentences.

The report also mentions that efforts by prosecutors to reform the system in Georgia have met with pushback.

Ghandnoosh also said Black people are more likely to be stopped by police and, because they have historically faced income disparities, may have more challenges posting bail or getting a private attorney than people of other races. In her view, these biases make it clear the criminal justice system is in need of reform.

"So, for example, prosecutors in Milwaukee have changed how they charge around drug paraphernalia," she said, "and they closely monitor those kinds of charging decisions for disparity."

The report said more than 50 jurisdictions, including some state and local governments, have launched reforms to mitigate racial disparities. They include creating "second chance" opportunities, limiting extreme sentencing, eliminating cash bail and doing more to diversify jury pools.


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