For some, getting released from incarceration means getting to go home to their families. For others, it means a new sentence to homelessness, unemployment and missed opportunities.
The Howard Center for Investigative Journalism
The Howard Center for Investigative Journalism projects
Experts say trouble is brewing in Martinsburg, West Virginia, because of a city law called the “drug house ordinance.”
It’s illegal to sleep on a park bench. It’s illegal to stand in one place for too long. In hundreds of American cities, it’s a crime to be homeless.
People living in outdoor homeless encampments should not be evicted during the outbreak of the novel coronavirus unless they can be moved to individual housing units, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended.
The United States was the only country to condemn minors to life in prison with no chance for parole. In recent years the Supreme Court has ruled this unconstitutional. Yet more than 2,000 so-called juvenile lifers remain in prison in what the court says is cruel and unusual punishment.
Beginning in 2005, the Court overturned many of the harshest policies aimed at juveniles.
Both states had large numbers of juveniles sentenced to life without parole. Both have hit speed bumps as they try to respond to the Supreme Court.
In most states parole commissions decide who should be released. Only three require the governor to sign paroles. Each state has handled the court’s rulings differently.