Despite some sentencing changes, prison populations are creeping up. California released a number of inmates under court order to cease overcrowding. Federal and state law has reduced the sentencing guidelines for possession of crack cocaine to a number closer to powder cocaine possession (from 75 to 1 down to 17 to 1, though the two kinds of cocaine are about the same). Marijuana possession isn't being prosecuted in a lot of places.
Peace & Justice
Addressing the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday, the Vatican's secretary of state said "terrorism represents a fundamental threat to our common humanity" and its escalation requires the response of a "shared commitment" from all nations.
"Nations must come together in order to fulfill our primary responsibility to protect people threatened by violence and direct assaults on their human dignity," Cardinal Pietro Parolin said.
The three top leaders of the Catholic peace organization called upon the world to work together to seek nonviolent alternatives to stop the Islamic State.
Book review: David Dow's engaging new memoir, Things I've Learned from Dying, dispenses wisdom gleaned from observing three deaths.
Faith and Justice: We still believe that we can ride into town, kill the bad guys, and ride off into the sunset. Such arrogance is breathtaking after so many failures.
Peace is never achieved once and for all, but is the fruit of a daily quest for greater justice and respect for one another, the new papal nuncio to the United Nations said Monday.
For believers, it is not merely a result of human efforts, but also a gift from the Almighty, Archbishop Bernardito Auza said.
He spoke at a prayer service on the eve of the opening of the 69th session of the U.N. General Assembly. It was his first official function since arriving Sept. 8 in New York. He was the nuncio to Haiti from 2008 until July 1.
In light of the recent political, military and social conflicts taking place around the world, Catholics and other Christians have found reason to come together in faith to pray for world peace and healing.
The 22nd International Week of Prayer and Fasting will take place Sept. 20-28. Organizers are encouraging individuals, families and parishes around the world to participate by fasting, attending daily Mass, prayer services and Holy Hours, going to confession, and praying the rosary and the Divine Mercy chaplet.
A recently formed cricket team from the Vatican may need some divine intervention as it gets ready to take on more experienced English players at a historic game Saturday.
The Vatican team will play against the British Army chaplains as part of a "Light of Faith" tour at the Kent County Cricket Club, a stone's throw away from Canterbury Cathedral, where it will play again next week against the Church of England's team.
Our first lesson today from the prophet Ezekiel reminds us of the role of prophecy within the Jewish community, but also a role that continued on among Christians. Jesus was a prophet; John the Baptist was a prophet. The disciples were called to be prophets. Most of us probably do not think of ourselves as prophets. Even the role of the prophet that Ezekiel speaks about -- comparing the prophet to a watchman for Israel -- that has no relevance for us with our super-sophisticated radar systems, our U-2 planes that oversee the Earth at all the time.
Midazolam has been implicated in botched executions in three states, and lawyers have filed a petition to stop a convicted murderer's execution in fear the drug will be used.