Overcoming Hate: A Former Skinhead Works for Racial Justice, December 2017
Photo Courtesy Milwaukee Jewish Day School.
Arno Michaelis was once not just a white, racist skinhead, but a white, racist skinhead leader—a gang leader, he will tell you. He has left the beliefs that drove him—the bigotry, the hatred, the violence—far behind.
Yet he has not turned his back on that world or the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people who inhabit it. Instead, Michaelis is devoting his life to repairing the damage he feels responsible for and embracing the human diversity he once hated and feared. He hopes to encourage those flirting with that life to turn away before it draws them in, and help those locked into that worldview to find their way out…
On the Hard Path to Prison Reform: An Interview with Heather Ann Thompson, November 2017
Dr. Heather Ann Thompson, professor of history and Afroamerican and African studies at University of Michigan.
Published in 2016, University of Michigan historian Heather Ann Thompson’s Pulitzer-prize-winning history of the 1971 Attica Prison Uprising, Blood In the Water, was released in paperback this fall. Thompson was in Milwaukee recently to speak at a series of events spotlighting mass incarceration. She spoke with The Progressive contributor Erik Gunn about the lessons of Attica and the prospects for decarceration in the era of President Donald Trump…
The Case for Mercy: Some of the Unlikeliest People to Oppose the Death Penalty, October 2017
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Late one afternoon in February 2014, ten-year-old Hailey Owens was abducted from a street near her home in Springfield, Missouri. Police say her abductor raped her, then shot her, then wrapped her body in garbage bags and stuffed it in a plastic tote…
Protesters Convicted For ‘Parading’ Against the Death Penalty at the Supreme Court, June 2017
On an overcast day this past January, eighteen people stood on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court and unfurled a banner that read “STOP EXECUTIONS!”
For that nonviolent act, all those involved were arrested under a law that makes it a crime to “parade, stand or move in processions or assemblages” or to display a “flag, banner or device designed or adapted to bring into public notice a party, organization or movement” on the marble plaza and steps of Supreme Court building.
This week, twelve of those eighteen went on trial in a case presided over by D.C. Superior Court Judge Robert Salerno. On Thursday, June 29, 2017, all twelve were convicted…
Refusing to Make a Monster out of God: Shane Claiborne on the Death Penalty, April 2017
Photo by Brian Yap.
Writer and activist Shane Claiborne spoke with The Progressive about why his faith calls him to the movement to abolish the death penalty—a movement that crosses religious and secular lines and even brings together the families of crime victims and those condemned to die.
Marquette law professor takes a bite out of crime myth, February 2017
|Photo by Matthew Muller.
Despite widespread belief that stiff mandatory sentences are to blame for Wisconsin’s high incarceration rate, Marquette University law professor Michael O’Hear argues that it’s a lot more complicated . . .
How Milwaukee went soft on crime, November 2014
What makes Milwaukee stand out is not just that crime has fallen … but that it has done so in a town where 28 percent of the population falls below the poverty level, far, far above the national average, and where conventional wisdom has it that the entrenched problems that go along with such long lasting economic deprivation make it much harder to do anything about crime. The secret? . . .
Why is Children’s Court so far away from Downtown Milwaukee?, July 2015
|Photo by Beth Cortez-Neavel.
The Children’s Court’s comparatively remote location might once have been a considered a feature, not a bug. Now, though, the distance has become part of a quiet but intense conversation among professionals who work in and around the juvenile court. An emerging consensus holds that the time is approaching — has arrived, even — to move Children’s Court back Downtown from the county’s western rim, returning it to the area around the Milwaukee County Courthouse that was once its home . . .
Invisible No More, February 2013
Operating under the radar locally, District Attorney John Chisholm has quietly become a national example of a new kind of prosecutor. With a series of high-profile cases, he’s been more scrutinized than ever before — but not necessarily understood.