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

Sunday, December 21, 2014

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


Fortune Society New Graduates Are Green With Knowledge

While most grads put their caps and gowns on, the 20 men who completed the  Fortune Society Green Job Training Program put on their construction helmets. The formerly incarcerated individuals were recently honored for …

http://www.qchron.com/editions/western/new-graduates-are-green-with-knowledge/article_9cb977a1-9198-58c2-af2d-bcbf7480966e.html

———

Ex-Captain At Rikers Is Found Guilty Of Civil Rights Violation In Inmate’s Death

The first Rikers correction officer to be tried for civil rights abuses in over a decade was found guilty by a jury for his role in the death of an inmate in 2012. Terrence Pendergrass could serve up to 10 years in federal prison for refusing to …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/18/nyregion/rikers-captain-guilty-of-civil-rights-violation-in-inmates-death.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

———

De Blasio Tours Rikers Island Jail Complex For First Time As Mayor

After months of intensifying pressure to address rampant brutality and corruption at Rikers Island, Mayor Bill de Blasio toured the troubled jail complex, his first visit since taking office. Mr. de Blasio used the occasion to announce that …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/18/nyregion/mayor-bill-de-blasio-rikers-island-visit.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

———

At Rikers, A Roadblock To Reform

Over his two decades as president of the union, Norman Seabrook has come to exert extraordinary control over the NYC Correction Dept. His influence has paid enormous dividends for his members, but has also fed a culture of violence and …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/15/nyregion/at-rikers-a-roadblock-to-reform.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

———

Majority Of Council Backs Chokehold Legislation

A City Council proposal to criminalize the use of chokeholds has 27 sponsors, likely securing passage of the bill when it is put up for a full vote. The measure would outlaw the use of chokeholds by police — which is banned by NYPD policy but …

http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2014/12/8558578/majority-council-backs-chokehold-legislation

———

Sources: Even Prosecutors Stunned Grand Jury Didn’t Indict In Garner Case

Prosecutors who presented evidence to the Eric Garner grand jury were stunned and disappointed when the panel didn’t indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo, sources say. The Staten Island prosecutors felt they lad laid out a strong enough case to …

http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20141216/st-george/even-prosecutors-were-stunned-grand-jury-didnt-indict-garner-case

———

New York City Comptroller Seeks To Settle Claim By Eric Garner’s Family

Amid roiling protests and emotions over the death of Eric Garner during a police encounter, the New York City comptroller is seeking to negotiate a settlement of a $75 million civil rights claim brought by Mr. Garner’s family. If successful …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/17/nyregion/scott-stringer-comptroller-seeks-eric-garner-settlement.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

———

Reform Agendas Behind Garner Protests Emerge

You can only take to the streets in protest for so long before people start asking, “What is it that you want exactly?” And so, finally, clarity arrived in the form of two very similar lists of demands put out by two coalitions of reform groups who want …

http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5467-reform-agendas-behind-garner-protests-emerge-nypd

———

Opinion: Outrage Over Garner And Brown Cases Should Keep Philanthropy Focused On Criminal Justice

Despite the anguish of the current protests, we should not lose sight of the remarkable progress that has been made in criminal justice. More progress is likely in the near future, thanks to the work of not just community organizations but …

http://philanthropy.com/article/Outrage-Over-GarnerBrown/150899/

———

More Justice, Less Politics — In Every Borough

Amidst calls for special prosecutors, public hearings, and the attorney general to take over, Brooklyn DA Thompson has stridently defended the prerogative of his office to call a grand jury in the police killing of Akai Gurley. It’s his “duty” as …

http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/opinions/5465-more-justice-less-politics-in-every-borough

———

Settlement Cash Used To Fight Crime

The office of Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr. directed tens of millions of dollars from a settlement with a French bank to pay for everything from computer equipment for police to processing rape-evidence kits. Now he plans to give $101 million to …

http://online.wsj.com/articles/settlement-funds-crime-initiatives-1418696227

———

City Agrees To Stop Schools From Using 911 For Discipline

NYC public schools can no longer send disruptive students to emergency rooms without first giving families or trained staff members a chance to diffuse the situation. Judge James L. Cott signed a settlement between 11 families who …

http://www.wnyc.org/story/settlement-bars-city-schools-using-911-form-discipline/?utm_source=Newsletter%3A+WNYC+Daily+Newsletter&utm_campaign=9fc447a73f-Daily_Brief_July_4_20141_26_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_edd6b58c0d-9fc447a73f-69877417&mc_cid=9fc447a73f&mc_eid=b01395a831

———

Police Patrols In New York Public Housing Draw Scrutiny

In New York housing projects, police can demand ID from people who are hanging out in a public space, like a building lobby. Even if they prove that they live in the building, officers may cite them for “lingering.” It isn’t a crime, but …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/16/nyregion/amid-calls-for-police-reform-little-scrutiny-of-public-housing-patrols.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

———

Every 20 Years, NYC Forces Police Reform

Amid the outrage over Eric Garner’s death, few remember an equally troubling case 42 years ago that occurred just a mile away. In August 1972, police trying to stop a stolen vehicle on Staten Island fired a hail of bullets that ended up hitting …

http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/marilynn-johnson-20-years-nyc-forces-police-reform-article-1.2047619

———

Opinion: Feds Can Help Reform Police, But Watch Out For Unintended Consequences

In the aftermath of the deaths of Michael Brown in Missouri and Eric Garner on Staten Island, protesters across the nation are looking to Washington for action and answers. This seems a strange disconnect, however, because …

http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2014/12/15/washington-can-lead-on-criminal-justice-reform/

———

Opinion: Let’s Count The Nails In The Coffin Of The Drug War That Got Hammered In This Year

2014 was another nail in the coffin in the U.S.’s disastrous war on drugs. The majority of the country now supports pot legalization and AG Erik Holder continued to speak out against racist mandatory minimum drug laws and mass …

http://www.alternet.org/drugs/drug-war-coffin-nails-top-stories-2014-0

———

Opinion: End Solitary Confinement For Teenagers

Solitary confinement can be psychologically damaging for any inmate, but it is
especially perverse when it is used to discipline children and teenagers. At
juvenile detention centers and adult prisons and jails across the country …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/17/opinion/end-solitary-confinement-for-teenagers.html

———

Opinion: 100,000 Prisoners Are In For Low-Level Drug Offenses. Obama Just Gave Relief To 8.

President Obama just granted 12 pardons and eight commutations. The pardons, given mostly to people who had served out their sentences long ago, were for a variety of minor offenses. Of more interest to the debate over justice reform are …

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/12/18/100000-prisoners-are-in-for-low-level-drug-offenses-obama-just-gave-relief-to-8/

———

Prison Panel: Fire Administrators And Reform System

A Nebraska legislative committee is calling for more prison administrators to lose their jobs as part of an overhaul of the Dept. of Correctional Services. It released a final report that proposed 16 reforms for Nebraska’s problem-plagued …

http://journalstar.com/news/state-and-regional/prison-panel-fire-administrators-and-reform-system/article_b1094ce0-848f-11e4-bb1a-bfa2db9df43e.html

———

Heineman Fires Back, Says Prison Investigation Is About “Scoring Political Points”

Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman said a legislative probe into scandals at the state corrections system was more about scoring political points than finding solutions. His response to a report that blamed a lack of leadership from the Governor’s …

http://www.omaha.com/news/nebraska/heineman-fires-back-says-prison-investigation-is-about-scoring-political/article_209adf02-84a8-11e4-b4b1-83762d6ef358.html

———

Report: Oregon’s Prison Reform Is Working

Oregon is receiving national attention for its 2013 prison reforms that reduced sentences for some property crimes, allowed some low-risk inmates to leave prison sooner, and put more money into community corrections programs. A report

http://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/news/politics/2014/12/12/report-oregons-prison-reform-working/20328613/

———

Task Force Targets Prison Overcrowding

Alabama punishes some crimes more harshly than other states, says a recently released report. For example, Alabama it considers the theft of something worth more than $500 a felony. Other Southern states have …

http://www.decaturdaily.com/news/task-force-targets-prison-overcrowding/article_73e18584-8341-11e4-bfd2-e705396274df.html

———

Opinion: Prison Reform Underway?

A year of turmoil is ending for Florida’s troubled Dept. of Corrections — and the New Year may ring in with a U.S. Dept. of Justice probe. Sadly, that’s likely to be what the department needs to move forward from its recent scandals …

http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/editorials/article4537001.html

———

After Inmate Deaths, Department Of Justice To Probe Florida Prison System

Bernadette Gregory was getting out of prison in eight months and planning her wedding when she was found hanging in a cell at Florida’s Lowell Correctional Institution. Authorities say she hanged herself despite her being handcuffed and …

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/special-reports/florida-prisons/article4457578.html

———

Opinion: Michigan’s Parole Policies Waste Money, Need Reform

Michigan spends 20% of its general-fund dollars locking people up. A portion of that could be better spent elsewhere, such as on education, roads, or pension reform. Despite cost-containment efforts, the Dept. of Corrections spends $2 billion …

http://www.freep.com/story/opinion/contributors/2014/12/13/michigan-parole-prisons-corrections/20333043/

———

Corrections And Tax Reform Top Oklahoma Legislative Agenda

Corrections reforms are front and center on the agenda when the Oklahoma Legislature reconvenes in February. Oklahoma’s  growing population of inmates is overflowing state prison space and leading to larger budget requests from …

http://newsok.com/corrections-and-tax-reform-top-oklahoma-legislative-agenda/article/5375858

———

Opinion: State Studies Reform Of Way It Handles Inmates

One reason Arkansas’ prison system is so crowded and more than 2,500 state inmates are in county jails is that so many keep coming back for more punishment. Most first offenders, either because they break the law as juveniles or …

http://www.nwaonline.com/news/2014/dec/16/commentary-state-studies-reform-of-way-/?features

———

Opinion: Social Failures Trickle Down To Our Prisons

Reading a series of articles about “the empty promises of prison labor” made me think how hard it is to get something good from a system that is, at its core, all about failure on multiple levels — of individuals, of families, of government …

http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2025258380_jdlcolumn18xml.html

———

Sentencing Reform Clouds California’s Inmate Firefighting Corps

Battling one of California’s major wildfires, Kevin Black and his crew members — all prison inmates — managed to contain the 2,100-acre blaze. But California may soon find it harder to recruit new inmate firefighters after a ballot measure …

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/reuters/article-2877555/Sentencing-reform-clouds-Californias-inmate-firefighting-corps.html

———

Book Review: “Garden Of Eaton” by Lyle A. George

Laird Easton’s plan for an alternative prison for the most incorrigible prisoners was unprecedented, but it was just crazy enough that it could work, notes this new novel. Prisoners were contained by a 10-ft. wall topped with laser …

http://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwbooks/article/Lyle-A-George-Releases-GARDEN-OF-EASTON-20141211#

———

Book Review: “Locked Down, Locked Out”

Maya Schenwar’s “Locked Down, Locked Out” opens with an emotional story about the feelings she experienced when her sister was arrested for the seventh time in six years. But the personal rapidly becomes political as Schenwar exposes …

http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2014/12/12/locked-locked-puts-face-criminal-justice-system/

———

Categories: News

Contact

No appointment necessary!
Call us or stop by our main
office in Long Island City
headquarters during visiting
hours to learn more about
our programs and services.

Long Island City (Main Office)

29-76 Northern Boulevard
Long Island City, NY 11101

N/R/Q | Get Directions

(212) 691-7554
Mon-Thurs: 8am - 8pm
Fri: 8am - 5pm

Castle Gardens

625 W. 140th St.
New York, NY 10031

Get Directions

No walk-ins accepted at this location. Please call or visit our main office in Long Island City.

The Castle (Fortune Academy)

630 Riverside Drive
New York, NY 10031

Get Directions

No walk-ins accepted at this location. Please call or visit our main office in Long Island City.