The Fortune Society News Of The Week — the week of September 15, 2014

Friday, September 19, 2014

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


Fortune Society To Receive Community Service Award

The NY Society For Ethical Culture will present The Fortune Society with the Frank B. Prescod Community Service Award on Oct. 25, an honor periodically presented to individuals and institutions that have improved the lives …

http://www.nysec.org/comm-service-award-10-25-14

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White House Meets With Formerly Incarcerated Citizens

Eleven formerly incarcerated citizens met with White House officials to discuss policy recommendations for returning citizens. Their requests included restoring the right to vote and prohibiting discrimination in the housing and job markets …

http://www.ebony.com/black-listed/news-views/white-house-meets-with-formerly-incarcerated-citizens-981#.VBid5hvD_cs

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Chokehold Complaints Have Been Undercounted

NYC’s police review board found more chokehold complaints after discovering it had misclassified some. From 2009 through June, the board resolved 1,128 chokehold complaints. But now, dozens more allegations will be investigated …

http://online.wsj.com/articles/chokehold-complaints-against-new-york-police-have-been-undercounted-1410484430

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Cardinal Dolan Hosts Meeting For Religious Leaders: “We Shouldn’t Have To Wait For The Eruption Of A Volcano”

The city’s religious leaders don’t want to wait for another crisis like Eric Garner’s death to bring them together. Cardinal Timothy Dolan hosted a breakfast meeting at his Midtown mansion as a follow up to a summit with …

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/cardinal-dolan-hosts-meeting-religious-leaders-city-article-1.1940177

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This Is The Face Of Broken Windows

An analysis of court records shows that, except for the tragic outcome, the arrest of Eric Garner would have been a routine affair for Daniel Pantaleo, an officer who spent his career aggressively policing minor crimes in a lower income, largely …

http://www.wnyc.org/story/face-broken-windows/

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De Blasio Administration Touts Reduced Crime In Public Housing

The de Blasio administration rolled out statistics it claimed showed that its $210.5 million investment in anti-crime measures in NYC Housing Authority buildings was already paying off. City officials said a 14.4% reduction in crime …

http://observer.com/2014/09/de-blasio-administration-touts-reduced-crime-in-public-housing/

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Don’t Look Now, But The U.S. Prison Population Is Growing Again

1,574,741 people were incarcerated in 2013, up from  1,570,397 in 2012 — an increase of just .3%. But after four years of decline — and a growing consensus the U.S. needs to trim incarceration — what’s noteworthy is that it’s increasing at all …

http://www.vox.com/2014/9/16/6231237/how-many-prisoners-2013-federal-state-mass-incarceration

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The U.S. Has The Largest Prison Population In The World — And It’s Growing

Both in raw numbers and by percentage of the population, the U.S. has the most prisoners of any developed country in the world — and it has the largest total prison population of any nation. That didn’t change in 2013. After several years …

http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2014/09/17/3568232/the-united-states-had-even-more-prisoners-in-2013/

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20 Years Later, Parts Of Major Crime Bill Viewed As Terrible Mistake

Researchers, including a National Academy of Sciences panel, found only a modest relationship between incarceration and lower crime rates. “We know we made some terrible mistakes, including ramping up the use of prison …”

http://www.npr.org/2014/09/12/347736999/20-years-later-major-crime-bill-viewed-as-terrible-mistake

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CBO: Drug Sentencing Reform Saves $4B

Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) say their bill to reform nonviolent drug sentencing would reduce prison costs by more than $4 billion. “Making smart reforms to our drug sentencing laws will save the taxpayers billions …

http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/217725-cbo-drug-sentencing-reform-saves-4b

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Prosecutors Unite Nationwide To Fight Gun Violence

Top prosecutors in the nation’s two largest cities are rallying their colleagues across the country in a unique coalition to curb gun violence. They have already enlisted 23 prosecutors from major jurisdictions nationwide to join …

http://m.apnews.com/ap/db_268748/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=K8ASlsxq

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The Assault Weapon Myth

The majority of Americans have coalesced behind a single proposition: The sale of assault weapons should be banned. But it turns out big, scary military rifles don’t kill the majority of Americans murdered with guns. Little handguns do …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/14/sunday-review/the-assault-weapon-myth.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad&_r=0

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Prison Firm CCA Seeks To Reduce Number Of Repeat Offenders

The nation’s largest private prison company is shifting its focus toward helping release more inmates and keep them out — a reaction to changing policies around the country on the severity of criminal punishment …

http://online.wsj.com/articles/prison-firm-cca-seeks-to-reduce-number-of-repeat-offenders-1410561176

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These States Cut Incarceration Rates — And Still Had A Decline In Crime

Incarceration rates have risen steeply in the United States over the last 20 years, a period of time that also covers a precipitous decline in crime. These two facts don’t necessarily mean that the one trend has driven the other …

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/09/12/these-states-cut-their-incarceration-rates-and-still-had-a-decline-in-crime/

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Opinion: Disabled People Are Being Held In Jails For Years Without Trials

A detailed investigation explored cases of disabled inmates who had been waiting for years in the penal system without receiving trials. Inmates have been ruled incapable of assisting their defense, which for reasons known only to …

http://www.care2.com/causes/disabled-people-are-being-held-in-jails-for-years-without-trials.html

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North Carolina Cuts Prison Time For Probation Violators, And Costs

André Duckett had an unpleasant surprise when he came in to see his probation officer. He was going to spend the next three days in jail. He was dismayed but, in the end, he was grateful that his violations had provoked only this sharp jolt …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/12/us/north-carolina-cuts-jail-time-for-probation-violators-and-costs.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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Wyoming Lawmakers Look At Prison, Judicial Reforms

State lawmakers plan to explore options to curb the growth of Wyoming’s prison population and its impact on the state budget. The Joint Judiciary Interim Committee agreed to ask legislative leaders for a study that would look at …

http://www.wyomingnews.com/articles/2014/09/16/news/19local_09-16-14.txt#.VBhWkRvD_cs

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Opinion: Alabama’s Leaders Can Reform Prisons Now Or Lose Control Waiting For Political Cover

According to the latest report from the Alabama Dept. of Corrections, Alabama’s prison system currently holds almost 190% of its designed capacity. Combined with prison staffing issues, Alabama’s prison problems are clear. Unfortunately …

http://www.al.com/opinion/index.ssf/2014/09/alabamas_leaders_can_reform_pr.html

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Opinion: The System Needs Fixing, And It Needs To Be Done Right

How should Nebraska cut its prison population? The obvious answer is for Nebraskans to commit fewer crimes. While that’s actually happening, the prison system still holds 57% more inmates than it’s designed for. That’s because of …

http://www.starherald.com/opinion/opinion-prisons/article_99f8f146-3d3f-11e4-8b9b-ffd2d4e86608.html

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Effects On Families Another Reason To Embrace Corrections Reform

The debate over Oklahoma’s corrections policy generally focuses on how the state’s tough-on-crime approach has left its prisons crammed with men and women who are monitored by outmanned, overworked guards. It’s a costly …

http://newsok.com/effects-on-oklahoma-families-another-reason-to-embrace-corrections-reform/article/5341040

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Lancman Named Chairman of New Committee On Courts, Legal Services

The NYC Council has formed the Committee on Courts and Legal Services, a new committee that will allow the City Council greater oversight of NYC’s legal system. Queens Council Member Rory Lancman was appointed to serve as chairman …

http://jpupdates.com/2014/09/11/nyc-council-rorylancman-appointed-chairman-new-committee-courts-legal-services/

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Can We Be Optimistic With Millions Behind Bars?

Should we be optimistic about the criminal justice and prison systems in America? This was the question Tim Golden, The Marshall Project’s managing editor for investigations and news, posed to open a Zócalo/California Endowment panel …

http://www.publicceo.com/2014/09/can-we-be-optimistic-with-millions-behind-bars/

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Opinion: It’s Time To Restore The Dignity Of The Formerly Incarcerated

Anyone with a conviction history like me faces a constant barrier to being a productive member of society. It is a small typeset box that asks, “Have you ever been convicted by a court?” Checking that box on rental applications, job …

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/26184-its-time-to-restore-the-dignity-of-the-formerly-incarcerated

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Opinion: Reforming Prisons Need Not Be Costly

A commentary indicting inhumane prisons raises the question: Who cares? Apparently the Dept. of Corrections doesn’t, as a visit to any of NY’s maximum-security prisons will reveal. The story has been told over and over, yet …

http://blog.timesunion.com/opinion/reforming-prisons-need-not-be-costly/30716/

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Inmates Aren’t The Only Victims Of The Prison-Industrial Complex

Reform groups tend to focus on the plight of inmates. One is not naturally inclined to feel sympathy for the enforcers in this draconian system. But working in an environment where violence is the norm, guards are victims as much as …

http://www.thenation.com/article/181607/inmates-arent-only-victims-prison-industrial-complex

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Mohaman Koti, 87-Year-Old Prison Inmate, Granted Parole After 36 Years

Last week, Mohaman Koti faced the parole board for the eighth time. He had been in prison since 1978. He was serving a 25-years-to-life sentence. By now he was 87 years old and it seemed that perhaps he would die in prison. But then …

http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2014/09/mohaman_koti_paroles_39th_try_87_years_old.php

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