The Fortune Society News Of The Week
— the week of August 4, 2014

Monday, August 11, 2014

A wide-ranging collection of news and opinion from the previous week focusing on criminal justice policy, advocacy, and reform.

Opinion: Not all Gang Members Created Equal

By David Rothenberg, The Fortune Society

In June, the Manhattan DA and the New York City police commissioner garnered significant media attention after a pre-dawn raid resulted in the indictment of more than 100 gang members in Harlem. But what happens after the headlines fade away …


U.S. Inquiry Finds ʺCulture Of Violenceʺ Against Teenage Inmates At Rikers

In an extraordinary rebuke of the New York City Department of Correction, the federal government said on Monday that the department had systematically violated the civil rights of male teenagers held at Rikers Island by failing to protect them from the rampant use of unnecessary and excessive force by correction officers.


Expert: Cruelty To Adolescents At Rikers Will Ruin The Lives Of Thousands

The abuse to teen inmates will result in thousands of lost souls, forever unable to live normal lives. But the real tragedy is that many teen inmates should never have been at RIkers in the first place. New York is one of two states that …


Opinion: Big House Of Horrors 

Broken jaws, eye sockets, noses and teeth litter the devastating account by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara of Rikers Island’s adolescent units — with the most troubling injuries inflicted not by other inmates, but by corrections officers …


DOJ: Rikers’ Cycle Of Violence Violates Teen Inmates’ Constitutional Rights

Rikers Island is “broken” hellhole where adolescent inmates run amok and are routinely
beaten by jailers when they step even an inch out of line, the feds said in a blistering report calling for immediate changes at the island penal complex …


U.S. Attorney: Rikers Teens’ Rights Violated

Rikers Island correction officers have routinely violated the constitutional rights of
adolescent inmates by responding to minor violations with excessive force,
according to a two-year investigation by the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office ..


Feds: Violence Pervasive In NYC Youth Jails

New York City’s juvenile jails are extremely violent and unsafe, the result of a deeply
ingrained culture of violence in which guards routinely violate constitutional rights of teenage inmates and subject them to “rampant use of unnecessary and excessive force” …


Opinion: More Evidence That New York’s Largest Jail Is A Horrific Place

 A scathing report details the “culture of violence” imposed upon teenage inmates at New York City’s Rikers Island, the second largest jail facility in the U.S. The report, a product of a two-and-a-half-year investigation by the Justice Department, describes …


Russell Simmons And LL Cool J Reunite To Launch Anti-Violence Initiative 

Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons and actor LL Cool J returned to their Queens roots to help curb crime in a “consistently” violent housing complex in Jamaica. The pair also visited Rikers Island to encourage incarcerated youngsters … 


Opinion: Rev. Sharpton Rips de Blasio, Bratton As They Deflect Blame Over Eric Garner Death After Chokehold

Rev. Al Sharpton channeled the anger in the city over the death of Eric Garner following an NYPD chokehold: ‘If Dante wasn’t your son, he would be a candidate for a chokehold.’ Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said it was time to …


Opinion: Is “Broken Windows”” Broken? Yes!

It subjects minority and poor New Yorkers to harassment for no good reason …

Opinion: Is “”Broken Windows”” Broken? No!

It’s a vital, proven policy that is helping save lives …


Interview: William Bratton On Being New York’s Policeman

New York’s police commissioner on the challenges of his job and a racially tinged controversy …


Chokehold Death: Now a Grand Jury?

The official ruling that a police officer’s chokehold caused, in part, the death of a Staten Island man will likely force the district attorney to impanel a grand jury to determine if criminal charges should be filed, prosecutors and defense attorneys said.


Man Who Shot NYPD Chokehold Video Arrested

The Staten Island man who took video of New York police officers forcibly arresting
another man who later died was himself arrested over the weekend, the NYPD says.


Once Leader Of Outcry, de Blasio Is Now Trying To Quell It

Mayor Bill de Blasio barreled into City Hall as a fierce critic of the New York Police Department, leading rallies against the use of the stop-and-frisk tactic and urging …


Difficult Decisions Ahead In Responding To Police Chokehold Homicide

For two weeks after the death of a Staten Island man in police custody, frustration simmered as the city awaited the results of the autopsy. The mayor offered sympathy. The
police promised better training. But now …


Opinion: When Should Cops Use Force?

t want to go to jail? Most arrests happen without a problem. Police order a guy to put his hands behind his back. s that. But sometimes …


Lancman On Chokeholds, NYPD: “Going To See A Whole Series Of Bills”

ʺWe’re introducing both,ʺ Council Member Rory Lancman said of two bills aimed at stopping the use of chokeholds by members of the NYPD …


Christie Urges Bail Reform In New Jersey 

Republican Gov. Chris Christie called on New Jersey’s Democratic-controlled state legislature to pass a series of bail reform proposals, saying the current system creates a ʺdebtor’s prisonʺ for poor people …


2016 Contenders Are Lining Up Behind Sentencing Reform — Except This One Tea Partier

Sen. Marco Rubio hasn’t hammered out a firm position on mandatory minimum sentencing laws yet. A year ago, that would have been perfectly normal for …


California Prison Officials Rethink Use Of Force On Mentally Ill Inmates

California prison officials have proposed new policies regarding the use of force after videos of prison guards dousing mentally ill prisoners with pepper spray surfaced during a civil trial last year … 


California Prisons Propose Reform Of Use Of Force Standards

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation proposed new policies for use of force against mentally ill inmates. The new regulations would require prison guards to consider the mental health status of inmates and their ability to understand …


Jay Z Advocates For Prison Reform Onstage In California

At the Rose Bowl in Los Angeles, Jay Z called for California to support Prop 47, a November ballot initiative. “California, build more schools, less prisons,” he said …


Highlights From “A State In Shackles,” A Conservative Discussion On Alabama’s Prisons

 The Alabama Policy Institute’s ʺA State in Shacklesʺ panel discussion on the state’s prison system stressed the dire need for reform and considered the next steps …


Opinion: As Alabama Eyes Prison Reform, History Can Offer Critical Lessons

 ʺHow many times has the Federal Government had to step in to do what the state of Alabama is supposed to do?ʺ The question came from a …


Deal’s Prison Reforms Dramatically Lowers Black Inmate Population

The number of Georgia’s black prison inmates has significantly lowered since Gov. Nathan Deal instituted sweeping criminal justice reforms, a study finds …


Opinion: Kentucky’s Tradition Of Reforming Nation’s Prisons

Throwing non-violent folks in jail is something we love to do in this country; we did it in the beginning and we still do it today. Once before, a U.S. senator from Kentucky did something about it. Two-hundred years later, another follows in his footsteps …


Opinion: “My Life After Manson”

I vividly remember entering the California Institution for Women for the first time in
2001. As the prison guard slammed the gate behind me, I wondered if I had made
the right decision to …



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