Drucker, Karin


Karin has worked in juvenile justice advocacy and research in California with the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice and the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. She has also worked at the Children’s Defense Fund and the White House Initiative on Tribal Colleges and Universities.

A Silver Tide Behind Bars: The High Cost of Living and Dying in Prison

By Karin Drucker
Sense and Sensibility

In 2009, prison workers drove Debbie Peagler from the Central California State Prison for Women to a Denny’s near Chowchilla, California. At 49, Debbie had stage IV lung cancer and an estimated three months to live. She joked, “I came to freedom in a Denny’s parking lot.” She died ten months later.

Debbie Peagler is the subject of a documentary film Crime After Crime, which follows two lawyers as they challenged her sentence, of which she had already served 20 years. The lawyers were utilizing California’s habeas law, which allows women who had been survivors of domestic violence to take their cases back to court. Eventually Debbie was granted a compassionate release, but she left behind many women like her who are continuing to grow old in Chowchilla.

Collateral Damage: Children and Prison Reform in California

By Karin Drucker

Type “California” into a Google news search and chances are good that your browser will turn up headlines about prisons. Since October 1, 2011 the state has started to deliver on a mandate from the U.S. Supreme Court to remove 33,000 people from its bloated prison population. In this fast and furious process called realignment, it is easy to forget a crucial population: children. The majority of incarcerated people in California are parents. As described in my last post, realignment offers enormous opportunity to change the status quo corrections practices as non-sexual, non-violent, and non-serious offenders will now be sentenced to serve in county jails. Can children benefit from it?