Department of Justice

Departing AG Limits DOJ Consent Decrees

By Christopher Zoukis Shortly before resigning his post, as requested by President Trump, ex-Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued guidelines for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to follow when seeking consent decrees with police departments or other units of state or local government. The likely result will be to keep DOJ out of investigations of state…

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DOJ Rolls Back Obama Program Aimed at Fixing Police Problems

  By Christopher Zoukis The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on Sept. 15 that, effective immediately, it is making significant changes in a program launched six years ago to investigate and issue reports of problems in some local police agencies. The Collaborative Reform Initiative for Technical Assistance (CRI-TA), part of DOJ’s Office of Community…

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Justice Department Maps New Course on Forensic Science Review

By Christopher Zoukis Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced April 10 the Department of Justice (DOJ) will not renew an Obama-created advisory panel which has been studying ways to improve forensic science for four years. Instead, DOJ says it plans a series of different steps to bring responsibility for policymaking inside the Department of Justice. The…

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Grassley Prods Silent BOP on Remedies for Wrong Release Dates

By Christopher Zoukis Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) is demanding answers from the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) on why it hasn’t acted on recommendations made last May by the Department of Justice (DOJ) inspector general to reduce incorrect incarceration release dates. First, a little history: Jermaine Hickman, convicted in 2007 of bank robbery,…

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What Will Trump Team Do On DOJ Private Prison Ban?

By Christopher Zoukis In what the American Civil Liberties Union hailed as a groundbreaking step, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced with great fanfare in August that it planned to stop using private prisons. The announcement followed the release a week earlier of a report by DOJ’s inspector general finding private prisons generally have higher…

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DOJ, ABA: Financial Bail System Is Unconstitutional, Bad Policy

By Christopher Zoukis The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the American Bar Association (ABA) have each submitted amicus curiae “friend of court” briefs in a class-action lawsuit that attacks the bail system used by the city of Calhoun, Georgia. The case of Walker v. City of Calhoun began on September 3, 2015, when Maurice…

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DOJ’s Private Prison Phaseout Has Complex Roots

Part II: How the Policy Came About and Will It Last? Read Part I: What DOJ and the Bureau of Prisons Have Planned By Christopher Zoukis In a blog last week, I summarized the Department of Justice’s August 18 announcement it plans to stop sending federal inmates to privately-owned prisons. Now, let’s look at the…

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Department of Justice Gives Formal Approval on Bureau of Prisons’ Communications Management Units

By Chris Zoukis Nearly a decade after the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) began operating its notorious “Communications Management Units” (or CMU’s), the Department of Justice (DOJ) has formally issued a final rule approving the BOP’s restrictive policies already in place at those facilities. In 2006, the BOP opened its first CMU at its Terre…

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Advocates Urge Obama to Speed Up DOJ Commutation Initiative

By Christopher Zoukis Dozens of criminal justice reform activists have publicly told President Barack Obama his personal intervention is needed to keep the clemency initiative his administration announced in 2014 from falling victim to what a “bureaucratic logjam” at the Department of Justice (DOJ). A joint letter went to the president on June 21 from…

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DOJ Inspector General: Sentences Miscalculated for Thousands

By Christopher Zoukis A recent report from the Department of Justice (DOJ) federal watchdog says mistakes resulted in incorrect amounts of prison time being served by more than 4,000 federal prisoners during the six years between 2009 and 2014. The 41-page report, “Review of the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ Untimely Releases of Inmates,” issued on…

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