The Fortune Society News Of The Week- the week of August 18, 2014

Friday, August 22, 2014

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


Felony Assaults Up By Almost 60% In City Jails

Joanne Page, president/CEO at The Fortune Society, says the rising percentage of mentally ill inmates at Rikers and inexperienced correction officers may be behind the increase in assault. “What we’re really seeing is an escalation of …

http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20140819/hunts-point/felony-assaults-up-by-almost-60-percent-city-jails-stats-show

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Not Just Back To School, Back To Life

Unlike most students, these men and women are studying every day this summer, because, unlike most students, the class is made up entirely of formerly incarcerated individuals. The Fortune Society, where they’re being taught, is …

http://www.qchron.com/editions/western/not-just-back-to-school-back-to-life/article_e78f581b-8af0-5589-a4c8-578a23779f24.html

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N.Y. Rally To Include Protests Over Shooting In Ferguson, MO

A Staten Island rally for a man who died in an apparent police chokehold will include protests over the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Missouri, march organizers said, as civil-rights leaders have begun linking the two deaths …

http://online.wsj.com/articles/staten-island-rally-to-include-protests-over-shooting-in-ferguson-mo-1408326192

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Opinion: Ferguson, Watts And A Dream Deferred

When rioting broke out in the Watts section of Los Angeles in the summer of 1965,
African-Americans didn’t — couldn’t — know it yet, but the next three decades would turn out to be a period of sustained gains in terms of income, jobs, and …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/20/opinion/thomas-edsall-ferguson-watts-and-a-dream-deferred.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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Opinion: Ferguson And America’s Racial Fears

Michael Brown’s death should prompt blacks and whites to examine the causes of racial mistrust. Black people all over the nation fear the violent, dysfunctional behavior that has made murder the No. 1 cause of death for black males …

http://online.wsj.com/articles/juan-williams-ferguson-and-americas-racial-fears-1408490310

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Ferguson Images Evoke Civil Rights Era And Changing Visual Perceptions

Danny Lyon, one of the photographers whose work came to define the civil rights upheaval in the South in the 1960s, said he was struck when he saw a news image from the racially torn suburb of Ferguson, Mo., showing four police officers …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/15/us/ferguson-images-evoke-civil-rights-era-and-changing-visual-perceptions.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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Opinion: Frustration In Ferguson

The response to the killing of the unarmed teenager Michael Brown — whom his family called the “gentle giant” — by the Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson — who was described as “a gentle, quiet man” and “a gentleman” …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/18/opinion/charles-m-blow-frustration-in-ferguson.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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Opinion: Playing Soldier In The Suburbs

To understand what’s been happening in Ferguson, Mo., where protests and violence following a cop’s shooting of an unarmed teenager summoned up a police response that looked more like a military invasion, it helps to flash back to …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/17/opinion/sunday/ross-douthat-playing-soldier-in-the-suburbs.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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Congress Goes After Police

Lawmakers are targeting police with new and old pieces of legislation in the wake of riots sparked by the killing by a police officer of an unarmed teenager. Much of the focus is on the heavy military equipment many local police have received …

http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/215300-congress-goes-after-police

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Officials Call For End To Solitary Confinement At Rikers Island

A group of local elected officials plan to introduce two pieces of legislation that they hope will end the New York City Department of Correction’s  use of solitary confinement. The planned bills is an attempt to …

http://blogs.wsj.com/metropolis/2014/08/18/officials-call-for-end-to-solitary-confinement-at-rikers-island/

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NYC Officials, Advocates Push For Change To Rikers’ “Culture Of Brutality” 

They gathered at City Hall to demand an end to the “culture of brutality” on Rikers Island, the nation’s second biggest jail. One previously incarcerated advocate who spoke at the event described Rikers as “worse than Dante’s Inferno” …

http://solitarywatch.com/2014/08/20/new-york-city-officials-and-advocates-push-for-change-to-the-culture-of-brutality-on-rikers-island/

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Bill To Change Rikers Island Prosecutor Is Challenged

A bill championed by New York City corrections officers to have Queens County, not  Bronx County, prosecute crimes committed on Rikers Island has been denounced by major players in the criminal justice system …

http://www.newyorklawjournal.com/id=1202667363645/Bill-to-Change-Rikers-Island-Prosecutor-Is-Challenged#ixzz3AwG1woQt

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City Council Will Try To Reform Solitary Confinement At Rikers

The city council is expected to pass two pieces of legislation aimed at improving the treatment of inmates and solitary confinement at Rikers Island. In advance of the vote, a coalition of activists held a press conference to speak on the inhumane …

http://gothamist.com/2014/08/19/the_fight_to_end_solitary_confineme.php

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Injury Claims Against New York’s Correction Dept. Doubled In 5 Years

Personal-injury claims against the New York City Department of Correction have more than doubled in five years, a significant jump that has coincided with a rise in violence at Rikers Island, according to a report by the city comptroller’s office …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/20/nyregion/injury-claims-against-new-yorks-correction-dept-doubled-in-5-years-report-says.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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Grand Jury To Take Up Death Linked To Police Chokehold In Staten Island

Amid weeks of protests and calls for federal intervention, the Staten Island DA said he would open a grand jury investigation into the death of an unarmed black man during an arrest, a process that could lead to indictments of the police …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/20/nyregion/eric-garner-staten-island-police-chokehold-case-to-go-to-grand-jury.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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Only A Fraction Of “Arrest Resisters” Are Prosecuted

The NYPD makes roughly 13,500 busts a year for resisting arrest — but only a fraction ever get prosecuted, leaving criminals to think they can get away with battling cops. “There is no legal consequence, and a lot of guys know it …

http://nypost.com/2014/08/15/too-few-resisting-arrest-suspects-are-prosecuted-nypd-official/

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Bratton Says Gun Violence Remains Low

New York Police Commissioner William Bratton said that gun violence is at a historically low level and that the majority of shooting incidents are in the same areas that have been hot spots for decades …

http://online.wsj.com/articles/bratton-says-gun-violence-remains-low-1408412986

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The Mayor’s Empty “Anti-Violence” Plan

Mayor de Blasio just rolled out a $13 million, “evidence-based” plan to stop the wave of shootings around the city by hiring ex-gangbangers and felons to be “violence interrupters.” One problem: The “evidence” doesn’t exist …

http://nypost.com/2014/08/18/the-mayors-empty-anti-violence-plan/

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 2 Killed And Dozen Are Injured As Weekend Shootings Plague New York

The shootings followed a familiar pattern, erupting at outdoor gatherings and corner hangouts, in pockets of New York City long plagued by weekend violence that the Police Department has struggled to control …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/18/nyregion/2-killed-and-dozen-are-injured-as-weekend-shootings-plague-new-york.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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NYPD Stop-And-Frisks Drop 99% In Brooklyn While Shootings Increase In Brownsville, East New York

The 99% stop-and-frisk decrease in East New York and Brownsville comes as shootings in the Brooklyn neighborhoods are on the rise. Cutting back on stop-and-frisk, a hallmark of the Bloomberg administration, was one of Mayor de Blasio’s …

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/nypd-stop-and-frisks-drop-99-percent-shootings-increase-brooklyn-article-1.1905456

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Opinion: The Mayor, The Cops And The Chorus Of Outrage

Former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani made one of his periodic unwelcome reappearances the other day, offering his advice to Mayor Bill de Blasio on the death of Eric Garner, the unarmed black man killed by the police on …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/18/opinion/the-mayor-the-police-and-eric-garner.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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Local Police Involved In 400 Killings Per Year

Nearly two times a week in the United States, a white police officer killed a black person during a seven-year period ending in 2012, according to the most recent accounts of justifiable homicide reported to the FBI. On average there were 96 …

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/08/14/police-killings-data/14060357/

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Arrests For Transit Fare Evasion Surge In Recent Years, Putting It Among City’s Top Offenses Leading To Jail

Fare-beating arrests have increased 69% — from 14,681 in 2008 to 24,747 in 2013 — and are on pace to be slightly higher this year. Nearly 37,500 have gotten sentences for the $2.50 crime that involved incarceration, and 1,802 …

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/fare-evasion-arrests-surge-years-article-1.1906667

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Opinion: Charged As Adults, Children Abandoned When They Could Be Saved

A tragedy has taken place with a 12-year-old boy accused of killing his 9-year-old companion. The decision to try such cases in adult court raises two questions — first, is this a reasonable course of action when the defendant is just a child …

http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2014/08/18/young-souls-dark-deeds/charged-as-adults-children-are-abandoned-when-they-could-be-saved

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3 Urban Farms Provide The Formerly Incarcerated An Opportunity To Grow

You can’t argue with the benefits of urban farming. While most of these farms focus exclusively on the sprouting fruits and vegetables, a few are looking to grow better lives for a group that is commonly forgotten: former prisoners and at-risk youths …

http://nationswell.com/urban-farming-help-ex-inmates-at-risk-youth/

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Opinion: N.J. Bail Reform Law Ends Unfair, Expensive Debtors’ Prison

New Jersey has taken two giant steps toward a more equitable criminal justice system that, over the years, has been manipulated by the wealthy and powerful at the expense of those without influence or ready cash …

http://www.nj.com/opinion/index.ssf/2014/08/editorial_nj_bail_reform_law_ends_unfair_expensive_debtors_prison.html

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California Health Department Opposes Bill To Help Formerly Incarcerated People Access Jobs

People with criminal records often face a steep uphill battle when trying to find employment after incarceration. Securing stable, living-wage jobs can be particularly difficult for this population, which is why civil rights advocates …

http://www.eastbayexpress.com/SevenDays/archives/2014/08/14/california-health-department-opposes-bill-to-help-formerly-incarcerated-people-access-jobs

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Los Angeles To Reduce Arrest Rate In Schools

After years of arresting students for on-campus fights and damaging school property, Los Angeles school officials are adopting new policies to reduce the number of students who are disciplined in the juvenile court system …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/19/us/los-angeles-to-reduce-arrest-rate-in-schools.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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City Council Seeks Solutions To Avoid Another Shooting Of Innocent Resident

The City Council questioned personnel from the LA County Sheriff’s and probation offices during a meeting about the release of parolees in the city. Under the recent state law, AB 109 , which allows low-level felons to serve time in …

http://www.whittierdailynews.com/government-and-politics/20140813/pico-rivera-city-council-seeks-solutions-to-avoid-another-fatal-shooting-of-innocent-resident

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Opinion: Our State’s Prison Woes 

Every time we think the news can’t get any worse about Alabama’s prison system, it does. Our state’s prison system now faces its worst outbreak of tuberculosis in five years. As of last Thursday, nine cases had been diagnosed in state prisons …

http://www.oanow.com/news/auburn/article_2329db5c-2813-11e4-a7b2-0017a43b2370.html

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Durbin Sparks Backlash After Praising Prison As Job-Creator

Sen. Dick Durbin has spoken out time and again on the floor of the Capitol in Washington about the injustice of a criminal justice system that has filled America’s jails and prisons with more than 2 million people. But at home …

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/20/dick-durbin-prison_n_5696072.html

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 Opinion: Reform Michigan Corrections Guidelines

Michigan spends more money on corrections than on higher education — about $2
billion annually, or $35,000 per prisoner. It’s one of just a few states that continues to spend so much, despite data over the past several years that shows …

http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140821/OPINION01/308210008/Reform-Michigan-corrections-guidelines

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Opinion: Alabama Should Jettison Failed Policies And Fear-Mongering And Embrace Prison

In his article cautioning against reform of Alabama’s prison system, Sen. Scott Beason gets one thing right: Prisons are a tool to serve society by punishing offenders and keeping citizens safe from crime. But then he engages in …

http://www.al.com/opinion/index.ssf/2014/08/alabama_should_jettison_failed.html

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Hassebrook Outlines Prison Reform Plan

Nebraska Democratic gubernatorial nominee Chuck Hassebrook said he would use the statutory authority granted to the governor to take away good-time sentence reductions automatically provided to inmates when they break prison rules …

http://journalstar.com/news/state-and-regional/hassebrook-outlines-prison-reform-plan/article_83057a9a-9136-57b2-85c5-0c4b2b27bfb9.html

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Vermont Grapples With Aging Prisons As It Seeks To Rehabilitate Inmates

With Vermont’s prison facilities aging, lawmakers are beginning to grapple with whether to build new or patch up the old. The state Department of Buildings and General Services shared data with a legislative committee on …

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/17/vermont-aging-prisons_n_5685563.html

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Church Coalition Extends Calls For Prison Reform

A coalition of church congregations is launching a second phase in its campaign calling for reforms within the Wisconsin Department of Corrections. About 100 people rallied alleging that GPS monitoring has resulted in false alerts due to …

http://fox11online.com/2014/08/20/church-coalition-extends-calls-for-prison-reform/

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 Utah Tackles Recidivism Rates, Prison Growth

Utah recently became the 25th state to embark on a corrections and sentencing reform campaign aimed at improving rehabilitation and reducing recidivism and prison construction. Gov. Gary Herbert announced the state will continue  …

http://www.correctionalnews.com/articles/2014/08/20/utah-tackles-recidivism-rates-prison-growth

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Thousands Return To Prison Without Committing New Crimes

More than 100 faith leaders and prison reform advocates rallied outside the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility to urge the state to fix a system they say lands nearly 4,000 parolees in prison each year because of “technical violations” …

http://www.governing.com/news/headlines/mct-wisconsin-parolees.html

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Opinion: Future Legislators — Help Keep Kids In School And Out Of Prison

We have the sixth-highest rate of incarceration in the country, and our massive prison industrial complex costs taxpayers over $1 billion each year. Aside from state-run prisons, taxpayers must also support the …

http://azcapitoltimes.com/news/2014/08/14/to-future-legislators-help-keep-kids-in-school-and-out-of-prison/

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Opinion: It’s Time To Overhaul Clemency

On Jan. 20, 2009, in his last moments as president, George W. Bush gave Barack Obama a hard-earned bit of wisdom: whatever you do, pick a pardon policy and stick with it. It was sage advice, yet, more than five years later, President Obama …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/19/opinion/its-time-to-overhaul-clemency.html

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As Arrest Records Rise, Americans Find Consequences Can Last A Lifetime

Even if charges were dropped, a lingering arrest record can ruin chances of a job. Over the past 20 years, authorities have made more than a quarter of a billion arrests. As a result, the FBI has 77.7 million names on file — nearly 1 out of …

http://online.wsj.com/articles/as-arrest-records-rise-americans-find-consequences-can-last-a-lifetime-1408415402

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Home Hopes To Give Formerly Incarcerated Women A Second Chance

In just two weeks, a home in Dothan, AL will open its doors to help give formerly incarcerated women a second chance. Kindra Trawick, who will serve as the night manager, knows firsthand how incarceration can impact a family …

http://www.wsfa.com/story/26311183/genesis-ii-home-hopes-to-give-formally-incarcerated-women-a-second-chance

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