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An Ambitious Effort to Cut Jail ‘Over-Incarceration’

Posted on May 29 , 2015 in News

An Ambitious Effort to Cut Jail ‘Over-Incarceration’, The Crime Report, Ted Gest, May 28, 2015.

Excerpt: “Can a mixture of cities, counties, and a state change the way jails are used–some say over-used–in the United States? The Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation hopes so. It plans to invest $75 million in a national project aimed at doing that, just as it has pushed for changes in the juvenile justice system.Yesterday, in a major step forward for the project, the foundation announced that 20 locations around the country will receive $150,000 grants to plan experiments aimed at demonstrating that many low-level offenders and defendants waiting for disposition of their cases don’t have to be behind bars—with no harmful impact on public safety.  They were chosen from 191 applicants during a months-long evaluation process.” Continue>>

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True justice for young offenders: Gov. Cuomo on why it’s time to raise the age of criminal responsibility

Posted on May 29 , 2015 in News

True justice for young offenders: Gov. Cuomo on why it’s time to raise the age of criminal responsibility, The Daily News, Andrew Cuomo, May 27, 2015.

Excerpt: “Since I took office in 2011, I have taken steps to reform our juvenile justice system to make our communities safer while also ensuring that young offenders get the help they need to get on the right track, leading positive, crime-free lives. So far, our work has made a difference. We have significantly reduced the number of young people in the state’s juvenile justice system for the third consecutive year. We have brought New York City youth placed in upstate juvenile justice facilities back to the city so they can receive educational, mental health, substance abuse and other service needs while remaining closer to their families and communities.” Continue>>

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Driver’s License Suspensions Create Cycle of Debt

Posted on May 29 , 2015 in News

Driver’s License Suspensions Create Cycle of Debt, The New Times,

Excerpt: “The last time Kenneth Seay lost his job, at an industrial bakery that offered health insurance and Christmas bonuses, it was because he had been thrown in jail for legal issues stemming from a revoked driver’s license. Same with the three jobs before that. In fact, Mr. Seay said, when it comes to gainful employment, it is not his criminal record that is holding him back — he did time for dealing drugs — but the $4,509.22 in fines, court costs and reinstatement fees he must pay to recover his license. Mr. Seay’s inability to pay those costs has trapped him in a cycle that thousands of other low-income Tennesseans are struggling to escape. Going through the legal system, even for people charged with nonviolent misdemeanors, can be expensive, with fines, public defender fees, probation fees and other costs running into hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars. Many people cannot pay.The last time Kenneth Seay lost his job, at an industrial bakery that offered health insurance and Christmas bonuses, it was because he had been thrown in jail for legal issues stemming from a revoked driver’s license. Same with the three jobs before that.” Continue>>

 

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Criminal Justice Reform Must Include Better Medical Treatment in Prisons and Jails

Posted on May 29 , 2015 in News

Criminal Justice Reform Must Include Better Medical Treatment in Prisons and Jails, The Brennan Center, Andrew Cohen, May 24, 2015.

Excerpt: “It’s heartening these days to hear the bipartisan cries for criminal justice reform, whether they emanate from Capitol Hill or state capitals all across the nation. And it is indisputable that some reform has come in just the past few weeks to some of the places that need it the most, states like Alabama and Florida. But we won’t be able even to pretend that we have adequately humanized our criminal justice systems until we deal with the atrocious medical care we now provide prisoners and on that score the news of the past weeks seems as dire as it ever has been. ” Continue>>

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Charging Inmates Perpetuates Mass Incarceration

Posted on May 29 , 2015 in News

Charging Inmates Perpetuates Mass Incarceration, The Brennan Center, Lauren-Brooke Eisen, May 21, 2015.

Excerpt: “The American criminal justice system is replete with fees that attempt to shift costs from the government to those accused and convicted of breaking the law. Courts impose monetary sanctions on a “substantial majority of the millions of U.S. residents convicted of felony and misdemeanor crimes each year.” Every aspect of the criminal justice process has become ripe for charging a fee. In fact, an estimated 10 million people owe more than $50 billion in debt resulting from their involvement in the criminal justice system. In the last few decades, additional fees have proliferated, such as charges for police transport, case filing, felony surcharges, electronic monitoring, drug testing, and sex offender registration. Unlike fines, whose purpose is to punish, and restitution, which is intended to compensate victims of crimes for their loss, user fees are intended to raise revenue.” Continue>>

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Capital Region police target gun violence with open dialogue

Posted on May 11 , 2015 in News

Capital Region police target gun violence with open dialogue, Times Union, Keshia Clukey, May 11, 2015. 

Excerpt: “The state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision selects high-risk individuals for the program, including those with a history of gun and gang violence. The parolees who attend the hourlong sessions interact with law enforcement officials as well as reformed criminals like Stroud, who participates as a member of Re-entry Opportunities and Orientations Towards Success, also known as ROOTS, which assists people emerging from prisons. The panel includes representatives from county employment agencies, the Rensselaer County district attorney’s office, police forces and the U.S. Attorney’s office. They speak with men and women re-entering the community after serving time, about the consequences of re-offending as well as education and job opportunities.” Continue>>

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Clinton on incarceration: ‘We cast too wide a net’

Posted on May 08 , 2015 in News

Clinton on incarceration: ‘We cast too wide a net’, KRGV, May 6, 2015.

Excerpt: “Clinton signed into law an omnibus crime bill in 1994 that included the federal “three strikes” provision, mandating life sentences for criminals convicted of a violent felony after two or more prior convictions, including drug crimes. On Wednesday, Clinton acknowledged that policy’s role in over-incarceration in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.”The problem is the way it was written and implemented is we cast too wide a net and we had too many people in prison,” Clinton said Wednesday. “And we wound up…putting so many people in prison that there wasn’t enough money left to educate them, train them for new jobs and increase the chances when they came out so they could live productive lives.” Clinton’s comments come on the heels of protests in Baltimore over policing and the death of a young black man there and a week after Hillary Clinton delivered one of the first policy addressees of her presidential campaign on criminal justice reform, saying that the system focuses too much on incarceration.” Continue>>

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Lawsuit Leads to New Limits on Solitary Confinement at Juvenile Prisons in Illinois

Posted on May 08 , 2015 in News

Lawsuit Leads to New Limits on Solitary Confinement at Juvenile Prisons in Illinois, The New York Times, Julie Bosman, 

Excerpt: “A settlement to a federal lawsuit will sharply limit the practice of solitary confinement in juvenile correctional facilities run by the state of Illinois, the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois announced on Monday. The settlement, which resolved a lawsuit filed by the A.C.L.U. of Illinois against the state, requires that the juvenile inmates spend at least eight hours a day outside their cells, said Adam Schwartz, a lawyer for the A.C.L.U. of Illinois. The new policy also requires that the inmates in isolation continue to receive education and mental health services.” Continue>>

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LEAD program for low-level drug criminals sees success

Posted on May 08 , 2015 in News

LEAD program for low-level drug criminals sees success, The Seattle Times, Sara Jean Green, April 8, 2014.

Excerpt: “The Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program is working even better than its creators had hoped, reducing criminal-recidivism rates by up to 60 percent for the poor, chronically homeless, low-level drug dealers, users and prostituted people it was designed to help. When LEAD was launched as a four-year pilot project in October 2011, no one knew if it would work, said Lisa Daugaard, policy director for the King County Public Defender Association, who worked with police and prosecutors to develop the innovative program that was unlike anything ever tried in the country. Based on a harm-reduction model that drew from decades of public-health research, LEAD’s architects were hopeful a new approach to dealing with low-level drug crimes would slow the number of frequent fliers who repeatedly cycle through the criminal-justice system.” Continue>>

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Albany police change Taser policy to limit shocks

Posted on May 06 , 2015 in News

Albany police change Taser policy to limit shocks, Times Union, Jordan Carleo-Evangelist, May 5, 2015. 

Excerpt: “City police have changed their policy governing the use of Tasers to limit officers to three bursts from the stun device barring what Acting Chief Brendan Cox described Monday as “extenuating circumstances.” The change, which Cox said was implemented late last week, follows the death of 39-year-old Donald “Dontay” Ivy on April 2 after having been shocked by officers while they tried to take him into custody.” Continue>>