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“I watch the roaches and I envy them.” After 34 years, Billy Blake leaves solitary confinement

As New York turns the page on solitary confinement, a reflection on what three decades in solitary cost one man.

Vaidya Gullapalli   ·   July 7, 2021
How the Manhattan DA’s Race Could Upend New York’s Criminal Justice System

A roundup of a five-part series on the Manhattan DA Democratic primary, focusing on contrasts on key issues between the eight contenders.

New York Focus   ·   June 21, 2021
How Manhattan DA Candidates Plan to Rein in Police Misconduct

“The police can only go as far as the DA lets them,” one defense attorney said.

Sam Mellins   ·   June 17, 2021
How a Democratic Supermajority Confirmed a Tough-On-Crime Prosecutor to New York’s Top Court

A progressive campaign to block the confirmation of Governor Cuomo’s nominee to the New York Court of Appeals failed by just a few votes

Sam Mellins   ·   June 15, 2021
Manhattan DA Candidate Tali Farhadian Weinstein Skipped Years of Voting in Local Elections, Records Show

The former federal prosecutor joined the Democratic Party in 2017, after registering with no party and casting ballots only in presidential-year contests.

Sam Mellins   ·   June 14, 2021
Inside New York’s Grueling Parole Application Process

As legislators consider reforms to New York’s parole system, former prison officials and incarcerated people describe the barriers to parole release.

Asher Stockler   ·   June 7, 2021
Progressives Mobilize to Block Cuomo’s Tough-on-Crime Pick For Highest NY Court

Madeline Singas, a close Cuomo ally, has been a prominent opponent of criminal justice reforms and has taken a punitive approach as Nassau County DA, defenders say.

Sam Mellins   ·   June 4, 2021
How New York State Let Covid-19 Run Rampant in Prisons

First, the state failed to protect people in prison from the virus. Then, it obscured the full scope of the crisis, advocates charge.

Akash Mehta   ·   May 26, 2021
A Manhattan DA Candidate Touts Her Leadership of a Conviction Review Unit. Why Did It Exonerate So Few People?

Under Tali Farhadian Weinstein’s leadership, Brooklyn’s unit exonerated just three people — a far lower rate than in previous years.

Sam Mellins   ·   May 17, 2021
The Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act Gets A Slow Start

Two years after New York enacted a high-profile law to reduce prison sentences for domestic violence survivors, few survivors have seen much benefit.

Tamara Kamis and Emma Rose   ·   May 7, 2021
Thousands of New Yorkers are in Prison for Life. These D.A. Candidates Want to Change That

Manhattan D.A. candidates vow to reduce lengthy sentences—but sharp differences between their approaches remain

Sam Mellins   ·   April 28, 2021
In an Upstate Jail, Incarcerated People Struggle to Access Promised Addiction Treatment

In 2019, Broome County promised an addiction treatment program in its jail. Two years later, the program is a “farce,” one advocate said.

Sam Mellins   ·   March 26, 2021
Will New York allow incarcerated people to access treatment for drug addiction?

“People in prison deserve healthcare, and this is healthcare.” Legislators push to offer treatment for drug addiction in jails and prisons

Sam Mellins   ·   March 5, 2021
In Manhattan D.A. Race, Momentum Builds to Decriminalize Sex Work

In a striking sign of activists’ success, most candidates running in the June election for DA say they would not prosecute cases involving consensual sex work.

Sam Mellins   ·   March 4, 2021
Queens Defenders Fires Two Pro-Union Employees

Amid an ongoing union election at the Queens indigent defense law firm, two outspoken union supporters were fired without warning.

Sam Mellins   ·   February 11, 2021
Will Manhattan’s Next D.A. Break Ranks With Tough-on-Crime Colleagues?

Three candidates in the June election say they would not join the association of state DAs, which has fought measures such as bail reform.

Sam Mellins   ·   February 2, 2021
Will New York Decriminalize Syringe Possession in 2021?

Amid dramatic spikes in drug overdoses and HIV cases, legislators and public health professionals push for New York to decriminalize sterile syringes.

Sam Mellins   ·   January 22, 2021
Queens Public Defenders Push to Unionize. Management Calls Them a ‘Mob.’

A wave of legal aid attorneys are joining the labor movement. But bosses say it’s bad for business and the unions just want to collect their dues.

Sam Mellins   ·   January 7, 2021
The D.A. Election That Could Reshape New York City’s War On Drugs

The office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor is on the chopping block in Manhattan’s 2021 DA race.

Sam Mellins   ·   December 17, 2020
How New York Judges Spend Their Way Toward Seats on the Bench

Most of the state Supreme Court candidates who won in November had donated to the parties and party bosses that nominated them, a New York Focus investigation found.

Sam Mellins   ·   December 10, 2020
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