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Redefining public defense.

The Bronx Defenders Policy & Community

Los Angeles Times: Op-Ed: Cruel and usual punishment in jails and prisons

The 8th Amendment bans cruel and unusual punishment. Yet it happens every day in prisons across the country. Putting aside capital punishment, which I would argue is cruel and unusual on its face, Americans are ignoring a host of horrific conditions that inmates are subjected to. This is not only morally and constitutionally dangerous; it…

BxD’s Mary Anne Mendenhall on Hot 97 ‘Street Soldiers’ discussing the Adrian Peterson child abuse case

Yesterday, September 21, 2014, Bronx Defenders Family Defense Practice Supervising Attorney Mary Anne Mendenhall joined in a compelling discussion on NFL player Adrian Peterson’s ongoing child abuse case, offering keen insights into the experiences and challenges faced by Bronx Defenders clients in Bronx Family Court. The episode of Hot 97’s “Street Soldiers” with host Lisa Evers brought…

Solitary Watch: Seven Days in Solitary

The following roundup features noteworthy news, reports and opinions on solitary confinement from the past week that have not been covered in other Solitary Watch posts. The American Civil Liberties Union released 26 reports alleging extensive abuses in Arizona’s prisons, including claims that individuals are being placed in solitary confinement because prison beds elsewhere are…

Village Voice: Solitary Confinement at Rikers Island is Torture and “Inexcusably Extreme,” Bronx Defenders Say

Inmates are placed in solitary confinement at Rikers Island for “inexcusably extreme” amounts of time, a new report charges, “egregiously disproportionate” to the infractions they are alleged to have committed. While in solitary, it can be difficult for inmates to get access to the most basic of services, including food, showers, and phone time. That’s…

WNYC: In Solitary, Inmates Languish, Despair and Attempt Suicide: Report

The Otis Bantum Correctional Center has the largest solitary confinement unit on Rikers Island. It holds roughly 400 inmates, according to the Board of Correction. The Otis Bantum Correctional Center has the largest solitary confinement unit on Rikers Island. It holds roughly 400 inmates, according to the Board of Correction. (Brigid Bergin/WNYC) A new report…

The Bronx Defenders releases its report “Voices From the Box: Solitary Confinement at Rikers Island”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 12, 2014 Contact: Skylar Albertson, The Bronx Defenders, (347) 842-1215, SkylarA@bronxdefenders.org Voices From the Box: Solitary Confinement at Rikers Island New York – The Bronx Defenders released a report summarizing the experiences of 59 current and former clients who were subjected to extreme isolation in solitary confinement at Rikers Island. The…

Huffington Post: At Hearing On NYPD Force, The ‘5,000-Pound Elephant In The Room’ Is ‘Broken Windows’

NEW YORK — It took two hours during Monday’s packed City Council hearing with NYPD Commissioner William Bratton for someone to mention “broken windows.” It was council member Robert Cornegy (D-Brooklyn) who finally broached the subject, calling the controversial policing strategy the “5,000-pound elephant in the room.” Cornegy made the remark while questioning Bratton about…

The Christian Science Monitor: Retraining the NYPD after chokehold death

NEW YORK — The New York City Police Department outlined a new tactical training program on Monday as the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio continues its efforts to mend the fractured relationship between the nation’s largest police force and the city’s minority communities. Speaking before the New York City Council Monday morning, police Commissioner…

The Bronx Defenders Welcomes Its 2014 Training Teams and New Hires!

The Bronx Defenders is proud to announce the start of its 2014 Training Teams as well as many new hires throughout the office. For the first time ever, The Bronx Defenders will welcome two training teams to the office. Throughout the next twelve months, our new attorneys will receive intensive training in holistic defense, working…

Times-Ledger: Wills’ bill seeks to protect jailed voters’ ballots

The Bronx Defenders Policy Organizer Kamau Butcher quoted in local news article about newly introduced legislation regarding voting while incarcerated. Although jail detainees are kept behind bars, City Councilman Ruben Wills (D-Jamaica) says their votes should not be. Wills introduced a bill at last week’s Council meeting outlining a process for the city Department of Correction…

Solidarity at the August 23rd ‘March for Justice’ on Staten Island

The Bronx Defenders was proud to be a part of the March for Justice on Staten Island last weekend to peacefully call for justice for Eric Garner, Ramarley Graham, and others who have been killed and/or brutalized by NYPD officers with little to no accountability or consequences for the involved police officers. Thousands joined the march through…

Capital New York: Local Ferguson reverberation

Capital New York’s ‘Playbook’ highlights statement from Justine Olderman, Managing Director of The Bronx Defenders Criminal Practice as its “Quote of the Day” “The NYPD trots out this justification that they’re arresting people for minor infractions as a way of keeping violent crime down, and yet there is no evidence to show that there’s any correlation…

El Diario: Exigen que se termine el maltrato de reos en las cárceles de NY

Activistas y concejales municipales exigieron a viva voz reformas en las prisiones de la ciudad. El grupo se congregó el lunes en las escalinatas de la alcaldía en donde, de paso, se entregaron más detalles de un proyecto de ley que quiere que los Departamentos de Correccionales y de Salud publiquen información detallada sobre los…

The Bronx Defenders statement on killing of Mike Brown in Ferguson, MO

The Bronx Defenders offers its condolences and support to the family of Mike Brown and to the entire Ferguson community. We join its residents in calling for an immediate, transparent, and independent investigation into the tragic and devastating death of this young man. We also salute peaceful protesters who are bravely demanding accountability and drawing…

New York Daily News: EXCLUSIVE: Arrests for transit fare evasion surge in recent years, putting it among city’s top offenses leading to jail: Daily News analysis

Fare-beating arrests have increased 69% — from 14,681 in 2008 to 24,747 in 2013 — and are on pace to be slightly higher this year. Nearly 37,500 people have gotten sentences for the $2.50 crime that involved incarceration, including time-served, and 1,802 of those people were minors, according to data obtained by the Daily News….

Spotlight on The Bronx Defenders’ new Prostitution Conviction Vacature Project

Every year in New York City, thousands of people who are victims of sex trafficking are arrested, charged, and ultimately convicted of prostitution-related offenses. Due to New York City’s zero-tolerance policing, many of these people are arrested multiple times and face repeated prosecutions. Convictions for prostitution carry an enormous stigma and make it extremely difficult…

The Bronx Defenders joined partners at City Hall today to demand police accountability

“There is no excuse for an illegal chokehold by the NYPD. We need policing FOR our communities, not against them.” -Donna Lieberman, Executive Director, New York Civil Liberties Union Earlier today, The Bronx Defenders rallied together with community allies at a press conference hosted by Communities United for Police Reform at City Hall to demand accountability for…

WNYC: When ‘Broken Windows’ Leads to Busted Heads

WNYC’s Robert Lewis investigates the NYPD’s embrace of the “broken windows” theory in the wake of the recent death of Staten Island resident Eric Garner. The Bronx Defenders Executive Director Robin Steinberg is interviewed to shed light on these issues. Many across New York are still struggling to understand how Eric Garner — the Staten Island…