The Fortune Society News Of The Week — the week of October 13, 2014

Friday, October 17, 2014

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


Obama To Nominate ACLU Lawyer To Lead Justice Dept.’s Civil Rights Div.

President Obama plans to nominate a top lawyer from the ACLU to head the civil rights division of the Justice Dept. which oversees civil rights investigations, including the one opened on the fatal shooting of an 18-year-old by a Ferguson …

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/obama-to-nominate-aclu-lawyer-to-lead-justice-departments-civil-rights-division/2014/10/15/3630985e-5472-11e4-892e-602188e70e9c_story.html

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Here’s What It’s Like For People Trying To Find A Job After They’re Released From Prison

In the four years since he was released, Richard Cobbs has applied to more than 75 jobs and gone on at least 10 or 15 interviews. Employers tell him the interviews were great, but then things go down the drain. Living at The Fortune Society …

http://www.businessinsider.com/getting-a-job-after-prison-2014-10

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Gov. Cuomo Announces Task Force To Develop Plan To End AIDS Epidemic

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced members of a task force that will work to implement the plan to end the AIDS epidemic in New York. The task force will support the effort to reduce the number of new HIV infections to 750 per year by …

http://www.governor.ny.gov/press/10142014-AIDStaskforce

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Opinion: New York’s Jails Need Federal Oversight

New York City has failed for so long to control the corruption and brutality in its jail system that it’s fair to ask whether it will ever do so. The Justice Department is wholly justified in threatening to sue the city if Mayor  de Blasio does not …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/10/opinion/new-yorks-jails-need-federal-oversight.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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Police Stops Erode Support From New York Residents

A large-scale survey of NYC residents found the more times a person is stopped by an officer, their favorable view of law-enforcement plummets. The survey of 17,340 residents also found that 24% of respondents reported being stopped at least …

http://online.wsj.com/articles/police-stops-erode-support-from-new-york-residents-1412989274

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Banning Chokeholds — Simple Rule: Don’t Touch The Neck

The Civilian Complaint Review Board and the NYPD are moving to both clarify the definition of a banned chokehold and to reinforce that cops may use the maneuver only in life-threatening circumstances. Both steps are necessary and …

http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/editorial-banning-chokeholds-article-1.1969389

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Two Brooklyn Murder Convictions From 1986 Are Vacated

Two men who were sent to prison nearly 30 years ago had their convictions for murder and kidnapping vacated, capping a long campaign to clear them. The men were both 16 when they were convicted in 1986 of forcing a 20-year-old man …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/16/nyregion/brooklyn-district-attorney-and-murder-charges-for-2-men.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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Union Gets Vocal On Harsh Prison Sentencing: “It’s A Labor Issue”

Mass incarceration is “a labor issue,” says the nation’s largest federation of labor unions, and unions need to join other progressives in pressing for reform. “Millions of people work jobs in prisons for pennies an hour — a world of coerced labor …

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/10/unions-prison-reform_n_5966612.html

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Race And Death In Police Shootings

The death of Michael Brown, a black 18-year-old from Ferguson, MO, raised fresh questions about how often black males die at the hands of the police and whether or not death rates differ by race. An analysis of a grim report shows that …

http://takingnote.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/10/10/whos-killing-all-those-black-men-and-boys/?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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Sunday Sit-down: Bernie Kerick

“The loss of your freedom is beyond anything you can comprehend,” says Bernie Kerick, ex-NYC Police commissioner after three years in prison. “For someone who doesn’t know about prison, daily life is degrading, demoralizing, and ….

http://www.telegram.com/article/20141012/NEWS/310129925/-1/NEWS05

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Former NY Times Executive Editor Says Our Courts, Prisons Are Failing Us

Bill Keller, former executive editor of the NY Times, discusses the “pressing national need for excellent journalism about the U.S. court and prison systems” and his belief that the time has come to launch a national conversation on how to …

http://nationswell.com/marshall-project-editor-in-chief-bill-keller-wants-to-talk-about-reforming-criminal-justice-system/#

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Opinion: In Interrogations, Teenagers Are Too Young To Know Better

Even when police interrogators left the room, cameras kept recording the teenage suspects. Some paced. Several curled up and slept. What none did, however, was exercise his constitutional rights. It wasn’t clear whether the youths even …

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/10/13/in-interrogations-teenagers-are-too-young-to-know-better/?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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“You Have The Right To Remain Silent.” Or Do You?

For decades, TV shows like Law And Order have told us: “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” But the truth is, it’s not that simple. New court decisions have chipped away at …

http://www.npr.org/2014/10/05/353893046/you-have-the-right-to-remain-silent-or-do-you?utm_source=npr_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=20141012&utm_campaign=mostemailed&utm_term=nprnews

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Mumia Spurs Bill To Block Publicity-Seeking Criminals

A day after Mumia Abu-Jamal addressed graduates of a Vermont college, a House committee advanced a bill to give the family of the officer he was convicted of killing a way to shut him up. The bill, believed to be the first of its kind, would let …

http://articles.philly.com/2014-10-08/news/54742444_1_crime-victims-house-committee-vereb

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Arizona Agrees To Improve Prison Conditions In Settlement With ACLU

Arizona agreed to improve prison conditions in a settlement of a class-action lawsuit brought by the ACLU.  The state DOC will take more than 100 measures to change its practices on providing prisoners with medical and …

http://online.wsj.com/articles/arizona-agrees-to-improve-prison-conditions-in-settlement-with-aclu-1413317034

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New Programs Aim To Help Alabamians Reenter Communities, Prevent Arrests After Release From Prison 

With a recently awarded $687,176 federal grant, Alabamians released from prison could get more help transitioning back into their communities, and officials hope to decrease the likelihood they will commit new crimes. From 10,000 to …

http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2014/10/new_programs_aim_to_help_alaba.html

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Firm To File Suit Against Ala. Prisons For Violence

In 2012, a shackled inmate was punched in the head, face, and ear, and stomped on by a correctional officer, says a federal lawsuit against the Alabama Dept. of Corrections. “This is what I do to a [N-word] that tries to tell me …

http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/story/news/2014/10/13/firm-to-file-suit-against-alaprisons-for-violence/17219411/

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Opinion: What’s Wrong With This Sentence? Time To Reform Drug-Offense Punishments

For decades, the conventional political wisdom has been that officeholders supporting reduced prison penalties face almost certain defeat at the next election. However, there are some encouraging signs that officials are starting to …

http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20141013/OPINION/141019952/whats-wrong-with-this-sentence-time-to-reform-drug-offense

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Opinion: Pennsylvania’s Addiction To Prison-Building A Moral, Economic Disaster

With other states finally making some progress, prison reform in Pennsylvania has stagnated. Whereas both Michigan and Texas have been able to close prisons in recent years, Pennsylvania has overseen the building of three new prisons and …

http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2014/10/guest_column_pennsylvanias_add.html

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Oregon Spends Millions On Innovative Court Programs. Are We Sure They Work?

START Court is a treatment program aimed at addicts with a penchant for theft. But, for skeptical Oregon prosecutors, an uncomfortable question hangs over those good feelings — are START and the scads of costly programs like it actually …

http://www.portlandmercury.com/portland/the-burden-of-proof/Content?oid=13809645

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Opinion: Connecticut Prison Reforms Needed — Morally And Financially

The country’s 40-year war on the use of illegal drugs hasn’t made the country safer, but instead has produced a mass incarceration of its citizens that is financially burdensome, socially destructive, and cries out for effective and humane reform …

http://www.ctpost.com/opinion/article/Connecticut-prison-reforms-needed-morally-and-5820054.php

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 Opinion: Time To Bring Our Prisoners Closer To Home

Vermont sends prisoners to for-profit prisons in Kentucky, a policy that undermines family support and a prisoner’s successful re-entry. It’s in everyone’s interest to look at alternatives that work better …

http://www.commonsnews.org/site/site05/story.php?articleno=10822&page=1#.VD7IThvD_cs

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Cities Look For Ways To Get Free Of Empty Jails

Faced with projections of rising crime, residents of Multnomah County, OR, voted in 1996 to build a jail to contain hundreds of future inmates. By the time the cavernous structure was completed, crime had fallen, leaving an empty jail that cost …

http://online.wsj.com/articles/cities-look-for-ways-to-get-free-of-empty-jails-1413313213

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AROUND THE GLOBE:
Trinidad Judge: Guards Should Pay

A high court judge in Trinidad called for prison officers to be made to pay part or full award of damages to inmates who have been beaten by officers while incarcerated. “The time has come for the state to stop abdicating its responsibilities …

http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/Judge-Guards-should-pay-279224842.html

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