Ideas and Opinions

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OP-ED: Cops and Community, How to Repair a Broken Relationship

Alton Pitre

It is difficult to repair a broken relationship, one built on years of distrust. It is especially tough if you are the parent of a child forever getting caught up in the juvenile justice system, knowing their kid can be harassed and possibly injured or arrested for simply walking down the street. So how can we as a community come together to mend this problem that has damaged countless lives for far too long? Growing up as a teenager in South Central Los Angeles, encounters with law enforcement were a daily occurrence. The police stopped me on the street many times without probable cause. Continue Reading →

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OP-ED: Uncharted Territory


CHICAGO — At the end of last year, the Illinois General Assembly found itself in uncharted territory. In response to an ongoing crisis of gun violence in some of Chicago’s poorest communities, Mayor Rahm Emanuel asked Illinois state legislators for increased mandatory minimum prison sentences for illegal gun possession. This was textbook tough-on-crime politics and policymaking. At the beginning, I think everyone involved in the process assumed it would all proceed according to script. Even though my organization, the John Howard Association, was an early opponent, I also assumed that after the dust settled at the end of session, Illinois would have another set of longer prison sentences. Continue Reading →

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