The Fortune Society News Of The Week — the week of October 20, 2014

Friday, October 24, 2014

 

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


Fortune Society Raises $200K At Fall Benefit

Hundreds of New Yorkers who are deeply committed to justice gathered at the Tribeca Rooftop for the Fortune Society’s 2014 Annual Fall Benefit. The event raised more than $200,000 to support programs that help Fortune’s clients …

http://www.nynp.biz/index.php/breaking-news/22769-fortune-society-raises-200k-at-fall-benefit

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Rikers Jail Costs Soared Despite Fewer Inmates, Comptroller Finds

Even though the inmate population at Rikers Island has fallen to its lowest level in decades, the amount of money spent to run New York City jails soared to a record $1.1 billion in 2014. And yet there appears to have been little improvement with …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/17/nyregion/rikers-jail-costs-soared-despite-fewer-inmates-comptroller-finds.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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Jailhouse Crock: The High Price Of A Broken System

The longest-serving prisoners in NYC jails are the taxpayers. Consider this bill of indictment: The number of inmates dropped by 20% since 2007 while the money spent per inmate rose 42% and the ratio of correction officers to inmates …

http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/editorial-jailhouse-crock-article-1.1978610

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Police Commissioner Bratton: Broken Windows Criticism “Absurd”

Bill Bratton said quality-of-life enforcement is driven by complaints to the 311 hotline, meaning police action is in response to citizen complaints. “We go where help is needed. If the numbers are racially disproportionate, well, that’s reality …

http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2014/10/8554692/bratton-broken-windows-criticism-absurd

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Despite de Blasio’s Promise, Marijuana Arrests Persist In New York

When Bill de Blasio was running for mayor, he noted that marijuana arrests “have disastrous consequences,” and pledged to stop ratcheting up what should be a minor violation into a misdemeanor. Now a report shows that such arrests were …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/22/nyregion/despite-de-blasios-promise-marijuana-arrests-persist.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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Study Connects Police Tactics And Mental Health Concerns

A new study in the American Journal of Public Health suggests there may be a connection between intrusive police practices and mental health. The study found that people who dealt with the police more also reported symptoms of …

http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/study-connects-police-tactics-and-mental-health-concerns

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Mental Health Issues Put 34,500 On New York’s No-Guns List

A new database of New Yorkers deemed too mentally unstable to carry firearms has grown to 34,500 names, a figure that has raised concerns among some mental health advocates that too many people have been categorized as dangerous …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/19/nyregion/mental-reports-put-34500-on-new-yorks-no-guns-list.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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Membership’s Perks, For Immigrants, Too

New York is a couple of months away from expressing its values in a tangible and useful way: with a citywide ID card, available to all residents over age 14, whatever their immigration status. The card will tell everybody its owner is a bona fide …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/21/opinion/memberships-perks-for-immigrants-too.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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Former Rikers Inmate To Sue After Allegedly Beaten, Sodomized By Correction Officer While Handcuffed To Hospital Bed

Bishme Ayers, 25, said he was sexually assaulted by a vengeful officer at Jacobi Hospital after having an epileptic seizure. Ayers suspects the guard came after him in revenge for a 2008 incident in which he complained about jailhouse conditions …

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/exclusive-rikers-inmate-allegedly-sodomized-officer-sue-article-1.1981225

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Report: Autopsy Analysis Shows Michael Brown May Have Gone For Darren Wilson’s Gun

In protests held in Ferguson, MO, some said Michael Brown had his hands up when he was killed by Officer Darren Wilson. But an analysis of Brown’s autopsy suggests the teenager may not have had his hands raised after all …

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/10/22/report-autopsy-analysis-shows-michael-brown-may-have-gone-for-darren-wilsons-gun/?hpid=z2

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“It Tasted Like Freedom”; Wrongfully Convicted Brooklyn Man Begins First Day Of New Life With Mom’s Home Cooking

David McCallum spent his first day as a free man sampling his mom’s food. A dinner of string beans, fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, and potato salad was the first big upgrade for McCallum since he was released after 29 years in prison …

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/wrongfully-convicted-man-starts-new-life-mom-home-cooking-article-1.1977215

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Poll: 77% Of Americans Favor Eliminating Mandatory Minimum Prison Sentences For Nonviolent Offenders; 73% Favor Restoring Voting Rights

Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Rand Paul (R-KY) have teamed up to introduce several bills aimed at reforming the nation’s criminal justice system. The latest poll finds Americans are receptive to several of the proposed reforms …

http://reason.com/blog/2014/10/21/poll-77-of-americans-favor-eliminating-2?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+reason%2FHitandRun+(Reason+Online+-+Hit+%26+Run+Blog)

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“War On Drugs” Is Behind America’s Staggeringly High Female Prison Population

Women make up nearly 9% of the U.S. prison population and about a third of them are serving time for drug offenses. Moreover, with just over 200,000 women behind bars, U.S. prisons incarcerate a third of all female prisoners worldwide …

http://sandiegofreepress.org/2014/10/the-pernicious-war-on-drugs-is-behind-americas-staggeringly-high-female-prison-population/#.VEaANxvD_cs

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Opinion: Tort Reform Is The New Black

It’s no secret the U.S. has a prison problem: huge incarcerated populations, soaring recidivism rates, a disproportionate number of non-white prisoners — the list goes on. But true to form, Washington has made lackluster progress in …

http://www.brownpoliticalreview.org/2014/10/tort-reform-is-the-new-black/

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For More Teens, Arrests By Police Replace School Discipline

A generation ago, children fighting in the corridors or sassing a teacher might have ended up in detention. Today, there’s a good chance they will end up in police custody. In Texas, a student got a misdemeanor for wearing too much perfume …

http://online.wsj.com/articles/for-more-teens-arrests-by-police-replace-school-discipline-1413858602

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You Don’t Have To Be Arrested To Be Caught In The Cycle Of Incarceration: The Families of the Incarcerated

Inmates are only one part of the incarceration cycle. Their children are the other part. The National Family Resource Network estimates that there are at least two million children in the U.S. who have at least one incarcerated parent …

https://chronicleofsocialchange.org/opinion/you-dont-have-to-be-arrested-to-be-caught-in-the-cycle-of-incarceration-the-families-of-the-incarcerated/8331

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Democrats And Republicans Unite In Calls To Rebuild Brutal U.S. Penal System

Prof. Glenn Loury, a social economist at Brown University, is cautiously optimistic that attitudes to imprisonment are softening. “Even political conservatives like Newt Gingrich and the libertarian senator Rand Paul have begun to speak out against …

http://www.economywatch.com/features/Democrats-and-Republicans-unite-in-calls-to-rebuild-brutal-US-penal-system.10-22-14.html

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As Prison Populations Rise Nationwide, Alabama And Other States Tackle Reform

A national group helping Alabama tackle prison reform is working to reduce prison overcrowding in Nebraska and Tennessee. The Council of State Governments Justice Center issued a report stating that Nebraska can reduce its …

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

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Sentencing Reform Has Slowed, Not Stopped, Inmate Growth

It’s no secret Alabama has some of the most complicated criminal justice laws in the country. The state’s sentencing structure has a huge impact on the prison population, which is 190% the capacity it was designed for. A panel is now …

http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/story/news/2014/10/19/sentencing-reform-has-slowed-not-stopped-inmate-growth/17530207/

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Opinion: Why Alabama Can’t Pull A California And Wait For The Feds To Force Prison Reform

Alabama’s prison overcrowding is such a hot topic because of the recent federal intervention in California. Alabama’s prisons have hovered around 200% capacity for years, but California’s situation and a declaration of unconstitutional …

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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Opinion: Lawyer’s Book Says Conn. Should Slash Prison Population

It’s not every day that Texas is pointed out as a paragon for prison reform. But the author of a new book calling for a mass overhaul of Connecticut’s criminal justice system says that Connecticut should adopt some of Texas’ best practices that ….

http://www.ctlawtribune.com/top-stories/id=1202673780291/Lawyers-Book-Says-Conn-Should-Slash-Prison-Population?mcode=1202615402746&curindex=1&slreturn=20140920104516

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Philly Mental Health Court An Alternative For Non-Violent Offenders

The First Judicial District Mental Health Court marked its fifth anniversary, a milestone for an alternative to incarcerating mentally ill defendants who have committed non-violent crimes. Advocates for sentencing reform believe it helps …

http://www.phillytrib.com/news/health/article_eda4f611-4809-56f3-b226-ac2fd1c73f1d.html

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Life Means Death For Thousands Of PA Prisoners

Death in prison isn’t. In Pennsylvania, one in 10 inmates is sentenced to life. Because state law gives them no possibility of parole, nearly all of over 5,300 inmates serving life terms will eventually die inside prison walls. “They have no …

http://www.witf.org/news/2014/10/life-means-death-for-thousands-of-pa-prisoners.php

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Men Of Valor Founder Carl Carlson Dies

Carl Carlson, a giant in the world of prison reform, died at 67, leaving behind Men of Valor, the most successful prison reform program in Tennessee. While 70% of released convicts re-offend, the Men of Valor re-offender rate is just 6% …

http://www.wsmv.com/story/26817048/men-of-valor-founder-carl-carlson-dies?clienttype=mobile

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