The Fortune Society News Of The Week — the week of May 18, 2015

Monday, May 18, 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 Hosts Its Annual Spring Soiree

On Tues., May 12, Examiner.com joined hundreds of young philanthropists to raise awareness and support for The Fortune Society, a non-profit organization offering services to formerly incarcerated men and women. The event took place at …

http://www.examiner.com/article/the-fortune-society-hosts-its-annual-spring-soiree

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The Fortune Society And MAC Cosmetics Transform 30 Formerly Convicted Women For Mother’s Day

In honor of Mother’s Day, MAC Cosmetics sent stylists to The Fortune Society’s “The Castle” in Harlem to give 30 formerly incarcerated women make-overs. The Fortune Society has partnered with MAC Cosmetics’ AIDS Fund for the past …

http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/1349326-mac-cosmetics-transforms-30-formerly-convicted-women-for-mothers-day/

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Poll: New Yorkers Support Police Focus On Quality-Of-Life Offenses

An opinion poll found that more NYC voters than not — white, black, and Latino — want the police to combat so-called “broken windows” offenses with arrests or summonses for behavior like public drinking, small-time marijuana dealing, and …

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Opinion: William Bratton On Bridging The Cop-Community Divide

Like the murders of Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu back in December, the death of Police Officer Brian Moore, shot in the head this month while stopping a man with a long criminal record, has hit us hard in the NYC Police Department …

http://m.nydailynews.com/opinion/william-bratton-bridging-cop-community-divide-article-1.2215958

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Opinion: Kerik On Criminal Justice Reform Should Be Key In 2016 Election

Former NYC Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, a strong advocate for reforms to the nation’s criminal justice system after serving time in prison, said that reforms need to be one of the “top five domestic issues on the next president’s plate” …

http://www.newsmax.com/Newsmax-Tv/kerik-c-span-washington-journal-book/2015/05/09/id/643652/

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NYC To Launch Young Women’s Initiative To Boost Prospects Of Minority Youth

The city will launch a new Young Women’s Initiative to complement its Young Men’s Initiative to boost the prospects of minority youth. The new project will target black and Latino girls and young women to improve their education and …

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/nyc-launch-young-women-initiative-boost-youth-article-1.2221450

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Course Correction: College Behind Bars Gets a Big Boost

Most recently, the Andrew Mellon Foundation awarded $1 million to the Center for Justice and the Heyman Center for the Humanities, both at Columbia University, to support the “Justice-in-Education” initiative over the next three years …

http://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2015/5/11/course-correction-college-behind-bars-gets-a-big-boost.html

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National:
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Get Hired

Last week, 27 senators asked President Obama to take executive action to ban federal agencies and contractors from asking about applicants’ criminal histories until later in the hiring process. The movement is known as “Ban the Box” …

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/121775/ban-box-people-criminal-records-it-works

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National:
Opinion: The Great Purple Issue Of Criminal Justice Reform

What do Hillary Clinton, Rand Paul, Cory Booker, Tim Scott, Elijah Cummings, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Van Jones, John Kasich, Koch Industries, and the Tea Party-aligned group FreedomWorks have in common? They all agree on …

http://thehill.com/opinion/lanny-davis/241285-lanny-davis-the-great-purple-issue-of-criminal-justice-reform

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National:
Opinion: Presidential Candidates Begin To Turn Page On Law-And-Order Politics

One of Hillary Clinton’s potential Republican opponents chided her for being late to the prison-reform game. That says a lot about an emerging bipartisan consensus on criminal justice policy in America. With any luck, that consensus will lead to …

http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/editorials/article20536368.html

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National:
Opinion: Senators See Bipartisan Momentum For Criminal Justice Overhaul

Senators’ plans for an overhaul of the criminal justice system are piling up in the Judiciary Committee — and the latest spate of officer-involved tragedies could give them a boost. While many bills touching all aspects of criminal justice sit idly by …

http://blogs.rollcall.com/wgdb/senators-see-bipartisan-momentum-for-criminal-justice-reform/?dcz=

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National:
Opinion: No. 1 Public Enemy of Criminal Justice Reform — The Election

For the first time in decades, a consensus is building behind reform of the criminal justice system. But will the 2016 election get in the way? It is not clear how much longer this policy debate can continue without dividing along partisan lines …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/14/upshot/no-1-public-enemy-of-criminal-justice-reform-the-election.html?_r=1&abt=0002&abg=0

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National:
Older Prisoners, Higher Costs: A Tough, New Report Says It’s Time For Federal Prisons To Release The Elderly And Infirm

The Justice Department bluntly issued yet another public call to the Bureau of Prisons to quicken the pace of its efforts to release more elderly and infirm inmates from federal custody. In an extensive report that criticized federal prison officials …

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/05/06/older-prisoners-higher-costs?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm

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National:
Human Rights Watch: U.S. Prisons Use Excessive Force On Mentally Disabled Prisoners

Mentally disabled prisoners experience “unnecessary, excessive, and even malicious force” at the hands of prison staff across the U.S., said a new report by Human Rights Watch which found excessive force used in many instances when …

http://jurist.org/paperchase/2015/05/hrw-us-prisons-using-excessive-force-on-mentally-disabled-prisoners.php

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National:
Adding Pepper Spray To The Prison Arsenal

This March, most federal correctional officers started carrying pepper spray. It was a big policy shift for the Bureau of Prisons, which had long been opposed to arming its employees, saying weapons could be taken by inmates and used …

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/05/12/adding-pepper-spray-to-the-prison-arsenal?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm

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National:
Counties Examine Police Training In Encounters With Mentally Ill

At a time when excessive use of force by police is taking center stage in the national conversation, another concern is gaining traction: how to train officers to recognize and interact with people who have a mental illness, and how to divert …

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/05/06/counties-examine-police-training-in-encounters-with-mentally-ill

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National:
Solitary Confinement: Common Misconceptions And Emerging Safe Alternatives

Segregated housing, commonly known as solitary confinement, is increasingly being recognized in the U.S. as a human rights issue. While the precise number of people held in segregated housing is not known, estimates run to …

http://www.vera.org/pubs/solitary-confinement-misconceptions-safe-alternatives

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National:
National Association For Public Defense Policy Statement On The Predatory Collection Of Costs, Fines, And Fees  In America’s Criminal Court 

The collection of costs, fines, and fees in too many criminal courts across the
United States are predatory in nature and an economic failure. These predatory
practices impact poor people in catastrophic and life altering ways and …

https://www.themarshallproject.org/documents/2081725-napd-statement-on-predator-collection-practices?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm

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National:
What Private Prisons Companies Have Done To Diversify In The Face Of Sentencing Reform

Both GEO Group and CCA have taken moves to diversify into services that don’t involve keeping people behind bars. GEO acquired the world’s largest producer of monitoring equipment for people awaiting trial or serving out probation …

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-05-13/what-private-prisons-companies-have-done-to-diversify-in-the-face-of-sentencing-reform

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National:
Provision Aims To Get “Smart On Juvenile Justice”

Tear down more state youth prisons, and spend the money saved on community-based alternatives to incarceration. Doing so, juvenile justice advocates say, would reduce overall youth crime and recidivism, keep nonviolent offenders from …

http://jjie.org/provision-aims-to-get-smart-on-juvenile-justice/

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National:
Opinion: Too Many People in Jail? Abolish Bail

Why are so many people — particularly poor people of color — in jail awaiting trial? Usually, it is because they can’t afford bail. This is a national problem. We are locking people up for being poor. We should abolish monetary bail …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/09/opinion/too-many-people-in-jail-abolish-bail.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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National:
Opinion: Abolish Prison

Prison is about the most astonishingly stupid and inhuman way to punish crime. It is inexplicable that it is the main crime punishment we use. The alternatives are plentiful, and easy, and all better. But, first, why is prison so awful …

http://theweek.com/articles/553661/abolish-prison

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Alabama:
Prison Reform Bill On The Way To Governor’s Desk

A sweeping piece of legislation to reform Alabama’s prisons and avoid a federal takeover is on its way to Gov. Robert Bentley who plans to sign the bill. Among its wide-ranging effects, the bill calls for $26 million to be used to hire 100 …

http://www.wsfa.com/story/29009731/prison-reform-bill-on-the-way-to-governors-desk

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California:
Inquiry To Examine Racial Bias In The San Francisco Police

First came disclosures of racist and homophobic text messages exchanged by officers of the SF Police. That was followed by the discovery that sheriff’s deputies had been gambling on forced fights between inmates at a city jail. Then …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/08/us/san-francisco-police-department-racial-bias-investigation.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=1

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California:
LA County Supervisor Wants To Give Companies Incentives To Hire Ex-Cons

Employers are often reluctant to hire the formerly incarcerated, according to LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis. She’s proposing using the county’s contracting process to give employers an incentive to hire the formerly incarcerated …

http://www.scpr.org/news/2015/05/11/51566/supervisor-wants-to-incentivize-hiring-ex-cons/

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California:
Incarceration To Convocation

An ex-con turned UC Berkeley researcher, Danny Murillo is one of thousands of formerly incarcerated persons struggling to re-enter society. How does someone like Murillo, who statistically should be back behind bars, end up at a place like …

http://www.dailycal.org/2015/05/10/incarceration-to-convocation/

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Colorado:
Video Of Police Behaving Badly: New ACLU App To Prevent Cops From Deleting It

To prevent the possibility of police confiscating a phone or forcing the owner to delete a video, the ACLU is developing a new app that will keep such images from disappearing by automatically uploading them to the organization …

http://www.westword.com/news/video-of-police-behaving-badly-new-aclu-app-to-prevent-cops-from-deleting-it-6705373

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Colorado:
One Dark Side Of The Criminal Justice System That Everyone Should Know

James Burns was six years old and was being subjected to two weeks of solitary confinement at a hospital in Denver. He had been taken to the facility after repeatedly acting up in school and running away from home. He says …

http://mic.com/articles/116806/one-dark-side-of-the-criminal-justice-system-that-everyone-should-know

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Florida:
Florida Governor Issues Order Reforming Prisons

Gov. Rick Scott has signed an executive order which makes significant reforms in Florida’s prison system to improve safety, transparency, and accountability. “The steps outlined in today’s order present a clear path forward for …

http://www.wtvy.com/home/headlines/Florida-Governor-Issues-Order-Reforming-Prisons-303123511.html

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Georgia:
Georgia CALLS Expands Program, Adds Shifts And Staff

Georgia CALLS, a unique 501(c)3 non-profit that helps high-risk, returning citizens make a successful transition from incarceration back into society as business entrepreneurs, is growing. The organization is adding 10 new …

http://newswire.net/newsroom/pr/00088618-georgia-calls-expands-program-adds-shifts-staff.html

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Illinois:
Human Rights Practices Inform Chicago Ordinance In Police Torture Case

For nearly 20 years, Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge and his “midnight crew” allegedly tortured at least 119 people, forcing them to make confessions. Last week, the City Council approved compensation to Burge’s victims, most of them …

http://chicagoreporter.com/human-rights-practices-inform-chicago-ordinance-in-police-torture-case/

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Illinois:
Formerly Incarcerated Moms and Moms Whose Children Were Killed By Police In Mother’s Day Vigil Outside Cook County Jail

The Illinois DOC estimates that 80-85% of incarcerated women are mothers of minor children. That means a whole lot of moms visited their kids inside jail or prison this Mother’s Day. Given the many barriers to visitation, many moms …

http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/human-interest/61118-formerly-incarcerated-moms-and-moms-whose-children-were-killed-by-police-to-hold-mother-s-day-vigil-speak-out-and-balloon-action-outside-cook-county-jail-on-may-9.html

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Illinois:
As Medical Industry Grows, Activists Want Opportunities For Ex-Offenders

As the medical industry grows, there are thousands of jobs that formerly incarcerated people could have access to. But the first step, says Victor Dickson of the Safer Foundation, is to persuade industry leaders to give a second chance …

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-hospital-jobs-for-ex-offenders-met-0408-20150507-story.html

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Maryland:
Justice Department To Launch Full-Scale Investigation Of Baltimore Police

U.S. AG Loretta Lynch plans to launch a full-scale civil rights investigation into use of force by the Baltimore police. The decision came as local officials pressed the DOJ to launch an inquiry similar to investigations in Ferguson, MO, and …

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/politics/blog/bs-md-lynch-mikulski-hearing-20150507-story.html

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Maryland:
Report: Baltimore City Jail Refused To Admit Nearly 2,600 Injured Suspects, Casting Doubt On Police Tactics

Thousands of people have been brought to the Baltimore city jail in recent years with injuries too severe for them to be admitted, newly released records show. Correctional officers refused to admit nearly 2,600 detainees who …

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/2-500-people-injuries-baltimore-jail-article-1.2217561

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Maryland:
Running From Police Is The Norm, Some In Baltimore Say

Young men in the heavily policed neighborhood where Freddie Gray was chased by the police — and suffered fatal injuries — say running from officers is a way of life, passed down on the streets the way girls learn double dutch by …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/11/us/running-from-police-is-the-norm-some-in-baltimore-say.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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Massachusetts:
Taking My Students To Prison

Every semester, my students from Voices Behind Bars, a class I teach at Middlesex Community College in Massachusetts, go to prison. They used to visit state institutions but now that the Massachusetts state prisons do not offer tours …

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/30700-taking-my-students-to-prison#

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Minnesota:
What Would A “More Humane” Justice System Look Like?

With police shootings, prison crowding, and other critical criminal justice issues in the news more than usual over the last year, activists are talking about criminal justice “reform;” but what shape should that reform take? That’s the subject of …

http://www.thecrimereport.org/news/inside-criminal-justice/2015-05-coming-for-election-year-criminal-justice-reform-blu

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Ohio:
Tamir Rice Investigation Mostly Complete, But Sheriff Won’t Impose “Politically Expedient” Deadline

While the investigation into the death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice at the hands of a Cleveland police nears an end, Cuyahoga County Sheriff Clifford Pinkney refuses to set a deadline, despite claims from the boy’s family that …

http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2015/05/tamir_rice_investigation_mostl.html#incart_m-rpt-1

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Texas:
Lawmakers Could Slow Spread Of Video-Only Jail Visitations

Prison phone service companies like Dallas-based Securus Technologies have found a new way to profit from their captive audience: video visitation systems. In the last two years, at least 25 jails in Texas have installed video terminals that…

https://www.texasobserver.org/lawmakers-could-slow-spread-of-video-only-jail-visitations/

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Texas:
Perry Calls For “Common Sense” Reforms To Criminal Justice System

In a new video, former Texas governor and likely 2016 Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry called for prison and sentencing reforms to reduce incarceration rates in the U.S. “There’s a growing debate in America today about …

http://freebeacon.com/issues/perry-calls-for-common-sense-reforms-to-criminal-justice-system/

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