Author

Amanda Hernández

Amanda Hernández

Amanda Hernández covers criminal justice for Stateline. She has reported for both national and local outlets, including ABC News, USA Today and NBC4 Washington.

Bail clampdowns don’t match what research says about suspects, experts say

By: - February 22, 2024

Crime is shaping up as a potent election issue, and one of the key points of debate is over bail: Which suspects should be jailed before trial, and which ones should be released on bond — and for how much money? Some conservatives argue that lenient bail policies put suspects who are likely to commit […]

Car thefts and carjackings are up. Unreliable data makes it hard to pinpoint why.

By: - February 19, 2024

Carjackings and car thefts are up significantly compared with the number of incidents before the pandemic, prompting fear and calls for action in many American cities. Motor vehicle thefts increased by 29% in 2023 compared with the previous year, while carjackings slightly decreased by 5% in nearly 40 American cities, according to the Council on Criminal Justice’s most […]

Cash bail policies are under fresh scrutiny

By: - November 14, 2023

States can’t figure out what to do about cash bail. The system — in which an arrested suspect pays cash to avoid sitting in jail until their court date and gets the money back when they appear — is deeply entrenched in the nation’s history as a way to ensure defendants return to face justice. […]

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Politicians love to cite crime data. It’s often wrong.

By: - November 1, 2023

When Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis announced his presidential campaign in May, he proudly told the nation that Florida’s crime rate in 2021 had reached a 50-year low. But really, DeSantis couldn’t say for sure. That’s because fewer than 1 in 10 law enforcement agencies in his state had reported their crime statistics to the […]

It’s hazing season on college campuses. State safeguards are uneven.

By: - October 4, 2023

Max Gruver spent the early morning hours of Sept. 14, 2017, heavily intoxicated and passed out on a couch inside the Phi Delta Theta chapter house at Louisiana State University. He had been forced to repeatedly chug 190-proof Diesel liquor in a hazing ritual called “Bible Study,” during which pledges are quizzed on fraternity facts. […]

Sexual assault survivors can now track their rape kits in most states

By: - September 12, 2023

It can take hours for a sexual assault victim to undergo the multiple swabs, hair samples, blood and urine collections, and other invasive procedures of a sexual assault examination. And then it can take months, sometimes years, for investigators to process that evidence kit. But now, responding to demands from survivors and their advocates, more […]