The Fortune Society News Of The Week — the week of May 11, 2015

Saturday, May 9, 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’s Stanley Richards: Barriers To Getting Work After Prison Remain

The formerly incarcerated face many challenges as they try to re-establish themselves, not the least of which is finding full-time employment. Recalls Stanley Richards of The Fortune Society, “I was released in 1991 and I …

http://citylimits.org/2015/05/06/video-report-barriers-to-getting-work-after-prison-remain/

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Mayor De Blasio Defends Police Response To Freddie Gray Protests In NY

Mayor de Blasio, facing an uproar over arrests at a Manhattan rally to protest strong-armed policing, offered a defense of law enforcement, brushing off concerns that demonstrators had been mistreated even as he insisted on …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/01/nyregion/new-york-officials-defend-aggressive-response-to-freddie-gray-protests.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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Bratton Explores Giving Warnings In Lieu Of Arrests For Minor Offenses

For Commissioner Bratton, keeping crime low in NYC hinges on the power of officers to make arrests for low-level offenses. Not that they must actually do so. He is, however, exploring the possibility of officers giving warnings in lieu of arrests …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/01/nyregion/bratton-defends-police-stops-but-explores-warnings-in-lieu-of-arrests.html

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Developing A More Effective And Inclusive Mental Health System In New York City

The de Blasio Administration announced a major new investment in mental health as part of its executive budget with $54.4 million for FY16 and $78.3 million for FY17 and beyond to build a more effective and inclusive mental health system …

http://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/290-15/fact-sheet-developing-more-effective-inclusive-mental-health-system-new-york-city

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Opinion: Gov. Cuomo: It’s Time To Prove That You Think Black Lives Matter

A Daily News investigation found that of the at least 179 killed by the NYPD over the previous 15 years, just three led to an indictment. As Black lives across the country continue to be unjustly taken at the hands of police at a sickening rate …

http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/williams-robinson-cuomo-show-black-lives-matter-article-1.2207163

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National:
A (More Or Less) Definitive Guide To Hillary Clinton’s Record On Law And Order:  She Was For Reform Before She Was Against It Before She Was For It 

In her first speech on the issue since launching her campaign for president, Hillary Clinton discussed criminal justice as though it were relatively new to her. But she has a long and winding history on the subject of criminal justice …

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/05/01/a-more-or-less-definitive-guide-to-hillary-clinton-s-record-on-law-and-order?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm

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National:
Opinion: Hillary Used To Attack Obama For Being “Soft On Crime.” Now She’s Helping Him Look Softer

In a couple of respects, Hillary Clinton’s criminal justice speech at Columbia University put her to the left of Barack Obama. That’s ironic, since the last time she ran for president, she explicitly attacked him for being soft on crime …

http://www.vox.com/2015/4/30/8517525/hillary-obama-sentencing-reform

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National:
Romney Hits Back At Hillary: “We Don’t Have Mass Incarceration In America”

During a TV interview, former presidential candidate Mitt Romney denied that mass incarceration is a problem: “We don’t have mass incarcerations. Individuals are brought before tribunals and they have counsel. Are we not going to lock up …

http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2015/05/04/3654337/mitt-romney-america-doesnt-incarceration-problem/

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National:
Negative View Of U.S. Race Relations Grows, Poll Finds

Of those polled, 61% of Americans now say race relations in this country are generally bad. That figure is up sharply from 44% after the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown and the unrest that followed in Ferguson in August …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/05/us/negative-view-of-us-race-relations-grows-poll-finds.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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National:
A Bill To Keep Kids Out Of Prison Has A New Lease On Life, Thanks To Conservatives

A bill in Congress aimed at preventing crime by keeping at-risk youth out of prison could get a major boost from an unlikely new alliance of progressive Democrats and libertarian-leaning Republicans. The Youth Promise Act …

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/07/youth-promise-act_n_7232340.html

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National:
Police Rethink Long Tradition On Using Force

Amid the largest debate over policing since the 1991 beating of Rodney King,a  small but vocal set of law enforcement officials are calling for a rethinking of the 21-ft. rule and other axioms that emphasize how to use force, not how to avoid it …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/05/us/police-start-to-reconsider-longstanding-rules-on-using-force.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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National:
Obama To Unveil Nonprofit For Young Minorities After Baltimore Unrest

President Obama will announce the creation of an independent non-profit
organization that is a spinoff of his My Brother’s Keeper initiative. He established the initiative to address the lack of opportunities for young men from …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/05/us/politics/obama-my-brothers-keeper-alliance-minorities.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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National:
Police Killings Rise Slightly, Though Increased Focus May Suggest Otherwise

Determining the prevalence of killings of black males by police is no easy matter. The use of force by police — against minorities and whites alike — is so poorly monitored that there is no precise accounting of how many citizens are killed …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/01/us/no-sharp-rise-seen-in-police-killings-though-increased-focus-may-suggest-otherwise.html

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National:
The Painful Price Of Aging In Prison: Even As Harsh Sentences Are Reconsidered, the Financial — And Human — Tolls Mount

Today, prisoners 50 and older represent the fastest-growing population in crowded federal correctional facilities. Some prisons have needed to set up geriatric wards, while others have effectively been turned into convalescent homes …

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/national/2015/05/02/the-painful-price-of-aging-in-prison/

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National:
Why American Jails May Drastically Curtail Inmate Phone Calls

Every time an inmate picks up a phone, that facility receives a percentage of the cost of the call, typically around 50% … which has grown to a $1.2B/year business. But upcoming regs could mean that sheriffs may eliminate calls …

http://www.ibtimes.com/why-american-jails-may-drastically-curtail-inmate-phone-calls-1904855?ft=95p2z

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National:
Opinion: Why This Professor Finds The Term “Mass Incarceration” “Entirely Useless”

“It’s not mass incarceration,” says U.C. Riverside ethnic studies professor Dylan Rodríguez. “It’s selective, it’s targeted, it’s structured in race, class, gender, and so forth. It is not mass incarceration. We’ve got to stop saying that …

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/01/mass-incarceration_n_7185640.html

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National:
The Light in the Shadow: Unique, Powerful Documentary Sheds Light on Prison Reform Through Heartfelt Stories

A new Kickstarter campaign is seeking to raise funds for a new documentary on prison reform, “The Light in the Shadow.” It contains heartfelt stories that reveal the horrors and the very dark side of prison. Interviews with former inmates …

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/the-light-in-the-shadow-unique-powerful-documentary-sheds-light-on-prison-reform-through-heartfelt-stories-300076978.html

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Alabama:
Prison Reform Will Be A Wise Investment

Alabama, like many states, spends far too much money imprisoning people on mandatory drug sentences. A prison reform bill being considered by the state Legislature would not just save money. It holds out the possibility of …

http://www.decaturdaily.com/opinion/editorials/prison-reform-will-be-a-wise-investment/article_6ffa2373-00ea-5b54-b53e-7f41c5dc3215.html

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California:
Activists Campaigning For More State Funds To Help The Formerly Incarcerated

The proposition that reduced drug possession and other nonviolent crimes from felonies to misdemeanors is also reducing California’s lock-up expenses, creating a multi-million-dollar surplus. It’s also prompting a campaign to …

http://newamericamedia.org/2015/05/activists-campaigning-for-more-state-funds-to-help-the-formerly-incarcerated.php

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Illinois:
Lawsuit Leads To New Limits On Solitary Confinement At Juvenile Prisons In Illinois

A settlement to a lawsuit will sharply limit the practice of solitary confinement in juvenile correctional facilities run by the state of Illinois. The settlement requires that juveniles spend at least eight hours a day outside their cells …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/05/us/politics/lawsuit-leads-to-new-limits-on-solitary-confinement-at-juvenile-prisons-in-illinois.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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Maryland:
Marilyn Mosby, Prosecutor In Freddie Gray Case, Takes A Stand And Calms A Troubled City

Shortly before she became the youngest top prosecutor in any major American city, Marilyn J. Mosby had tough words about how the nation’s criminal justice system had handled mistreatment of black men by the police. “It’s been 78 days since …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/02/us/marilyn-mosby-prosecutor-in-freddie-gray-case-seen-as-tough-on-police-misconduct.html

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Maryland:
Opinion: Freddie Gray Didn’t Magically Kill Himself; Police Leak Showed No Respect For Baltimore’s Anger

Whoever at the Baltimore Police Department leaked this clearly relied upon us not understanding how much physical force is required to nearly sever one’s own spine and crush a voice box, all while handcuffed …

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/121683/freddie-gray-didnt-magically-kill-himself

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Maryland:
Structural Accountability After Freddie Gray

Those of us who have lived or worked in Baltimore for years know that the city’s devastation started long before the recent tragedy involving Freddie Gray and the ensuing protests. Decades of overreliance on incarceration and policing as …

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/bs-ed-freddie-gray-legacy-20150505-story.html

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Maryland:
1968 And The Invention Of The American Police State

Many have looked back to Baltimore’s 1968 Holy Week Uprising to understand the conflict currently gripping the city. But today’s events have roots less in that year’s civil unrest and more in the nationwide law-and-order movement that was …

http://www.citylab.com/crime/2015/04/1968-and-the-invention-of-the-american-police-state/391955/

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Maryland:
Baltimore’s Polite Police Reform: The Softer Side Of Justice Department Intervention

Six months before Baltimore exploded in anger at the city’s police, DOJ officials were already busy examining the record of brutality and misconduct that had plagued the force for years. But unlike other cities that have …

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/05/02/baltimore-s-polite-police-reform?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm

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Massachusetts:
What Does It Take for the Feds to Investigate a Police Department?

Residents and community activists in Boston have united to file a petition to the DOJ to persuade the federal government to launch an investigation into the Boston Police Dept. The petition alleges that Boston police have a pattern of using …

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/criminal-justice/what-does-it-take-for-the-feds-to-investigate-a-police-department/

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Missouri:
This Tiny Town Near St. Louis Is Making Minor-Crime Arrests At 100 Times The National Average

A new study of policing in the St. Louis area reveals a startling statistic about arrests for minor crimes made in one tiny municipality of 574. Between 2010 and 2014, Beverly Hills made an average of 1,087 arrests per 1,000 residents …

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/04/st-louis-county-arrests-police_n_7206002.html

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Oklahoma:
Governor Fallin Signs Sentencing Reform Bill

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill that will allow judges to impose shorter sentences for some nonviolent crimes. House Bill 1518 allows judges to depart from mandatory minimum terms if they believe the minimum sentence is …

http://www.kswo.com/story/28974242/governor-fallin-signs-sentencing-reform-bill

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Pennsylvania:
Recidivism Rates Drop in Pennsylvania State Prison System

PA Dept. of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel announced what he called “exciting” statistics on recidivism in the state corrections system demonstrating that prison reform efforts are showing concrete results in the area of public safety …

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/recidivism-rates-drop-in-pennsylvania-state-prison-system-300079669.html

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Wisconsin:
The Milwaukee Experiment: What Can One Prosecutor Do About The Mass Incarceration Of African-Americans?

Like many people in the criminal-justice system, the DA in Milwaukee County, has been concerned for a long time about the racial imbalance in American prisons. In Wisconsin, African-Americans constitute only 6% of the population but 37% of …

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/05/11/the-milwaukee-experiment

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