The Fortune Society News Of The Week — the week of November 24, 2014

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

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


Officer’s Errant Shot Kills Unarmed Brooklyn Man

Two police officers entered the pitch-black 8th-floor stairwell of a building in a Brooklyn project, one of them with his sidearm drawn. At the same time, a man and his girlfriend entered the 7th-floor stairwell. In the darkness, a shot rang out …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/22/nyregion/new-york-police-officer-fatally-shoots-brooklyn-man.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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Mayor de Blasio Urges “Culture Change” At Rikers Island

Mayor de Blasio declared that Rikers “deeply needs a culture change” and called ending the pervasive violence at the jail a top priority of his administration, acknowledging that he had previously underestimated the level of dysfunction …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/21/nyregion/rikers-needs-culture-change-mayor-de-blasio-says.html?_r=0

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New High School Course: “How To Deal With Cops”

It’s Cops 101. The principal of East Side Community HS invited the NY Civil Liberties Union to give a two-day training session on interacting with police. The 450 kids were coached on staying calm during NYPD encounters and given …

http://nypost.com/2014/11/23/new-hs-class-teaches-kids-how-to-deal-with-cops/ 

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NYPD Officer Caught On Tape Smashing Alleged Fare Beater In Head With Baton At Brooklyn Subway Station

The shocking crack opened a massive gash on 20-year-old Donovan Lawson’s head, spraying bystanders at the Myrtle Avenue subway station with blood. “It looked like his head exploded,” one witness told …

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/nypd-officer-smashes-alleged-fare-beater-head-baton-article-1.2019269

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Private Prisons Seek Broader Markets

A new report finds that prison corporations, stymied by prison reform, are seeking new markets for human product lines – if you can’t jail ’em, find another way to make ’em pay. The latest spinoff of the prison privatization business is …

http://www.austinchronicle.com/daily/news/2014-11-24/private-prisons-seek-broader-markets/

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Lawyers: Epps Said Prison Companies “Spread” Money

In 2011, then-Corrections Chief Chris Epps said he couldn’t get rid of Mississippi’s private companies running prisons “because of all the money they spread around.” Prosecutors say Epps was receiving more than $700,000 in bribes plus …

http://www.clarionledger.com/story/news/2014/11/22/lawyers-epps-said-prison-companies-spread-money/19425009/

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Opinion: Common Ground — Congress Can Find Some On Prison Sentence Reform

On many issues facing the nation, a bickering Congress has failed to find ways to move the country forward. But quietly, conservatives and liberals have found common ground on reversing some of the failed sentencing/corrections policies …

http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/editorials/2014/11/22/Common-ground-Congress-can-find-some-on-prison-sentence-reform/stories/201411220008

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Giuliani Blames Cop Shootings On Black-On-Black Crime

A TV talk about the police shooting of an unarmed teen in Missouri turned into a racially charged exchange when Rudy Guiliani said white police wouldn’t be needed to patrol black neighborhoods “if you weren’t killing each other …

http://nypost.com/2014/11/23/giuliani-blames-shootings-by-white-cops-on-black-on-black-crime/

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Opinion: Going Beyond Ferguson

Recently, the United States Department of Justice announced a groundbreaking undertaking to take on, squarely and directly, one of the most damaging social problems facing the nation …

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-m-kennedy/getting-beyond-ferguson_b_6191892.html

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Punishment Of Police Under Scrutiny

The issue of police discipline is being scrutinized in U.S. cities as officials question the rate at which officers fired for misconduct are returned to the force. A Philadelphia panel found that 19 of 26 officers fired over a five-year period had …

http://online.wsj.com/articles/punishment-of-police-under-scrutiny-1416598682

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Michigan Prison Sentence Reforms Gain Momentum

State lawmakers are poised to act on a legislative package that would reduce some prison sentences, making it potentially the biggest issue — besides a road tax increase — they may consider when they return from recess. It calls for …

http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/politics/michigan/2014/11/19/michigan-prison-sentence-reforms-gain-momentum/19307505/

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Opinion: As Prisons Swell, Illinois Needs Wiser Policies

Illinois needs to get smarter about how it runs its prisons. A federal census reports the state’s prisons are filled to 173% of capacity, one of the worst rates in the U.S. We need to do a better job of finding alternatives to incarceration that don’t …

http://www.suntimes.com/opinions/31187553-474/as-prisons-swell-llinois-needs-wiser-policies.html#.VG99nxso7cs

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California’s Top Cop Wants To Clear The Air: Prison Labor Not Chain Gangs

California AG Harris is concerned about the perception that the state’s prisons “incarcerate people to have indentured servants; it evokes images of chain gangs. I’m looking into what needs to be done to …

http://www.citywatchla.com/8box-left/7929-california-s-top-cop-wants-to-clear-the-air-prison-labor-not-chain-gangs

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 Killings By Utah Police Outpacing Gang, Drug, Child-Abuse Homicides

In the past five years, more Utahns have been killed by police than by gang members. Or drug dealers. Or from child abuse. So far this year, deadly force by police has claimed more lives — 13 — than violence between spouses and …

http://www.sltrib.com/news/1842489-155/killings-by-utah-police-outpacing-gang

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Four Decades Of Solitary In Louisiana

Richard Nixon was president when Albert Woodfox landed in solitary confinement, along with another inmate, both convicted of the 1972 murder of a Louisiana prison guard named Brent Miller. Mr. Woodfox is still there. Now 67 years old …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/22/opinion/four-decades-of-solitary-in-louisiana.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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Vancouver Experiments With Prescription Heroin

Vancouver, one of N. America’s most progressive cities in respect to drug policy, will conduct a groundbreaking experiment — prescription heroin. Following a clinical trial involving 26 subjects,  doctors have earned permission to …

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/11/vancouver-experiments-with-prescription-heroin/383086/

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Is This The Most Important Food Truck In America?

The sweet scent of maple syrup — laced grilled cheese sandwiches and pulled pork sandwiches — lures hungry crowds to Snowday, a Canadian-style food truck in New York City. Run by an organization that employs previously incarcerated …

https://www.yahoo.com/food/is-this-the-most-important-food-truck-in-america-103146769361.html

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Road Twenty-Two’s Life-Changing T-Shirts 

Sure, finding the perfect-fitting T-shirt can feel like a life-altering experience. But actually changing lives? For that, there’s Road Twenty-Two. The startup fashion brand aims to use style to create employment for formerly incarcerated women …

http://www.sfgate.com/style/article/Road-Twenty-Two-s-life-changing-T-shirts-5909248.php

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