The Fortune Society News Of The Week — the week of April 6, 2015

Saturday, April 4, 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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Fortune Society Receives $190K In New Grants

Formerly incarcerated individuals will now have increased access to The Fortune
Society’s robust network of mental health and HIV/AIDS services, as well as education, thanks to a variety of new grants totaling over $190,000 …

http://www.nynp.biz/index.php/breaking-news/24725-fortune-society-receives-190k-in-new-grants-

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NYC Prepares To End Hurdle To Jobs After Prison

In a small classroom at the Fortune Society in Long Island City, Hubert Lila stands before a group of 10 convicted felons. He takes them through the kinds of questions they might have to answer in a job interview …

http://uptownradio.org/2015/03/27/box/

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Video: First-Hand Experiences

In this new  video, Stanley Richards of the Fortune Society and Craig DeRoche of Justice Fellowship talked with the director of Vera’s Center on Sentencing and Corrections, about their experiences in the criminal-justice system …

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjkN7q6RxLw

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NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton denies allegations about
quota game, transfer threat

NYPD top brass “categorically” dispute allegations that cops at a Staten Island precinct were forced to play a quota game in which officers earned points for arrests — and faced transfer if they didn’t meet monthly goals …

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/bratton-denies-allegations-quota-game-transfer-threat-article-1.2170799

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Law Proposed To Require City To Report When Students Are Handcuffed In Schools

Cops and Department of Ed officials would have to publicly report whenever kids are handcuffed in schools under a bill introduced in the City Council. The legislation also demands data be made public on how many times …

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/city-reports-kids-handcuffed-schools-article-1.2168826

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Ex-NYPD Commissioner Bernie Kerik Calls For Reform Of Prison System In New Book

In his new book, “From Jailer to Jailed: My Journey from Correction and Police Commissioner to Inmate #84888-054,” former NYPD Commissioner Bernie Kerik critiques in great detail the problems that he sees in our criminal justice system …

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/ex-commissioner-bernie-kerik-calls-prison-reform-book-article-1.2168327

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The Confined Arts: A Creative Outlet For Current And Previously Incarcerated Men And Women

The soul-crushing effects of incarceration in the U.S. can be debilitating, which birthed the idea of “The Confined Arts,” a visual and performance art exhibition in Brooklyn for current and previously incarcerated men and women …

http://www.bkreader.com/2015/03/the-confined-arts-a-creative-outlet-for-current-and-previously-incarcerated-men-and-women/

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Chris Rock Is Taking A Selfie Every Time He Gets Pulled Over By The Police

“Stopped by the cops again. Wish me luck.” That’s the message Chris Rock paired with a selfie, capturing what is the third time in just seven weeks the comedian has been pulled over by police. It’s not known why police stopped Rock …

http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/04/chris-rock-selfies-police%20

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National:
Opinion: Children In Adult Jails

The practice of charging young people as adults gained momentum in the 1990s as youth crime spiked. Between 1990 and 2010, the number of juveniles in adult jails went up by nearly 230%. Now about a tenth of confined young people …

http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21647347-treating-young-offenders-grown-ups-makes-little-sense-children-adult-jails

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National:
Opinion: The Nightmare Of Prison For Individuals With Mental Illness

The treatment of prisoners with mental illness is often barbaric if not medieval. Here’s what needs to stop. At some point in the 1970s, the decision was made to close state-run mental health institutions. Much of this was motivated by …

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dustin-demoss/prison-mental-illness_b_6867988.html

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National:
Opinion: The Growing Right Arm Of For-Profit Prisons

The for-profit prison industry was born in the 1980’s as a capitalist venture that has benefited from the dramatic rise in incarceration in the U.S. These for-profit companies lobby for tougher sentences and therefore profit from the detention of …

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mona-shattell/the-growing-right-arm-of-_b_6956904.html

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National:
The Activist Nun Reforming Profit-Prisons

Sister Valerie Heinonen is a soft-spoken nun who’s been buying shares in for-profit prison companies since early 2000. She’s not doing it in the hopes of making big bucks. Rather, she tries to use her leverage as an owner to reform the industry …

http://money.cnn.com/2015/03/28/investing/for-profit-prison-investing/

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National:
Opinion: The Prison Door Creaks Open 

President Obama used his pardon power to shorten the sentences of 22 federal narcotics prisoners. In one day, he commuted as many sentences as Reagan and George W. Bush did in 16 years.  But 22 needs to become 2,200 or more …

http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/prison-door-creaks-open

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National:
Video: A Conversation With President Obama And “The Wire” Creator David Simon

In this new video, President Obama sits down with David Simon, the creator of TV show “The Wire” to talk criminal justice — from the legacy of the war on drugs to the future of law enforcement …

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWY79JCfhjw

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National:
Labor Secretary: We’re “All In” On Justice Reform

Says Labor Secretary Tom Perez, the Obama administration is “all in” on criminal justice reform. “We’re all in at the DOJ, we’re all in at the White House … a good job is the most effective recidivism reduction strategy I can think of” …

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/237139-labor-secretary-were-all-in-on-justice-reform

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National:
Opinion: How Digital Technology Can Reduce Prison Incarceration Rates

In a digital world with ankle bracelets and GPS devices, there’s no reason to believe  physical imprisonment is the only option for those convicted of non-violent offenses. Electronic monitoring cuts incarceration costs from $70-80/day to …

http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/techtank/posts/2015/03/31-digital-technology-prison-problem-west

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National:
This May Be the Year Crime Finally Stops Being A Wedge Issue

When Newt Gingrich’s GOP Revolution took over Congress in 1994, it was politically effective to warn of the “growing threat of crime in America.” Now he’s working with liberals on prison reform and other criminal-justice issues …

http://www.nationaljournal.com/next-america/newsdesk/this-may-be-the-year-crime-finally-stops-being-a-wedge-issue-20150330

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National:
Opinion: U.S. Criminal Justice System Needs Urgent Reform

“I know from firsthand experience that the criminal justice system in the U.S. is in serious and urgent need of reform, repair, and restructuring,” says Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., president/CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association …

http://www.lasentinel.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=14710&catid=85&Itemid=175

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National:
An Investigation: How Your Local Jail Became Hell

The modern U.S. jail — which is distinct from prison, the place where those convicted of crimes go — primarily houses the legally innocent. There are 731,200 people inside U.S. jails and 3 out of 5 have not been convicted of anything at all …

http://theweek.com/articles/540725/how-local-jail-became-hell-investigation

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National:
Opinion: Out Of Debtors’ Prison, With Law As The Key

In many states, courts levy fines totaling thousands on misdemeanor offenders, and jail them when they can’t pay. You don’t go to jail for walking your dog without a leash or making an illegal left turn, but you will go to jail if you can’t pay …

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/03/27/shutting-modern-debtors-prisons/?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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National:
Commentary: Inmate. Parolee. Felon. Discuss.   

Advocates for prisoners and former prisoners are increasingly determined to purge the criminal-justice vocabulary of language that turns an individual’s record into an indelible brand. Bryan Stevenson puts it this way in his book “Just Mercy” …

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/04/01/inmate-parolee-felon-discuss?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm

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International:
The Radical Humaneness Of Norway’s Halden Prison: The Goal Of The Norwegian Penal System Is To Get Inmates Out Of It

Halden Fengsel is called the world’s most humane maximum-­security prison. There are no coils of razor wire in sight, no lethal electric fences, no towers manned by snipers. And yet no prisoner has ever tried to escape …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/29/magazine/the-radical-humaneness-of-norways-halden-prison.html

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California:
Alameda County Supervisors Vote To Boost Funds For Post-Incarceration Services

For months, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights has urged Alameda County to allocate 50% of its public safety funds to organizations that assist people who have been released from incarceration. Their campaign has just paid off …

http://blog.sfgate.com/inoakland/2015/03/26/alameda-county-supervisors-vote-to-boost-funds-for-post-incarceration-services/

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Colorado:
Inside America’s Toughest Federal Prison

Since opening in 1994, the ADX has remained not just the only federal supermax prison but also the apogee of a strain of the U.S. penal system wherein dreams of rehabilitation have been superseded by the architecture of control …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/29/magazine/inside-americas-toughest-federal-prison.html?_r=0

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Florida:
Opinion: Life After Prison

In Florida, the recidivism rate ranges from 26-33%. “Incarceration is likened to slavery and the prison industry is the new way to keep slavery going,” says Wayne Rawlins, coordinator of the South Florida Reentry Task Force …

http://www.frostillustrated.com/2015/life-after-prison/

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Georgia:
A Republican Governor Is Leading The Country’s Most Successful Prison Reform

One could argue that Georgia is doing more to reform its criminal justice system than any other state in the country — from sentencing to felon employment after release to juvenile detention. Mandatory sentencing minimums have been …

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/121425/gop-governor-nathan-deal-leading-us-prison-reform

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Illinois:
Illinois Prison Reform Panel Seeks 25% Drop In Inmate Population By 2025

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner’s prison reform commission is examining ways to reduce the state’s inmate population by 25% in 10 years. That’s the goal established for the more than 20-person commission composed of lawmakers and experts from …

http://www.dailyjournal.net/view/story/6d92b56a9a834eaaad308987cedbce3d/IL–Illinois-Prisons-Reform/

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Illinois:
Freddy Martinez Is Exposing Chicago Cops’ NSA-Style Surveillance Gear

The StingRay is a device that mimics a cell towers, allowing police to listen in on and read communications from suspects’ phones. The hi-tech toy gives police the power to  launch an NSA-style surveillance program on a micro level …

http://www.vice.com/read/stingrays-and-secrets-how-the-chicago-police-department-was-forced-to-come-clean-330

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Iowa:
Iowa City Church Hosts Re-Entry Program For Formerly Incarcerated

A re-entry program for formerly incarcerated citizens has found its home in the First Baptist Church in Iowa City. The newly formed Inside Out Reentry Program, “one-to-one mentoring” for individuals and families “affected by incarceration” …

http://www.press-citizen.com/story/news/local/2015/03/26/reentry-program-formerly-incarcerated/70522832/

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Kentucky:
Kentucky’s New Heroin Law Marks A “Culture Shift”

Kentucky lawmakers passed wide-ranging legislation to combat the state’s heroin epidemic. The bipartisan measure represents a significant policy shift away from more punitive measures toward a focus on treating addicts, not jailing them …

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/25/kentucky-heroin-epidemic_n_6941568.html

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Maryland:
Opinion: Helping Ex-Offenders Stay Out Of Prison

Every year, 10,000 people leave prison and return to Baltimore City; 4,000 of them — 40% — will return to prison within three years. This must change. The people least likely to go back to prison are those who participate in reentry programs …

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-reentry-programs-20150330-story.html

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Massachusetts:
Meet Our Prisoners: A Study Lingers On The Lives Of Those We Incarcerate

The Boston Reentry Study tracks 122 men and women who were released from prisons to Boston neighborhoods. The data provides an almost literary glimpse into the life histories of these people — from childhood through …

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/04/02/meet-our-prisoners?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm

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Pennsylvania:
College Will Begin “Inside-Out” Class At State Prison In Chester

Many colleges and universities are establishing programs aimed at spreading resources of higher ed to individuals serving sentences in the federal prison system. In the past month, the academic programs at NYU, Notre Dame, and …

http://swarthmorephoenix.com/2015/04/02/new-prison-class/

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Pennsylvania:
Steep Costs of Inmate Phone Calls Are Under Scrutiny

Since the Pennsylvania police arrested Anthony Kofalt last March, his wife has spent $3,000 — about $60 a week — on phone calls to the prison. That’s $12.95 for each 15-minute call even though she lives just a few hours away …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/31/us/steep-costs-of-inmate-phone-calls-are-under-scrutiny.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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Rhode Island:
Speakers Dissect R.I. Mass Incarceration

Over 300 law enforcement officials, politicians, students, and community activists confronted the costs and racial disparities of mass incarceration and probation in Rhode Island —  and the nation as a whole — at a conference entitled …

http://www.browndailyherald.com/2015/04/01/speakers-dissect-r-i-mass-incarceration/

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Texas:
City Of Houston Joins Growing List Of Cities Who’ve Chosen To “Ban The Box”

Over 45 cities — including NYC, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Seattle, and San Francisco — have removed the question regarding conviction history from their employment applications. Now add Houston …

http://forwardtimesonline.com/2013/index.php/state-local/item/2451-attention-formerly-incarcerated-individuals

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Virginia:
VCU Professor Creates “Sanctuary” To Help Formerly Incarcerated Residents Ease Back Into Society

Virginia Commonwealth University and the Richmond City Sheriff’s Office have teamed up to provide formerly incarcerated Richmond residents and their families a place to learn, create, and transition back into society. “Sanctuary” will …

http://wtvr.com/2015/04/01/vcu-professor-creates-sanctuary-to-help-formerly-incarcerated-residents-ease-back-into-society/

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Washington:
Opinion: Kids, Jails A Bad Combination; Society Can Do Better

The plan King County announced for reducing disproportionality in juvenile detention is about more than taking a different approach to youth crime. Its best outcome would be to provide the spark that ignites a new commitment to …

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/kids-jails-a-bad-combination-society-can-do-better/

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Wisconsin:
Officials, Advocates Call For Restrictions On Solitary Confinement In Wisconsin

The Wisconsin prison system implemented new policies which will revamp the way in which solitary confinement is used as a correction measure against prisoners violating prison rules. The Wisconsin DOC holds 1,500 people of the state’s …

http://solitarywatch.com/2015/03/30/officials-advocates-call-for-restrictions-on-solitary-confinement-in-wisconsin/

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