Civil Rights

University Press of Mississippi

The Freedom Summer of 1964 helped usher in civil rights laws for black Americans. 

But the price was steep: many people of many ethnic backgrounds gave up their security and even their lives for civil rights. 

Their efforts are not only remembered, but documented extensively. 

A companion to the civil rights efforts was the Southern Documentary Project, which scattered reporters and photographers around the South to record the events for the major picture magazines. 

Ardiart/Wikimedia

Attorneys for California, and those representing prison inmates, are presenting a federal judge with starkly different views of prison guards' use of pepper spray against the mentally ill.

At issue in the trial that ended yesterday is whether guards' heavy use of pepper spray against some mentally ill inmates violates prisoners' civil rights.

Democratic lawmakers on key policy committees say they want to limit California's practice of keeping hundreds of inmates in solitary confinement for years, sometimes decades, as a way of controlling violent prison gangs.

They held the first in a planned series of hearings Wednesday in response to an inmate hunger strike this summer that at one point involved more than 30,000 of the 133,000 inmates in state prisons.

The inmates were protesting conditions for gang leaders held in isolation at Pelican Bay and three other prisons.

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill that immigration advocates have long considered a top priority.

The measure, known as the "TRUST Act" is one of a number of bills backed by immigration advocates that the governor signed over the weekend. It's intended to protect undocumented immigrants arrested for minor crimes from being turned over to the federal government for possible deportation.

Brown vetoed the "TRUST Act" last year, citing concerns from law enforcement groups. This year, he worked with both sides to craft a compromise.

California DCR

California has a few more weeks to find a solution to its prison overcrowding. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled state officials have until the end of January to comply with the court order to reduce prison overcrowding. The state had been facing a deadline of December 31st.