The Fortune Society News Of The Week — the week of January 12, 2015

Saturday, January 17, 2015

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


Fortune Society Gets $400K MRT Supportive Housing Grant

Formerly incarcerated people who are homeless and suffer from chronic medical conditions will now have increased access to Fortune Society’s scatter-site housing and essential case management services, thanks to a grant from …

http://www.nynp.biz/index.php/breaking-news/23827-fortune-society-gets-400k-mrt-supportive-housing-grant-

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Rikers To Ban Isolation For Inmates 21 And Younger

New York City officials agreed to a plan that would eliminate the use of solitary confinement for all inmates 21 and younger, a move that would place the long-troubled Rikers complex at the forefront of national jail reform efforts …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/14/nyregion/new-york-city-to-end-solitary-confinement-for-inmates-21-and-under-at-rikers.html?_r=0

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Opinion: NYC Declares An End To Solitary For Inmates Under 21 — Now Comes The Hard Part

In a unanimous vote, the NYC Board of Corrections banned solitary confinement for inmates 21 and under. But there are significant reasons to question how the reforms will work in practice. There are two problems with implementation, says …

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/01/14/nyc-declares-an-end-to-solitary-for-inmates-under-21?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm_source=opening-statement&utm_term=newsletter-20150115-92

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New York City Jail Guards Reported More Use Of Force Than Ever In 2014

NYC jail guards reported more use of force against inmates in 2014 than ever before — an average 11 incidents a day ranging from pepper sprays to punches — amid heightened scrutiny to clean up the “deep-seated culture of violence” …

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/14/nyc-jail-guards-use-of-force-report_n_6468082.html?ncid=tweetlnkushpmg00000024

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Inmate Claims Rikers Guards Beat Him And Ignored His Injuries, Will File Lawsuit

Jose Guadalupe, 23, a mentally disabled Bronx man, says guards pummeled him and  brought him to an isolated, overheated cell. He was ignored until an officer on the next shift sought medical help. He plans to …

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/rikers-inmate-guards-beat-sue-city-article-1.2075525

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More Than One-Third Of Recently Hired Rikers Island Correction Officers Have Serious “Red Flags” About Whether They’re Fit For The Job

Department of Investigation finds that 10 of 150 guards had more than one arrest. Nearly half of the hires indicated problems during psych exams.  And one officer admitted having close ties with gang members …

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/epic-jail-fail-rikers-guards-doi-probe-finds-article-1.2078301

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Joseph Ponte: A Safer Rikers For Inmates And Guards

When I took the  job to lead the NYC Dept. of Correction, I found that decades of neglect had produced unacceptable conditions on Rikers Island. What the department needed was a system-wide reform plan — and now we have one …

http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/joseph-ponte-safer-rikers-inmates-guards-article-1.2072542

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Teenagers To See Counselor, Not Judge, For Minor Crimes

Teenagers arrested for minor crimes will soon be diverted to counseling before they ever come before a judge under a pilot program in Brooklyn and Manhattan. The program will apply to 16- and 17-year-olds arrested for the first time for low-level ….

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/14/nyregion/teenagers-to-see-counselor-not-judge-for-minor-crimes.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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Mayor de Blasio Vows To Veto Chokehold Bill

Mayor Bill de Blasio sharpened his opposition to a City Council bill that would criminalize the use of chokeholds by NYColice officers, promising to veto the proposed legislation if it reaches his desk. He questions the need for legislation …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/14/nyregion/mayor-de-blasio-vows-to-veto-chokehold-bill.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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Report Finds NYPD Officers’ Use Of Banned Chokeholds “Alarming”

The city’s first inspector general for the NYPD issued a report that examined 10 cases from 2008-2012 where cops used a prohibited chokehold. IG Eure questioned why, in four cases, cops used chokeholds as a “first act” instead of …

http://www.nydailynews.com/report-finds-nypd-cops-banned-chokeholds-alarming-article-1.2074213?utm_content=buffer30571&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm
_campaign=NYDailyNewsTw

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Opinion: Choke First, Ask Questions Later

The policy couldn’t be clearer: “Members of the NYC Police Department will NOT use chokeholds,” says section 203-11 of the department’s Patrol Guide. But as last July’s fatal police assault on Eric Garner showed, reality is messier than …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/13/opinion/choke-first-ask-questions-later.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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Bratton Tells New York Police Officers It’s Time To Get Back To Work

Seeking to end more than two weeks of a precipitous drop in police activity, Police
Commissioner William J. Bratton said that he had instructed top commanders to do what they could to reverse the trend. The message was relayed to …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/10/nyregion/bratton-tells-new-york-police-officers-its-time-to-get-back-to-work.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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PBA Union Boss Patrick Lynch Tells NYPD Cops To Make More Arrests — But Not Too Many

A police source said Lynch told cops to “go back to at least 50% of what they used to do.” Another source said Lynch’s directive was in response to a promise by Chief of Department James O’Neill to start cracking the whip if cops continued …

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/bill-clinton-staying-nypd-de-blasio-feud-article-1.2070327

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Police Slowdown Cost New York City An Estimated $5 Million In Lost Fines

Now that New York’s police force has returned to enforcing the laws at a pace closer to normal, city officials are calculating the costs of its protracted slowdown. The biggest loss will come from all of the parking tickets that went unwritten …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/15/nyregion/police-slowdown-cost-new-york-city-an-estimated-5-million-in-lost-fines.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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The Rise Of New York’s Police Unions

Many cities have experienced occasional outbreaks of the “blue flu.” Police officers get angry over a contract dispute or an argument with the mayor, and refuse to report for work or write fewer tickets. But only NYC has ever experienced …

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/jan/13/new-york-police-unions-powerful

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Opinion: Why Black New Yorkers Like Me Are Celebrating Police Slowdown

For the second consecutive week, NYC police have virtually ceased writing tickets and arresting people for many nonviolent crimes, on the order of a 90% drop from a year earlier. After perceived slights by Mayor Bill de Blasio …

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120709/nypd-work-slowdown-being-celebrated-new-yorkers-color

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Life Without Police

Among young black men in Bedford-Stuyvesant, the NY Police Dept.’s two-weeks-and-counting “slowdown” in street-level policing isn’t just the news — it’s personal.  Whereas white New Yorkers may not have enough interaction with …

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/01/08/life-without-police?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm_source=opening-statement&utm_term=newsletter-20150109-88

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NYC Settles Three Brothers’ Wrongful Conviction Cases For $17 Million

The NYC comptroller, Scott M. Stringer, has agreed to pay $17 million to settle three more claims based on wrongful criminal convictions, part of an emerging strategy to resolve civil rights cases before they are formally filed as lawsuits …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/12/nyregion/new-york-city-settles-three-brothers-wrongful-conviction-cases-for-17-million.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&smid=tw-nytimes&_r=0

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National:
NY Times: Low Crime Rates Lead To Calls For Lighter Sentences

With violent crime rates plunging all over the country, politicians, prosecutors and police are having grave concerns over the tough prison sentences introduced two decades ago. The crackdown came under President Clinton during a time when …

http://www.newsmax.com/US/crime-sentencing-cities-reform/2015/01/14/id/618486/

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National:
Grassley Lists Juvenile Justice As A Top Priority

U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, the new chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, lists juvenile justice among his top legislative priorities, heartening juvenile justice advocates.  “It’s an important issue, so hopefully the fact that the chairman is …

http://jjie.org/grassley-lists-juvenile-justice-as-a-top-priority/108213/

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National:
“Sure, People Are Talking About Prison Reform, But They Aren’t Actually Doing Anything”

It seems like mass incarceration is on the radar of a lot of politicians and the public, and some states have even lowered their prison populations. Sure, people are talking, but they aren’t actually doing anything …

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/01/12/sure-people-are-talking-about-prison-reform-but-they-aren-t-actually-doing-anything?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm_source=opening-statement&utm_term=newsletter-20150112-89

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National:
Blame Liberals: A New Book Faults Ted Kennedy, Joe Biden, And The NAACP For Our Prison State

Are liberals as responsible for the prison boom as conservatives? A new book, The First Civil Right: How Liberals Built Prison America,  says liberals believed federalizing crime policy would prevent racial bias. But, in fact …

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/01/15/blame-liberals?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm_source=opening-statement&utm_term=newsletter-20150115-92

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National:
Opinion:  Perils Of False Distinctions Between Juveniles And Adults In Prison

Juvenile justice reformers often focus on what is unique about teenagers and what makes them different from adults who offend. This is misguided and fails to value the need to extend mercy to all individuals. There is no line that exists at 16 or …

http://jjie.org/the-perils-of-false-distinctions-between-juveniles-and-adults-in-prison/

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National:
Opinion: The Myth Of Neutral Technology

No technological fix can remedy the inequalities that underly police violence against young black men. A camera might be able to record interactions, but it can’t arrest the ingrained prejudices that lead to racial profiling to begin with …

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/01/the-myth-of-neutral-technology/384330/

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National:
Losing Marijuana Business, Mexican Cartels Push Heroin And Meth

Mexican traffickers are sending a flood of cheap heroin and methamphetamine across the U.S. border in a new sign that America’s marijuana decriminalization trend is upending the North American narcotics trade …

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/losing-marijuana-business-mexican-cartels-push-heroin-and-meth/2015/01/11/91fe44ce-8532-11e4-abcf-5a3d7b3b20b8_story.html

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Alaska:
Number Of Women Jailed In Alaska Reaches All-Time High

Alaska’s female prison population has reached an all-time high. On Jan. 5, 581 women were in custody making up 12% of Alaska’s prison population, up from 8% 10 years ago.  Women were most likely to be serving time for probation violation …

http://www.ktoo.org/2015/01/12/number-women-jailed-alaska-reaches-time-high/

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Arizona:
15 Formerly Incarcerated Women Have New Reason To Smile

Smiles Beyond the Bars  is providing free dental services for women in recovery.  “We are here to make them more beautiful,” says Linda Parker, Smiles’ founder. “God has changed them on the inside. We change the outside” …

http://www.kpho.com/story/27853195/15-formerly-incarcerated-women-have-new-reason-to-smile

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California:
California Attorney General Wants To Take Her Prison And Police Reform Fight To The U.S. Senate

California AG Kamala Harris has announced she will run for Barbara Boxer’s Senate seat in 2016. While Boxer has focused on climate, reproductive rights, and public transportation, Harris has largely focused on criminal justice reform …

http://thinkprogress.org/election/2015/01/13/3610916/meet-kamala-harris/

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California:
Sen. Dianne Feinstein Resolute In Opposition To Legalizing Pot

As the majority of California voters grow comfortable with the idea of pot legalization, their senior senator is making it clear that she most certainly is not. Dianne Feinstein is emerging as one of Washington’s toughest critics of …

http://www.latimes.com/local/marijuana/la-me-pol-0114-pot-feinstein-20150114-story.html

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Canada:
Opinion: Should Inmates Fed Up With Prison Be Allowed The Right To Die?

What if Canada had a right-to-die law and Justin Bourque, the guy who gunned down three Mounties, wanted to make use of it, rather than spend at least the next 75 years in prison? It’s not as absurd a question as it sounds …

https://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/dailybrew/should-inmates-fed-up-with-prison-be-allowed-the-right-to-die-211232124.html

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Georgia:
Gov. Nathan Deal Focuses On New Beginnings For Georgia Residents In Inaugural Address

Gov. Nathan Deal began his second term by focusing on new beginnings for those residents who have lost their liberties. He highlighted the successes of accountability courts, designed to help reform nonviolent offenders and put them …

http://www.news-daily.com/news/2015/jan/12/gov-nathan-deal-focuses-on-new-beginnings-for/

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Illinois:
New Federal Supermax Prison Will Double Capacity For Extreme Solitary Confinement

Amid growing controversy around the use of solitary confinement, and in advance of  auditing their own “segregation” practices, the feds are quietly moving ahead to significantly increase their capacity to house people in long-term isolation …

http://solitarywatch.com/2015/01/15/new-federal-supermax-prison-will-double-capacity-for-extreme-solitary-confinement/

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Kansas:
Justice Department To Impose Reform At Topeka Women’s Prison

Five years after attorney Keen Umbehr helped reveal rampant sexual abuse at the Topeka Correctional Facility, the U.S. Dept. of Justice and the state of Kansas agreed on reforms to better protect female prisoners. But Umbehr is concerned …

http://m.cjonline.com/news/2015-01-09/justice-department-impose-reform-topeka-womens-prison#gsc.tab=0

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Kentucky:
Kentucky Makes It Almost Impossible For Felons To Vote; Rand Paul Wants To Change That

Sen. Rand Paul urged the Kentucky Legislature to act on a bill that would let state voters decide whether or not to create a path back to voting rights for non-violent felons who have completed their sentences …

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/01/rand-paul-kentucky-felon-voting

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Nebraska:
Measures Would End Mandatory Minimum Sentences

Nebraska could see the end of mandatory minimum sentences with two bills introduced by Sen. Ernie Chambers. One would eliminate mandatory minimum sentences that accompany felony offenses. “There are so many vagaries …

http://columbustelegram.com/news/state-and-regional/measures-would-end-mandatory-minimum-sentences/article_d82e544e-6791-5a3e-a1a9-b36fa22f3946.html

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Nebraska:
Consultants’ Report Tells How To Reduce Prison Crowding, Save Money

Policy changes could save Nebraska millions over five years, reduce the prison population by 10%, and avoid $306 million in prison construction, a prison study concluded. “It is imperative that we show some action, because if not, we will …

http://journalstar.com/legislature/consultants-final-report-tells-how-to-reduce-prison-crowding-save/article_8d42484e-5a4d-5d56-af9d-111663033436.html

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Ohio:
Video: Police Gave Boy No Aid After Shooting In Cleveland

The two Cleveland officers involved in the fatal shooting of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy carrying a pellet gun, stood by without rendering medical aid. Then another officer tackled his 14-year-old sister as she tried to reach her brother …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/09/us/police-in-cleveland-boys-fatal-shooting-did-not-give-medical-aid.html?_r=1

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Oregon:
Portland Police Traffic Stops Still Disproportionately Involve African Americans, Report Shows

Traffic stops of African Americans in 2013 accounted for 12.8% of all Portland traffic stops, a disproportionately high rate considering they make up 6% of the city’s population 16 and over. Once stopped, they were twice as likely …

 http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2015/01/portland_police_traffic_stops
_1.html#incart_m-rpt-1

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Pennsylvania:
Justice Reform Efforts Result In Declining Prison Population

Four years ago, Pennsylvania’s prison population was expected to top 56,000 inmates by the end of 2014. Instead, Gov. Corbett announced the agency ended the calendar year with 50,756 inmates, the lowest inmate population since …

http://thedailyreview.com/news/justice-reform-efforts-result-in-declining-prison-population-1.1816198

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Pennsylvania:
Opinion: For-Profit Prison Infirmaries Require Reform

Corizon Health, a private for-profit company, has recently contracted the Allegheny County Jail. Since Corizon took over the infirmary in September 2013, the jail has seen mortality rates two times higher than the norm …

http://www.pittnews.com/opinions/article_329e42f8-9acd-11e4-8813-ff4507481d9b.html

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Pennsylvania:
ACLU Lawsuit: PA Law To Silence Offenders’ Speech Violates First Amendment

The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania made good on its promise to sue over a new state law that gives crime victims and prosecutors the power to silence offenders by seeking a civil injunction to stop speech that could cause …

http://watchdog.org/191836/first-amendment-revictimization-relief-act/

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Texas:
High Costs Could Lead Texas To End Its Juvenile Prison System

A new study from the Council of State Governments may compel Texas legislators to eliminate state-run juvenile prisons. Pointing to a heavy financial burden that the prisons impose on the state, lawmakers are eager to consider alternatives …

http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2015/01/09/3609609/texas-may-close-juvenile-facilities/

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Vermont:
Vermont’s Out-Of-State Prison Population To Dip Below 400 This Week

The number of Vermont prisoners incarcerated in Kentucky will drop to the lowest number in a decade. The Dept. of Corrections expects to have 360 inmates in the Kentucky facility it uses because of overcrowding in Vermont, and 40 in Arizona …

http://vtdigger.org/2015/01/12/state-prison-population-dip-400-week/

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