Today’s links: Mass incarceration getting better, but it it’s far from over

  • Brennan Center: It’s way too early to declare victory over mass incarceration.
  • The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit has again affirmed the First Amendment right to record on-duty police officers, including during a traffic stop. There is some hedgy language in the opinion that I’d prefer weren’t there. But the opinion does emphasize what should by now be well-established law: In every state in the country, you are within your rights to record an on-duty cop.
  • Buried in this scare story about obesity is this bit of good news that, when you think about it, is really pretty striking: “Americans are spending a smaller share of their income on food than any other society in history . . . “
  • Lawsuit: Veteran died when VA hospital police slammed him to the ground and beat him. According to his widow’s lawsuit, he apparently had lost his patience while waiting for chemotherapy and was trying to leave to seek treatment at another hospital.
  • In other lawsuit news, a Kansas woman alleges that she was arrested on a drug possession charge while pregnant, put into a solitary cell, then ignored when she went into labor. The infant died.
  • The San Diego Police Department is missing a million dollars in forfeiture money.
  • Hamtramck, Mich. (population: 22,400) is the latest small town to get its own Mine Resistant Ambush Protected armored vehicle from the federal government.
Radley Balko blogs about criminal justice, the drug war and civil liberties for The Washington Post. He is the author of the book "Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces."

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Radley Balko · May 23, 2014