Criminal Justice

Invoking visions of “American carnage,” President Trump has called for a law and order agenda that would undermine efforts to achieve justice, security, and equality in the criminal system.

Updates | The Week of October 2, 2017

10/8/17  //  Daily Update

Attorney General Jeff Sessions released more details on his plan to reduce violent crime.

Updates | The Week of September 25, 2017

10/1/17  //  Daily Update

The U.S. Sentencing Commission released a report on alternatives to incarceration in the federal criminal justice system.

Updates | The Week of September 18, 2017

9/24/17  //  Daily Update

Changes the Justice Department proposed to community policing initiatives drew widespread criticism. Commentators argue DOJ must better review police departments' actions.

Versus Trump: Waking Dream(host)

8/31/17  //  Commentary

On this week’s episode of Versus Trump, we talk about web-hosting company Dreamhost's refusal to cooperate fully with the Trump Administration's broad request for information about the visitors to, a website allegedly used by those involved in an Inauguration Day riot. Listen now!

Updates | The Week of August 14, 2017

8/20/17  //  Daily Update

Attorney General Sessions may be back in the President's good graces.

Updates | The Week of August 7, 2017

8/13/17  //  Daily Update

Drug courts are not the perfect solution some make them out to be.

Updates | The Week of July 31, 2017

8/6/17  //  Daily Update

President Trump appeared to endorse police brutality in a speech to community college students and law enforcement officers.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions & The Uncertain Legal Status Of The U.S. Sentencing Guidelines

7/27/17  //  Commentary

Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ charging memo undermines one of the premises of the Supreme Court’s recent cases

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

The Voting Rights Agenda Must Include Felon Reenfranchisement

7/10/17  //  Commentary

As disenfranchisement and voter suppression efforts are on the rise, one partial response is reenfranchisement.

Nancy Leong

Sturm College of Law

Jeff Sessions’s Deceitful Arguments for Stiffer Drug Sentences

6/19/17  //  Commentary

The AG's argument for harsher sentencing recommendations in federal drug cases is weak and shows little regard for the truth.

David Sklansky

Stanford Law School

Senators to DOJ: Mandatory Minimums Policy Is Misguided

6/8/17  //  Commentary

A new letter from a bipartisan group of senators shows that Attorney General Sessions’s approach to charging is out of the mainstream, contrary to our justice system’s values, and unsupported by existing crime research.

Chiraag Bains

Harvard Law School

Trump's Mistaken Signing Statement on Marijuana Enforcement

5/16/17  //  Commentary

Trump suggested in a recent signing statement that he could disregard an appropriations restriction on federal marijuana enforcement. But Trump is mistaken.

Zachary Price

U.C. Hastings College of the Law

Constitutional Hurdles for Concealed Carry Reciprocity

3/16/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

President Trump favors federal legislation requiring states to recognize concealed carry licenses issued by other states. But that policy rests on shaky constitutional foundations.

Joseph Blocher

Duke Law School

What President Trump Hasn’t Learned from the Rodney King Riots

5/2/17  //  Commentary

100 days in and 25 years after the unrest in Los Angeles, the Trump Administration is failing communities entitled to fair and just policing.

Chiraag Bains

Harvard Law School

What Happened on United Is Terrible, But What’s Going to Happen Everywhere Is Worse

4/11/17  //  Quick Reactions

The video of the United flight reveals more than just what happened. It also shows why DOJ oversight is so important.

Nikolas Bowie

Harvard Law School

Announcing Our New Podcast: "Versus Trump"

4/20/17  //  Latest Developments

Take Care is pleased to announce the release of "Versus Trump," a new, affiliated podcast about the ways that the Trump Administration is breaking the law—and what people are doing about it.

Take Care

Criminal Justice Reform and Disability – The Overlooked Opportunity

4/12/17  //  Commentary

Criminal justice agencies have become part of our communities' mental health services systems. They need to abide by the disability rights laws that govern mental health services

Eve Hill

Brown Goldstein & Levy

The Trump Administration May Already Have What It Needs for a Serviceable (and Unconstitutional) “Muslim Registry”

4/19/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

The Trump Administration may already have the tools it would need to predict with high accuracy the religious identity of a significant percentage of U.S. citizens and visiting Muslims. And software engineers, not lawyers, may be our first line of alarm and defense.

Embracing Federalism

3/16/17  //  Commentary

It is time for progressives to embrace federalism and to use Supreme Court precedents protecting states’ rights to fight against Trump administration policies

Erwin Chemerinsky

U.C. Irvine School of Law

DOJ Begins to Turn Its Back on Policing Reform

4/4/17  //  Quick Reactions

AG Sessions’s eleventh-hour effort to avoid a consent decree in Baltimore is indefensible and unmistakably political. The court should not allow it.

Chiraag Bains

Harvard Law School

State-Level Capital Punishment Under President Trump

4/28/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

While President Trump has little direct control over how states administer the death penalty, his administration might seek to facilitate the acquisition of legal injection drugs and limit federal habeas review in capital cases. But these policies would raise major legal questions.

AG Sessions Just Might Give Up On Consent Decrees

4/26/17  //  Commentary

Will Attorney General Sessions really get the federal government out of the police oversight business? Signs are increasingly pointing to yes.

Information Wars Part II: Undermining Our Understanding of Police Practices

4/14/17  //  Commentary

As part of the Trump administration's war on information, the administration has started to roll back federal investigations into police violence and criminal justice.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Helen Klein Murillo

Harvard Law School '17

Ten Questions for a New FBI Director

6/6/17  //  Commentary

By Allison Murphy: Given President Trump’s documented and acknowledged efforts to interfere with the independence of the FBI, the Senate should presume that could continue under a new FBI Director. It is therefore incumbent upon Senators to ensure that any Trump nominee for FBI Director commits to certain baseline aspects of independence and impartiality before any new nominee is confirmed. Here are 10 questions that require answers.

Take Care

Information Wars Part I: The Challenge To The Census

4/13/17  //  Commentary

The Trump administration has enacted several policies to conceal, subvert, or manipulate information. It has retracted a proposal to add LGBTQ identification to the U.S. census and eliminated LGBTQ identification from HHS surveys. These policies and others attempt to deny the existence of a problem by disappearing the (inconvenient) facts.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Helen Klein Murillo

Harvard Law School '17

Why Jeff Sessions’s Reversal on Private Prisons Is Dangerous

3/23/17  //  Commentary

The Attorney General’s embrace of private prisons is a victory for the industry, but it threatens the safety of correctional officers and prisoners.

Chiraag Bains

Harvard Law School

The Road to United States v. Trump is Paved with Prosecutorial Discretion

5/21/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

Should former FBI Director Robert Mueller decide to bring criminal charges against President Trump for obstruction of justice, he would be acting well within the law, the norms of the profession, and the reasonable bounds of the discretion with which he has been entrusted.

Andrew Crespo

Harvard Law School

The Federal Death Penalty Under Trump

4/27/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

President Trump and Attorney General Sessions hold exceptionally pro-death penalty views. Here's how they might seek to increase use of capital punishment at the federal level, and why any such effort likely would fail.

Policing is Always Political, So Politicians Should Control It

5/24/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

Recent Harvard Law graduate, and soon to be civil rights lawyer, Shakeer Rahman offers some second thoughts about celebrating federal law enforcement’s independence.

Take Care

Reinvigorating Civil Rights in the Era of Trump

4/13/17  //  Commentary

Given the nativist overtones of his campaign and his administration’s signature policies — from the Muslim ban to an immigration crackdown that equates being a foreign-born minority with criminality — Trump has exploded the fiction that we live in a post-racial society.

Chiraag Bains

Harvard Law School

Trump’s Approach to Crime & Punishment

3/16/17  //  Commentary

The president has continued existing policies, but also signaled a misplaced (and dangerous) reliance on immigration enforcement and incarceration to protect the public.

Chiraag Bains

Harvard Law School

Updates | The Week of May 8, 2017

5/14/17  //  Daily Update

Attorney General Jeff Sessions advocated returning to harsh punishments for low-level drug offenders.

Updates | The Week of May 1, 2017

5/7/17  //  Daily Update

Capital punishment and tension between communities and law enforcement may escalate under President Trumps' Department of Justice.

Take Care

Updates | The Week of June 12, 2017

6/18/17  //  Daily Update

Criminal justice reform advocates turn focus to Jared Kushner and to local efforts.

Updates | The Week of April 3, 2017

4/9/17  //  Daily Update

This week, the Department of Justice ordered a nationwide review of consent decrees implemented to curb civil rights abuses. State governors are poised to fight back against Attorney General Jeff Sessions's federal marijuana policy. And a decline in incarceration rates is threatened by the Trump Presidency.

Updates | The Week of April 17, 2017

4/23/17  //  Daily Update

Attorney General Sessions has started to make significant changes at the Department of Justice by doubling down on mass incarceration and weakening police accountability. Such efforts face significant criticism.

Updates | The Week of March 20, 2017

3/26/17  //  Daily Update

Private prisons have newfound influence in the White House and have benefitted from the Trump Administration's Justice Department policy reversal.

Updates | The Week of April 24, 2017

4/30/17  //  Daily Update

The Administration may remove oversight of local law enforcement agencies, and use the federal death penalty more often.

Updates | The Week of May 29, 2017

6/4/17  //  Daily Update

The proposed budget for the Department of Justice signals the administration’s intent to forego enforcement of civil rights laws. Meanwhile, proposed congressional legislation to provide greater protections for police officers may further criminalize communities of color, advocates worry.

Helen Klein Murillo

Harvard Law School '17

Updates | The Week of August 21, 2017

8/24/17  //  Daily Update

While the Trump administration has revived policies associated with the "War on Drugs," it has not yet taken meaningful steps to respond to the opioid crisis.

Updates | The Week of July 10, 2017

7/16/17  //  Daily Update

A DOJ report criticized the use of solitary confinement for mentally ill inmates. Attorney General Jess Sessions spoke again about his drug enforcement policies.

Updates | The Week of July 17, 2017

7/23/17  //  Daily Update

AG Sessions announced plans to expand civil asset forfeiture and encourage prosecutors to seek harsher criminal penalties. Sessions was heavily criticized both by Democrats and President Trump this week.

Updates | The Week of April 10, 2017

4/16/17  //  Daily Update

This week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions ushered in the "Trump Era," heralding increased enforcement of immigration offenses. The Department of Homeland Security has resurrected programs deputizing state and local police to enforce immigration laws. And Nikolas Bowie, writing for Take Care, argues that the internal review of Civil Rights Division consent decrees threatens its value as an unbiased source.

Updates | The Week of June 19, 2017

6/25/17  //  Daily Update

The DOJ ramps up the War on Drugs but has no plans to conduct federal investigations of officer-involved shootings.

Updates | The Week of June 5, 2017

6/11/17  //  Daily Update

Questions asked about the Justice Department's mandatory minimums policy and the continued United States Attorney vacancies.