The Fortune Society News Of The Week — the week of September 1, 2014

Friday, September 5, 2014

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


Deportations Don’t Lower Crime Rates, Study Says

Six years after the federal government opened an immigration enforcement program intended to improve public safety, deporting hundreds of thousands of people, many of them convicted criminals, a study has concluded the program …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/04/us/deportations-dont-lower-crime-rates-study-says.html

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Federal Judge Approves CA Plan To Reduce Isolation Of Mentally Ill Inmates

Corrections officials in California will make significant changes in the use of solitary confinement for mentally ill prisoners, revising decades-old policies that have kept thousands of inmates who have psychiatric disorders in isolation …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/30/us/california-plans-to-reduce-isolation-of-mentally-ill-inmates.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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Gabrielle Horowitz-Prisco, Director Of Juvenile Justice Project On Protecting Children

She is the director of a California non-profit that advocates for prison reform. At dinner parties, she talks about children in solitary confinement. “It’s not everyone’s favorite party conversation. But I don’t stop. We need to talk about these things …”

http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/923273-this-is-new-york-gabrielle-horowitz-prisco-director-of-juvenile-justice-project-on-protecting-children/

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Opinion: Why Prison Reform Is Good For All of Us

Often when I write about my work with minors in adult prison, I describe the deplorable conditions and I advocate for reform. Inevitably someone comments I’m “soft on crime,” that I don’t care about victims. But this is how I see it …

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-chura/why-prison-reform-is-good_b_5759702.html?utm_hp_ref=politics

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Opinion: Florida Prison Reforms Are A Good Start

The state Dept. of Corrections has serious problems with the way it treats inmates and needs systemwide reform. Corrections Secretary Mike Crews acknowledged the flaws and detailed sensible changes for the department, including …

http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-florida-prison-reforms-are-a-good-start/2195367

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Opinion: Rethink Sentencing, Parole To Solve Aging, Costly Prison Population

The term “life in prison” is easy enough to understand when it is handed down as a sentence in a courtroom. But after the courtroom drama subsides, Corrections Department officials must face the realities of feeding, housing and caring for …

http://www.postandcourier.com/article/20140902/PC1002/140909953/1022/rethink-sentencing-and-parole-to-solve-aging-costly-prison-population

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Opinion: Are Police Bigoted?

If anything good has come out of this month’s fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, it is that the death of the black teenager shined a spotlight on the plague of shootings of black men by white police officers. And maybe now …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/31/sunday-review/race-and-police-shootings-are-blacks-targeted-more.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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Opinion: Just U.S. – Our Prison Industrial Complex Issues

The prison-industrial complex (PIC) sounds like an innocuous term. But PIC — “the rapid expansion of the inmate population due to the political influence of firms that supply goods/services to prisons” — is more pervasive and disturbing …

http://thyblackman.com/2014/08/29/just-u-s-our-prison-industrial-complex-issues/

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Opinion: Discouraging Employment For Rehabilitated Convicts

I am a former decorated law-enforcement officer from New Jersey. I am also embarrassed to say, I am a convicted felon. Since my release from prison, I have applied for hundreds of entry-level jobs and received no responses …

http://online.wsj.com/articles/discouraging-employment-for-rehabilitated-convicts-letters-to-the-editor-1409346521

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Minister: Prison Record A Serious Barrier To Getting Employment

The Rev. Eddie Via almost cried when his voting card came. After living with a felony record for more than 20 years that banned him from the polls, the Henrico County, Va., minister is looking forward to casting his ballot in the election …

http://www.districtchronicles.com/news/view.php/845285/Minister-prison-record-a-serious-barrier

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Report Blames Coal Ash For Cancers At Pennsylvania Prison

A high rate of cancer among inmates at a Pennsylvania prison is linked to a nearby coal ash dump, and the correctional facility should be closed down, says a report. Eleven prisoners died of cancer from 2010 through 2013, and six others …

http://news.yahoo.com/report-blames-coal-ash-cancers-pennsylvania-prison-181218700.html

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Attica Uprising Items Being Sent Back To Families

Hundreds of personal items from the 1971 Attica prison uprising — including blood-caked clothing, letters, and watches — are being returned to family members after a contentious 43-year struggle. The items were picked up from the bullet-pocked …

http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Attica-uprising-items-being-sent-back-to-families-5720072.php?t=411c4e52a7

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MDOC Wants New Private Prison Contracts

The Mississippi Department of Corrections is ending its contracts with a Utah-based private prison firm to operate four state penitentiaries and rebidding the work after determining that more security staff is needed for effective security …

http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/news/2014/sep/03/mdoc-wants-new-private-prison-contracts/

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“Orange Is The New Black” Author Joins Fight To Finish Prison Renovations

The author of “Orange Is The New Black” has become a well-recognized face of prison reform and is putting her clout behind a push to speed up renovations at the women’s prison in Danbury, CT. Fixes were supposed to take 18 months but …

http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local/Orange-Is-the-New-Black-Author-Joins-Fight-to-Finish-Prison-Renovations-273788971.html

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A Prisoner’s Beard Offers The Next Test Of Religious Liberty For The Supreme Court

When the Supreme Court comes back from summer break, it will pick up where it left off, returning to the subject of religious freedom. The new case concerns whether prison officials may prohibit Muslim inmates from …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/03/us/beards-in-prison-hold-next-religion-test-for-supreme-court.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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Opinion: A New Prison Equation

THE PLOT: The state signs a new deal to bring feature films to prisons.

THE SUBTEXT: Why is this OK, but educating prisoners is not?

Quick quiz: Which is the better path to a productive life — watching movies or going to school? If you think that’s a no-brainer, you must not be following …

http://www.timesunion.com/opinion/article/Editorial-A-new-prison-equation-5729112.php?t=31b5148dde

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