The Fortune Society News Of The Week — the week of October 27, 2014

Friday, October 31, 2014

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


Fortune Society: Rental Complex In Queens Excludes Ex-Offenders

A leading provider of social services for recently released prisoners is challenging a NYC landlord that, it says, has a policy of not renting to people with criminal records. The Fortune Society filed a lawsuit in federal court contending that …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/31/nyregion/lawsuit-says-rental-complex-in-queens-excludes-ex-offenders.html?_r=0

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Opinion: No Drop In Drug Arrests In New York

In a letter to the NY Times, Fortune president JoAnne Page wrote: “Last year, Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged to curtail the NY Police Dept.’s practice of making costly marijuana arrests in minority communities, but that hasn’t happened …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/29/opinion/no-drop-in-drug-arrests-in-new-york.html

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Opinion: Help, Not Incarceration

In New York City, over a dozen alternative-to-incarceration programs are currently run by nonprofits. Eligibility varies from program to program. At Fortune Society, for example, says president JoAnne Page, staff screen cases for …

http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/1037427-help-not-incarceration/

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Three Top Officials Leaving NYC Correction Department

The city jail system’s top uniformed official — under fire for statistics-fudging of inmate violence on his watch — will leave along with two senior colleagues after just five months in their current posts. Chief of Department Clemons, who …

http://www.newsday.com/news/new-york/three-top-officials-leaving-nyc-correction-department-1.9556927

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Prisoners’ Rights Advocates React To Retirement Of Rikers Official Who Oversaw Violent Facility

Prisoners’ rights advocates and lawmakers welcomed the news that the top uniformed official at NYC’s Dept. of Correction, accused of turning a blind eye to rampant violence at Rikers, is stepping down. “The most important thing is that …

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/28/rikers-island-william-clemons-retirement_n_6063960.html?utm_hp_ref=new-york&ir=New%20York

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Shuffling Of Top Assignments At New York Police Department

More than a month after his No. 2 abruptly retired, Commissioner William J. Bratton announced a reshuffling of the leadership at the top of the New York Police Department. Philip Banks III, the chief of department, will become …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/29/nyregion/shuffling-of-top-assignments-at-new-york-police-department.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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Report Shows Extent Of Racialized Criminalization Over Last 30 Years

A report on the frequency of misdemeanor arrests from 1980 to today provides evidence of what many have known for years — the NYPD is engaged in a wide-ranging experiment in the mass criminalization of poor non-white …

http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/opinions/5407-report-shows-extent-of-racialized-criminalization-over-last-30-years-john-jay-vitale

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3 New York Colleges To Drop Crime Queries For Applicants

The application for admission to St. John’s University takes 12 pages to get to the question, but when it arises, it is hard to miss. Set off by a border of bold red, it asks, “Have you ever been arrested or convicted of a felony? …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/27/nyregion/three-new-york-colleges-will-omit-criminal-record-question-for-applicants.html?_r=0

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Court Finds That Queens DA’s Office Undercut Miranda Warnings

New York’s highest court ruled that a script that prosecutors in the Queens DA’s office had read to criminal defendants before they were arraigned so undercut the Miranda warning that it violated their constitutional rights. In a 6-to-1 ruling …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/29/nyregion/court-finds-that-queens-district-attorneys-office-undercut-miranda-warnings.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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A Plan To Cut Costs And Crime: Curb Bias Against Ex-Convicts

Washington’s City Council this summer approved legislation that forbids asking about criminal history on most job applications, a step being considered by Georgia, Michigan, and New York, among other states …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/24/us/a-plan-to-cut-costs-and-crime-curb-bias-against-ex-convicts.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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NYPD Cop Kicks Another Officer In The Head During Subway Arrest

The plainclothes cop reportedly got put on desk duty after an incident in which he kicked a colleague helping a third cop arrest a fare-beating suspect in a subway station. The incident is still being investigated by police …

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nypd-kicks-officer-head-arrest-article-1.1984662

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Ferguson Police Chief To Leave Post, Law Enforcement Officials Say

Thomas Jackson, chief of police in the small St. Louis suburb where a white officer shot and killed black teenager Michael Brown, is leaving his post, according to law enforcement officials. The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity …

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/ferguson-police-chief-thomas-jackson-to-leave-post-law-enforcement-officials-say/2014/10/29/a2db0ec4-5fcd-11e4-8b9e-2ccdac31a031_story.html?hpid=z4

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Opinion: Board Of Correction Urgently Needs Reform

New records contradict the Obama administration’s assurances to Congress and the public that the 2,200 people it freed from immigration jails last year to save money had only minor criminal records. The records show officials released …

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/10/22/immigration-detainees-released-criminal-records/17714925/

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Opinion: When Children Are Not Children: A 10-Year Old Murder Suspect

Tristen Kurilla has been charged as an adult in Pennsylvania in the murder of a 90-year-old woman. Yes, these are brutal allegations. But let’s be clear: Even if he is charged as an adult, Kurilla isn’t an adult. He is a 10-year-old child …

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jessica-s-henry/when-children-are-not-chi_b_6024198.html?utm_hp_ref=crime&ir=Crime

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Former State Rep. Weddington Released From Prison

Former Ohio State Rep. W. Carlton Weddington was released from prison, 10 months before the end of his 3-year sentence for bribery and an election falsification. He plans to focus on pushing for prison system reforms based on …

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2014/10/30/weddington-released-from-prison.html

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Investigative Committee Ready To Question Governor

A legislative committee investigating Nebraska prison woes is scheduled to  question the state’s top official on what he knows about crises plaguing the Department of Correctional Services. What the committee has learned so far is …

http://journalstar.com/news/state-and-regional/govt-and-politics/investigative-committee-ready-to-question-governor/article_916a7c1d-ffb1-5219-b269-b0ea7144e928.html

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Alabama Incarceration Rate On The Rise

Alabama claims one of the top five spots in the country for highest incarceration rates. A new study says the incarceration rate is up 349% since 1978. That’s more than 600 people in prison per every 100,000 residents in the state …

http://www.waaytv.com/appnews/alabama-incarceration-rate-on-the-rise/article_4a40e408-5ecb-11e4-8e8d-001a4bcf6878.html

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Opinion: California Leads On Justice Reform

Crime in this country is at its lowest levels in decades. And multiple studies show that crime has gone down faster in states that have reduced their prison populations. An encouraging example comes from California …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/30/opinion/prop-47-could-take-the-state-a-step-further-in-reducing-overcrowding.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=c-column-top-span-region&region=c-column-top-span-region&WT.nav=c-column-top-span-region&_r=2&gwh=059FEB8EEAB60C3E54951E55A42C21BA&gwt=pay&assetType=opinion

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Overcrowded: The Messy Politics Of California’s Prison Crisis

Gov. Jerry Brown’s strategy to combat overcrowding has been twofold: Send inmates to out-of-state or private prisons, and shift low-level offenders to county jails. Predictably, this latter strategy has led to an increase in the county jail …

http://reason.com/reasontv/2014/10/24/overcrowded-the-messy-politics-of-califo

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Calif. Prisons Will No Longer Punish All Inmates Of The Same Race For The Actions Of One

An inmate filed a civil rights lawsuit against California’s prison system and got it to reverse a policy that caused every inmate of a particular race to lose privileges whenever an inmate of that race got into a fight. “From now on, guards will only …

http://www.theroot.com/articles/culture/2014/10/california_prisons_can_no_longer_penalize_all_inmates_of_a_particular_race.html

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Three Strikes Reform: Proposition 47 And The Fight Against Inequality

When rapper Jay-Z played the Rose Bowl, he surprised concertgoers by making a political statement — he urged fans to vote for a California ballot initiative that would dramatically reduce the state’s prison population and re-direct money into …

http://www.citywatchla.com/8br-hidden/7792-three-strikes-reform-proposition-47-and-the-fight-against-inequality

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An Activist’s Vision For Developing Lives, As Well As Property, In Oakland

In Oakland, CA, you’ll find a vacant lot, overgrown with weeds and strewn with trash and broken glass. But Elaine Brown sees something else, including an urban farm and a high-rise housing development employing the formerly incarcerated …

http://ww2.kqed.org/news/2014/10/29/an-activists-plan-for-developing-lives-as-well-as-property-in-Oakland

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Ex-Felon Informs Formerly Incarcerated Of Right To Vote

In a Chicago McDonald’s, Marlon Chamberlain meets with those recently incarcerated who want a new start. He is with FORCE (Fighting to Overcome Records & Create Equality) and he talks about everything from how to get a job …

http://www.wbez.org/news/ex-felon-informs-formerly-incarcerated-right-vote-110994

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For Inmates In Texas Prisons, Extreme Heat Is Its Own Death Sentence

Since 2007, 14 Texas inmates in the state’s nine prisons have died from exposure to extremely high temperatures. The 109 units house 151,000 prisoners. And they continue to be exposed to unbearable heat every time summer rolls around …

http://www.citylab.com/crime/2014/10/for-inmates-in-texas-prisons-extreme-heat-is-its-own-death-sentence/381912/

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