policy

The Marshall Project: A Lull in Executions

A few weeks ago we told the story of Vernon Madison and his long-winding journey on death row in Alabama. While his execution has been stayed momentarily, the United States finds itself in an interesting lull. As of yesterday, according to the Marshall Project, we’re in the middle of one of the longest gaps between executions in the past quarter century.

 

recents

SOURCE: Tom Meagher, “It’s Been Almost Two Months Since the U.S. Executed Someone,” June 30, 2016. The Marshall Project/The Next to Die

According to journalist Tom Meagher, the next set of executions are slated for July 14 — one in Texas and another in Georgia. Missouri conducted the most recent execution back on May 11 when the state killed Earl Forrest by lethal injection. That break in time will constitute a gap of 64 days. That’s a fairly long stoppage considering that executions had been happening at a pace of around two a month since the start of the year.

Vernon Madison and the Death Penalty

On April 18, 1985 Mobile County Police Officer Julian Schulte responded to a report of a missing child. Upon arriving at the home of Cheryl Ann Green, Schulte was informed that there had been a miscommunication — the child was not missing and was on her way home thanks to a family friend. While Schulte waited in his police car for a second unit to arrive at the home, an argument broke out between Ms. Green and her then-boyfriend Vernon Madison. Schulte intervened, requesting that Madison calm down and leave the residence. Madison left briefly, but returned shortly after with a gun and shot Officer Julian Schulte twice through the driver side window of his unmarked police vehicle. A week later, Corporal Julian Schulte — by all accounts a good officer and better person — was pronounced dead.

Two weeks ago on Thursday, May 12. Vernon Madison was supposed to die.

If someone were to make an argument against the death penalty, Vernon Madison may indeed be the poster child. Not because there’s ambiguity in the crime — he most certainly murdered Officer Julian Schulte — but because Madison’s story highlights so many of the flaws which come along with state-sanctioned executions.   (more…)

The Civil Tube: The Impact #Desegregation had on Schools

A few years ago, investigative journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones reported on the rising levels of school segregation in America’s public education system. “In Tuscaloosa today,” Hannah-Jones noted, “nearly one in three black students attends a school that looks as if Brown v Board of Education never happened.”

The negative implications for this retrenchment for black and Latino children are sizable, leading to higher levels of absenteeism, lower levels of access to after-school and summer learning programs, and drastically lowered chances at attending college. 

This week’s Civil Tube video is a TedX talk from Dr. Rucker Johnson, Associate Professor at UC Berkeley who has devoted much of his research to understanding the benefits to school desegregation and what it means to fall further away from the spirit of Brown v Board of education.

What’s Been Swept Away: Katrina at 10

Ben Casselman over at 538 has a great piece on the state of New Orleans’ black middle class. Unlike the City’s growing White and Hispanic populations, African-Americans have not returned to New Orleans in similar proportions:

More than 175,000 black residents left New Orleans in the year after the storm; more than 75,000 never came back. Meanwhile, the non-Hispanic white population has nearly returned to its pre-storm total, and the Hispanic population, though still small compared with other Southern cities, has grown by more than 30 percent. Together, the trends have pushed the African-American share of the population down to 59 percent in 2013, from 66 percent in 2005.

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Jill Harris: War on Drugs has Failed

Jill Harris over at the Drug Policy Alliance had a great opinion piece in the Bangor Daily News (don’t ask me how I find this stuff). In it she argues that Maine Governor Gary LePage is taking the wrong path in terms of dealing with the state’s budding heroin epidemic, actively juxtaposing the Lepage’s proposal against that of Vermont’s Governor, Pete Shumlin. Whereas Shumlin acknowledges the drug problem as a public health issue and seems keen to address it as such, LePage continues to regurgitate that tired “war on drugs” rhetoric that has failed to solve the problem:

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