The Fortune Society News Of The Week — the week of March 30, 2015

Sunday, March 29, 2015

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

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Opinion: New Rules For Rikers

Commenting on Mayor de Blasio’s plan to combat violence on Rikers, Fortune president JoAnne Page writes “there should be concern about the proposed visitor restrictions. Limiting physical contact during visits would further damage …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/23/opinion/new-rules-for-rikers.html

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Students More Likely To Be Arrested Or Ticketed In The Bronx

Bronx students received one-third of the arrests and summonses from school safety officers last year, although they make up only one-fifth of the public-school
population, according to NYPD stats. Bronx parents weren’t surprised …

http://nypost.com/2015/03/23/students-more-likely-to-be-arrested-or-ticketed-in-the-bronx/?_ga=1.54600617.324166117.1318858194

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Eric Garner Grand Jury Testimony Will Stay Secret Decides Court, Upsetting His Widow

A state judge, over angry objections, ruled that sealed grand jury testimony in the Eric Garner chokehold investigation is going to remain unseen. The decision by Staten Island Supreme Court Justice Garnett drew immediate outrage from …

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/eric-garner-grand-jury-testimony-stay-secret-court-article-1.2155724

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NYC Jails Boss: Extra $28M In Budget For Hiring, Facilities

The city’s jails commissioner said an additional $28M allocated to the fiscal year 2016 budget would go toward facility repairs, new hires and beefing up application screening to attract better talent to the troubled Department of Correction …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/25/nyregion/uncertain-future-for-new-york-housing-program-that-helps-mentally-ill-homeless-people.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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Bill de Blasio Seems Ready To Hire More Cops

As part of Mayor de Blasio’s learning curve, it looks like the NYPD may be getting more cops. Some estimate the number at close to the 1,000 officers Commissioner Bratton requested, which the mayor had rejected as unnecessary …

http://www.amny.com/opinion/columnists/leonard-levitt/bill-de-blasio-seems-ready-to-hire-more-cops-1.10106798

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NYC Councilman Blasts “Broken Windows” Policing After Being
Busted Moving Between Subway Cars

A New York City councilman blasted “broken windows” policing when he broke the law. Councilman Corey Johnson (D-Manhattan) was stopped as he moved between cars on an A train near the West 23rd St. station around 6 PM …

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/councilman-busted-moving-subway-cars-sources-article-1.2162798

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Is NYC’s New Gunshot Detection System Recording Private Conversations?

By placing microphones around high-crime neighborhoods, police are able to pinpoint the location of where a gunshot took place, leading to faster response times.  Recently 300 were activated in Brooklyn and the Bronx. But …

http://fusion.net/story/107298/is-nycs-new-gunshot-detection-system-recording-private-conversations/

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Hundreds Of Formerly Homeless, Incarcerated Men Graduate From The Doe Fund

After completing the 9-12 month paid-work program, hundreds of graduates have secured independent housing and full-time employment in the private sector, all after long periods of homelessness or incarceration …

http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/03/prweb12600863.htm

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Data Tactics Used By NYPD To Weed Out Crime Will Be Used To Fix NYC’s Worst Performing Schools

The same data-driven tactics the city used to clean up the once crime-filled streets will now be aimed at the city’s worst performing public schools, according to Mayor de Blasio who calls it “an urgent effort” …

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/nypd-data-tactics-fix-nyc-schools-de-blasio-article-1.2156171

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School Ties

Columbia is one of several schools where students are demanding that university endowments take a visible stand against mass incarceration by divesting from private prison companies, which have faced criticism — and lawsuits — for …

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/03/20/school-ties?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm

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National:
Supreme Court Justices Blast The Corrections System

The prisons are one of the most misunderstood institutions of government. Solitary confinement drives individuals insane. And mandatory minimum sentences are a bad idea. These were the assertions of two U.S. Supreme Court Justices …

http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2015/03/24/3637885/supreme-court-justices-implore-congress-reform-criminal-justice-system-not-humane/

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National:
Washington Post Columnist Regrets Supporting “Hands Up” Mantra

The “mantra of a movement” was a myth. Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart expresses regret that he ever supported the “Hands up, don’t shoot” rallying cry — admitting it was “wrong, built on a lie.” His change of heart came …

http://nypost.com/2015/03/18/wapo-columnist-regrets-supporting-hands-up-mantra/

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National:
Why “Black Lives Matter” Activists Aren’t Winning Over Whites

As potent as the Black Lives Matter movement has been in driving the media conversation, it’s done little to convince Americans not already on board of the need for change. The latest poll numbers — just 24% of whites think …

http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/harry-siegel-black-lives-hard-facts-article-1.2154579

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National:
Unlikely Bedfellows From Cory Booker To Newt Gingrich Unite In DC To Reform Prisons

A summit on mass incarceration is bringing together odd bedfellows from across the political spectrum for what organizers hope will be a “bipartisan breakthrough of massive proportions” that will make criminal justice reform a priority for …

https://news.vice.com/article/unlikely-bedfellows-from-cory-booker-to-newt-gingrich-unite-in-dc-to-reform-prisons

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National:
Too Old To Commit Crime? Why People Age Out Of Crime — And What It Could Mean For How Long We Put Them Away

The idea of a 21-year sentence for mass murder and terrorism may seem radically lenient in the U.S. where life without parole is often presented as a humane alternative to the death penalty. Yet, in testimony to a congressional task force …

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/03/20/too-old-to-commit-crime?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm

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National:
States Face Uphill Battle Over Growing Militarization Of Police

Now, eight months after the confrontations in Ferguson between heavily armed police and protesters, lawmakers in more than a half-dozen states are trying to rein in the militarization of their own police forces. But they’re facing an uphill battle …

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/24/states-police-militarization_n_6932576.html

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National:
Obama: I’ll Use Clemency Power “More Aggressively”

President Obama plans to grant clemency to federal offenders “more aggressively” during the remainder of his presidency, he says. He’s faced criticism for rarely using his power to grant pardons. In December, he commuted …

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/21/obama-clemency-pardon_n_6911784.html

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National:
New Video: “Locked Out”

Spend five minutes watching this short film titled “Locked Out,” about the difficulties of finding employment, and acceptance, after being released from prison …

https://vimeo.com/121718382

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Alabama:
College For Convicts

Twenty-five miles from Montgomery, AL, in the middle of the tough-on-crime, fiscally conservative Deep South, sits an unusual place of learning. A 20-foot fence with razor wire surrounds the campus. Armed guards stand at the entrances …

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/03/24/new-projects-laws-help-prison-college-programs-gain-steam

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Alaska:
Senators Introduce Plan To Save Money By Reducing Jail Population

Two senators from opposite sides of the political spectrum jointly introduced legislation aimed at reforming Alaska’s expensive, overburdened “revolving door” of a correctional system. Modeled on an approach that found success in …

 http://www.adn.com/article/20150325/senators-introduce-plan-save-money-reducing-jail-population

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Florida:
Florida Supreme Court Orders New Sentences In Juvenile Cases

 A 33-year-old woman serving life without parole for the murder of a cab driver when she was 15 will get a new sentence under a ruling by the Florida Supreme Court that says that juveniles can’t be sent to prison for life if they haven’t …

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/breaking-news/os-ap-juvenile-sentencing-20150319-story.html

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Florida:
The Worst State for Kids Up Against the Law — It’s Florida, Hands Down

For Florida juveniles accused of lesser crimes — crimes not punishable by a sentence of life in prison — the outlook in the Sunshine State remains exceedingly dark. In fact, Florida remains the worst state in the country to be …

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/03/24/the-worst-state-for-kids-up-against-the-law?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm

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Illinois:
Rauner’s Juvenile Justice Team Vows Retooling To Keep Kids Out Of Jail

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner’s Department of Juvenile Justice says it will retool efforts to keep low-risk juvenile offenders out of state facilities and help those who are incarcerated successfully re-enter their communities …

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-rauner-juvenile-justice-reform-met-20150320-story.html

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Maryland:
Governor Backing “Second Chance Act” And Prison Reform Bill

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is supporting a measure to allow people with certain nonviolent misdemeanor criminal records to have those records blocked from public view after three years. The governor says a criminal record can be …

http://www.wbal.com/article/114072/107/hogan-backing-second-chance-act-prison-reform-bill

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Mississippi:
Mississippi Prison Costs, Abuse Face Scrutiny

Former Mississippi Corrections Commissioner Johnson questioned whether private prisons are actually operating cheaper than public prisons. For instance, South Mississippi Correctional Institution is operating for $35.95 an inmate while …

http://www.clarionledger.com/story/news/2015/03/20/mississippi-prison-costs-abuse-face-scrutiny/25117563/

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Mississippi:
Mississippi Clergy Unite Against Private Prisons

Some 50 church leaders representing various faiths, appalled at Mississippi’s embattled correctional system amid the proliferation of private prisons, will lobby for change through a newly formed group called Clergy for Prison Reform …

http://www.clarionledger.com/story/news/2015/03/20/ms-clergy-unite-private-prisons/25078677/

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Missouri:
Ferguson’s Forgotten Murders

Two black men have been shot dead in Ferguson, MO, since Michael Brown was. But the slayings have been met with pervasive silence. Protesters don’t even know they existed and police have been frustratingly slow to get them justice …

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/03/21/ferguson-s-forgotten-murders.html

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Oklahoma:
Good Prison Reform Eefforts On The Table At State Capitol

Oklahoma incarcerates more offenders per capita than nearly any other state and without a commensurate increase in public safety. But a package of criminal justice reforms winding its way through the Legislature could bring some long overdue …

http://www.tulsaworld.com/opinion/editorials/tulsa-world-editorial-good-prison-reform-efforts-on-the-table/article_95b45cde-052c-5c77-8363-62c6d13059ee.html

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Pennsylvania:
Report On Philadelphia Police: New Rules, Training Needed

A long-awaited U.S. Justice Department report on police shootings in Philadelphia concluded there is “significant strife between the community and the department,” and recommended wholesale changes in procedures and training …

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20150324_DOJ_on_Philly_police_shootings__new_rules__training_needed.html

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Pennsylvania:
Wash Cycle Laundry Talks About A Socially Conscious Small Business

Philadelphia is the home base of Wash Cycle’s socially and environmentally friendly business model. Over half of its 50 employees come from a vulnerable population, including the formerly incarcerated, homeless, and …

http://aldianews.com/articles/business/wash-cycle-laundry-talks-kenney-about-bikes-wages-and-socially-conscious-small-business/38320

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Washington:
Remote Jailing Cuts Off Inmates From Real-World Support System

Preston Bighead is nearing the end of a 7-month sentence for DUI, but he hasn’t seen his family once. County jails across the country are sending inmates to other jurisdictions to serve short-term sentences — a practice called remote jailing …

http://www.npr.org/2015/03/25/393442576/remote-jailing-cuts-off-inmates-from-real-world-support-system

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Wisconsin:
Exhibit Brings Home Stark Reality Of Solitary Confinement

Most only stay inside a short time, others sit for as long as 45 minutes, listening to their thoughts or a recording of yelling and banging on walls. It’s not actually solitary confinement since visitors can leave at any time, but …

http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/exhibit-brings-home-stark-reality-of-solitary-confinement-b99465888z1-297019751.html

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International:
Belgium Is Abolishing All Prison Sentences Under One Year

Belgium is scrapping all prison sentences under one year in length as part of efforts to reform its justice system. The Belgian federal government is worried that short prison sentences could actually encourage small-time criminals to …

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/belgium-is-abolishing-all-prison-sentences-under-one-year-10123288.html

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