The Fortune Society News Of The Week — the week of April 27, 2015

Sunday, April 26, 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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The Fortune Society To Honor “The Wire’s” Michael K. Williams At 2015 Spring Soiree

The Fortune Society will honor actor Michael K. Williams from the hit show “The Wire” with the “2015 Spotlight Award” at its 5th Annual Spring Soiree, recognizing his  commitment to ending mass incarceration …

http://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwtv/article/The-Fortune-Society-to-Honor-THE-WIREs-Michael-K-Williams-at-2015-Spring-Soiree-20150422

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Cops Blast City Council Proposal To Decriminalize Minor Offenses; Bill de Blasio Remains Mum On The Plan

A City Council plan to decriminalize several low-level offenses has been met with disdain by police officials and some cops — and continued silence from the mayor. The proposal would make seven of the most common criminal court summonses …

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/cops-rip-city-proposal-decriminalize-minor-offenses-article-1.2192420

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NYPD Inspector General Philip Eure Calls For Upgrade Of Cop Performance Reviews, Recommends Data-Driven Approach 

The NYPD’s inspector general called for a new and improved data-driven performance review for cops,  starting with how it looks at the number and substance of misconduct suits filed against individual officers …

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nypd-inspector-general-calls-data-driven-reviews-article-1.2192755

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Criminal Justice Reformers Look To Impact Albany As Legislators Return To Session

A 250-mi. march started in Staten Island culminated in Washington, DC, with a rally to protest police killings of unarmed civilians and push for criminal justice reform. The march, sponsored by Justice League NYC, has garnered …

http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5694-criminal-justice-reformers-look-to-impact-albany-as-legislators-return-to-session

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Opinion: Time For City To Overhaul Drug Strategy

City Council Member Corey Johnson introduced legislation to create an Office of Drug Strategy to oversee NYC’s myriad and sometimes contradictory approaches to the problems associated with drug use. This new office could play …

http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/opinion/5690-time-for-city-to-overhaul-drug-strategy-vitale-Curtis

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New York City Council Votes To Restrict Credit Checks In Hiring

The City Council passed a bill making NYC the 12th jurisdiction in the country to prohibit employers from using credit checks to screen job applicants. “How can you improve your credit and have a better life without employment?” said …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/17/nyregion/new-york-city-council-votes-to-restrict-credit-checks-in-hiring.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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Opinion: Total Failure On Speedy Trials In New York

The outrageous delays in NYC’s justice system were given a human face when an article focused on Kalief Browder who was 16 when he was arrested for a robbery he says he didn’t commit. He was held for three years without trial on Rikers ,,,

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/16/opinion/total-failure-on-speedy-trials-in-new-york.html?_r=0

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City Council Speaker Draws Ire of Allies On Police Hiring

The New York City Council is again calling for the hiring of 1,000 additional police, a request that Mayor de Blasio rejected last year. Undeterred, the Council, led by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, outlined a budget proposal that would spend …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/16/nyregion/city-council-speaker-draws-ire-of-allies-on-police-hiring.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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Racist Posts On NY Cop Blog Raise Ire At Time Of Tension

Week after week, racist posts appear on Thee Rant, a blog for current or former New York City police officers … and week after week, the department’s top officials are, at once, embarrassed and powerless …

http://www.propublica.org/article/racist-posts-on-ny-cop-blog-raise-ire-at-time-of-tension

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Proposed Federal Rules For NYPD Training Include Cop 101 Advice Like “Don’t Be Racist”

NYPD recruits will get a crash course in the ABCs of policing. The federal monitor overseeing reforms wants recruits to be taught groundbreaking new concepts like: Don’t be racist, don’t hassle people for no reason, don’t …

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/exclusive-new-fed-rules-nypd-training-101-article-1.2192488

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Bratton: How The NYPD Lost Its Way

Talking recently with the Daily News, Commissioner Bill Bratton laid out his view of where the NYPD went wrong after his first stint here in the mid-’90s, and his standard for what policing in a much safer city should look like …

http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/siegel-commissioner-bratton-nypd-lost-article-1.2186821

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Judge Denies City’s Refusal To Rehire School Guard

NYC must reconsider its decision not to rehire a former school safety agent who was fired almost 15 years ago after being charged with a felony for which she was not convicted. Karen McMillan, 60, was charged in criminal court with …

http://www.newyorklawjournal.com/home/id=1202724014387/Judge-Denies-Citys-Refusal-to-Rehire-School-Guard?mcode=1202617075062&curindex=0&slreturn=20150321103136

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National:
Opinion: Why Are So Many Americans Criminals?

The list of federal crimes is so long and so vague that you and I likely commit three felonies every day. No wonder America’s prison population is out of control. We aren’t addicted to crime; our politicians are addicted to criminalizing things …

http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/20/opinions/feinberg-criminal-justice-reform/

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National:
Policing The Police As The Justice Department Pushes Reform, Some Changes Don’t Last

As the Obama Administration ratchets up its oversight of law-enforcement agencies using a 21-year-old law to impose reforms on police forces that show a pattern of civil rights violations, questions about the effectiveness of those interventions …

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/04/23/policing-the-police?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm

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National:
At Supreme Court, Eric Holder’s Justice Dept. Routinely Backs Officers’ Use Of Force

At the Supreme Court, where the limits of police power are established, Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department has supported police officers every time an excessive-force case has made its way to arguments …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/22/us/at-supreme-court-holders-justice-dept-routinely-backs-officers-use-of-force.html?_r=0

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National:
Report: Private Prison Lobbyists Spend Millions To Keep Immigrants Locked Up

Contrary to private prison claims they don’t lobby on issues related to immigration policy, from 2008-2014, CCA spent $10.56M lobbying on issues related to immigrant detention and immigration reform,” a new report notes …

http://www.ibtimes.com/report-private-prison-lobbyists-spend-millions-keep-immigrants-locked-1887875

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National:
American Outcasts: US Prisons And Modern Day Banishment

According to the Sentencing Project, nearly 50,000 Americans are currently serving life without the possibility of parole, a punishment that has been called “the other death sentence,” and which, like capital punishment, is unknown in Europe …

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/04/22/banishment/

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National:
1.5 Million Missing Black Men

More than one out of every six black men who should be between 25 and 54 years old have disappeared from daily life. Black men have long been more likely to be locked up and more likely to die young, but the scale of the combined toll is …

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/04/20/upshot/missing-black-men.html?abt=0002&abg=0

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National:
Opinion: The Child Support System Should Support Families, Not Government Coffers

Child support is considered an anti-poverty program because it forces noncustodial parents to contribute financially to their children’s care. But it also operates as a government cost-recovery strategy by reimbursing states and …

http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2015/04/23/collecting-child-support-without-making-matters-worse/the-child-support-system-should-support-families-not-government-coffers

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National:
“Release Cards” Turn Inmates And Their Families Into Profit Stream

Correctional facilities are increasingly sending former inmates home with their funds returned on pre-paid debit cards, known in the industry as “release cards,” which provide a steady source of cardholders subject to high fees …

http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/4/20/release-cards-turn-inmates-and-their-families-into-profit-stream.html

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National:
Prison Made Piper Kerman A Voice For Reform

Piper Kerman spent a year in a federal prison for her role in an international drug smuggling ring. Later, she wrote the bestselling “Orange is the New Black.” Now, as a board member of the Women’s Prison Association, she has become …

http://www.thestar.com/life/2015/04/20/prison-made-piper-kerman-a-voice-for-reform-unique-lives.html

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California:
Reform Laws That Send Too Many Youths To Adult Prisons

California hit a milestone with the first release under new laws of a man sentenced as a teenager to life without parole. Edel Gonzalez was 16 at the time of his crime and spent nearly 24 years in prison. California’s new laws recognize that …

http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/op-ed/soapbox/article18637509.html

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Connecticut:
A Connecticut Prison Is Rededicated To Sending Men Home

With crime at a 40-year low and a falling prison population, Connecticut Correction Commissioner Scott Semple is trying to further drive down recidivism by dedicating an entire facility to re-entry …

http://ctmirror.org/2015/04/21/a-connecticut-prison-is-rededicated-to-sending-men-home/

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Georgia:
Seizing The Moment To Reform A Criminal Justice System That Hurts Families And Communities

I stood in a courtroom in Gainesville, GA, and watched as my then-husband pled out to six years in prison for a non-violent crime. As the bailiff handcuffed him and began to lead him out of the room, I felt fear wash over me …

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jessica-jackson/seizing-the-moment-to-reform_b_7089704.html

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Idaho:
Rep. Labrador Backs Bill To Reform Mandatory Minimum Sentences

Rep. Raul Labrador is speaking out in support of a bill that would modernize federal drug sentencing policy. The bill will get rid of some of the mandatory minimum sentences in place since the ’80s. Mandatory minimum sentences create a …

http://www.ktvb.com/story/news/local/2015/04/21/rep-labrador-backs-bill-to-reform-mandatory-minimums/26110371/

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Indiana:
Covanta Partners With RecycleForce For Jobs To Operate Advanced Recycling Center In Indianapolis

RecycleForce provides electronics recycling along with comprehensive social services to help formerly incarcerated individuals rebuild their lives by breaking down the barriers to employment through transitional jobs and workforce training …

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/covanta-partners-with-recycleforce-for-jobs-to-operate-advanced-recycling-center-in-indianapolis-300068747.html

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Louisiana:
Justice Department Announces Investigations of the Ville Platte, Louisiana, Police Department and the Evangelnie Parish Sheriff’s Office

The Justice Dept. is investigating allegations that two Louisiana police departments use “investigative holds” to detain individuals without proper cause. “No individual should be detained without proper cause,” said AG Eric Holder, “or …

http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-announces-investigations-ville-platte-louisiana-police-department-and

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Maryland:
Freddie Gray in Baltimore: Another City, Another Death in the Public Eye

Freddie Gray is the latest symbol in the running national debate over police treatment of black men. Questions are swirling around just what happened to Gray who died after being restrained by police and then suffering a spine injury …

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/04/22/us/another-mans-death-another-round-of-questions-for-the-police-in-baltimore.html?referrer=&_r=1

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Michigan:
Officer In Video Beating Charged With Two Felonies

A former police officer caught on video punching a motorist now faces felony charges while the case against the man he arrested will be dismissed “in the best interest of justice.” The officer was charged with …

http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/wayne/2015/04/20/fired-inkster-cop/26067097/

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Minnesota:
Opinion: Drug Courts Save Lives — And Money

In May, the Winona County Drug Court will join over 2,900 drug courts nationwide in celebrating National Drug Court Month which arrives amid renewed interest in criminal-justice reform. If we are serious about reducing …

http://www.winonadailynews.com/news/opinion/letters/samantha-carter-drug-courts-save-lives—-and/article_401aafbe-bb29-5cde-b9f7-e0dc878ae45f.html

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Ohio:
Partnership Formed To Help Former Convicts Get Education Opportunities

United Returning Citizens, which is dedicated to assisting formerly incarcerated people become productive members of the community, will partner with Eastern Gateway Community College and Ohio Higher Education Partners to …

http://www.vindy.com/news/2015/apr/19/organizations-join-to-help-ex-prisoners/

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Oklahoma:
Robert Bates, Oklahoma Reserve Deputy, Pleads Not Guilty to Manslaughter 

The Oklahoma reserve sheriff’s deputy who says he mistook his gun for his Taser when he shot and killed a man pleaded not guilty to second-degree manslaughter. The judge allowed him to take a previously planned vacation to the Bahamas …

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/robert-bates-oklahoma-reserve-deputy-pleads-not-guilty-manslaughter-n345471

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Pennsylvania:
Who Wants to Be a Police Officer?

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, chair of President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, admitted that public furor over police-involved killings has hampered his ability to recruit black officers. “In this environment …

http://www.citylab.com/crime/2015/04/who-wants-to-be-a-police-officer/391017/

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Pennsylvania:
With Tripled Class Size And Expanded Training, Trade Institute Of Pittsburgh Finds A New Home

The Trade Institute of Pittsburgh — which takes mostly formerly incarcerated men and women and trains them in masonry — has moved to a new space … the former Westinghouse Electric Building …

http://wesa.fm/post/tripled-class-size-and-expanded-training-trade-institute-pittsburgh-finds-new-home

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South Carolina:
The Brilliant Idea From Europe That Could Revolutionize Child Support

If Walter Scott ran from police because he owed so much in unpaid child support and didn’t want to go to jail, his fear wasn’t necessarily unfounded. At least 1 in 8 incarcerated South Carolinians were jailed after failing to pay child support …

http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2015/04/16/3647872/walter-scott-child-support/

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South Carolina:
Video: Bus Presents choice — School Or Jail?

The Choice Bus — half school bus, half jail cell — presents the sharp contrast between what a life education can bring and the sharp decline into a potential life of crime that wrong friends or dropping out of school can bring …

http://www.greenvilleonline.com/story/news/education/2015/04/20/bus-presents-choice-school-jail/26098299/

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International:
Introducing A Valuable New Tool For Detention Monitors

The Association for the Prevention of Torture has launched a new database of international and regional standards, information, guidance, and helpful tips to assist prison monitors as well as prison authorities and others engaged in …

http://www.penalreform.org/blog/bringing-back-the-focus-to-detention-introducing-a/

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International:
UN Urges Action On Prison Overcrowding

The prisoner population exceeds prison capacity in 77 countries by at least 20% and the UN is asking member states to examine sentencing laws as a way to reduce the number of inmates. Some 10 million people are behind bars globally …

http://untribune.com/un-urges-action-on-prison-overcrowding-epidemic/

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