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Jacob Kraus

Over the past several weeks, action on the federal level has brought about new challenges and new opportunities in the ongoing struggle to ensure equal access to the ballot. As the Trump administration has sought to further advance the myth of widespread voter fraud, the Supreme Court has issued new rulings that overturn voting restrictions and other changes that disproportionately impacted minority voters.

On May 11, President Trump signed an executive order establishing a “Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.” In many ways, the commission follows from...

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Senator Jeff Sessions looking off camera

Late last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued new charging guidelines that will further expand our country’s oversized prison population, which is already the world’s largest in total number. The Attorney General’s guidelines direct U.S. Attorneys, who are responsible for prosecuting individuals suspected of federal crimes, to “charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense.”

Attorney General Sessions’ policy will result in more offenders receiving charges that carry harsh mandatory minimum sentences. Mandatory minimums are often disproportionate to the crime...

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Jail Cells

How does a state that has not executed a single prisoner since 2005 end up scheduling eight executions and carrying out four of them in ten days? What can these developments tell us about the application of the death penalty in the United States? The answers to these questions lie in a complex story involving the Arkansas government, the Supreme Court, advocates for and against the death penalty and drug expiration dates.

The state of Arkansas had scheduled executions for eight of their death row inmates between April 17 and 27, citing the need to complete the executions before...

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Today, we face a criminal justice system that is broken and does not reflect our values as Reform Jews and as Americans. This system incarcerates 2.3 million people and most severely impacts people of color, who face inequities at every stage of the process, from policing to sentencing to reentry. There is an urgent need to reform policies and practices so that the criminal justice system truly lives up to its name.

Just last week at the Consultation on Conscience, hundreds of Reform Jews learned about criminal justice reform and urged their Members of Congress to support...

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As we continue in our pursuit of racial justice, it is important to both reflect on the work ahead of us and the legacy left behind by the leaders and movements that have already made significant changes. While the civil rights movement of the 1960s has been memorialized in films, through special events, commemorative events, museums and actual memorials, it is essential that we continue to tell the story of those who made great strides in the ongoing work to end racial discrimination.

Representative John Lewis, who was a leader in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating committee and...

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