The Fortune Society News Of The Week — the week of June 1, 2015

Monday, June 1, 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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EPA Provides Nearly $200,000 For Green Job Training Of Formerly Incarcerated People

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded The Fortune Society a $192,300 workforce development and job training grant to help fund Fortune’s program to train formerly incarcerated people in green jobs. The jobs involve …

http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/0/2c28b19dd1bd916a85257e5100652fa5?OpenDocument

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Criminal Justice Reform Demands Political Leadership, Not Editorials

Says David Rothenberg, founder of The Fortune Society: “In spite of all the media and the politicians’ and reformers’ cries for accountability, the hundreds of  thousands in prisons find their daily lives unchanged.  The atmosphere is dismal …

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/davidrothenberg/criminal-justice-reforms-demands-political-leadership-not-editorials_b_7378776.html

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Opinion: Gov. Cuomo On Why It’s Time To Raise The Age Of Criminal Responsibility

“Since I took office in 2011, I have taken steps to reform our juvenile justice system to make our communities safer while also ensuring that young offenders get the help they need to get on the right track, leading positive, crime-free lives. So far …

http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/andrew-cuomo-true-justice-young-offenders-article-1.2236468

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Cuomo’s Criminal-Age Proposal Faces Resistance In Senate

The NYS Assembly is close to an agreement with Gov. Cuomo over his proposal to raise the age of criminal responsibility, but its prospects in the Senate remain uncertain. Earlier, he said he would push to increase that age to 18 so that …

http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/albany/2015/05/8568660/cuomos-criminal-age-proposal-faces-resistance-senate?top-featured-1

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Shorter Sentences, Shrinking Prisons: A New Report Could Have A Big Impact On New York’s Prison Population — If Anyone Pays Attention

A new report by key NY criminal justice players recommends major changes to the state’s sentencing system. The report would reduce the length of prison sentences and broaden eligibility for probation and other alternatives to …

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/05/26/shorter-sentences-shrinking-prisons?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm

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NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton Says Some People Using Cellphones To Film Cops Hinder Arrests

NYC’s top cop wants to press pause on aggressive street videographers who record the actions of officers, often interfering with legitimate arrests. In some cases, the cell-sporting citizens are actually “agitating the situations,” said …

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/bratton-people-film-cops-hinder-arrests-article-1.2230052

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Opinion: Widespread Warrant Amnesty A Dangerous Idea For NYPD

In the latest maneuverings over how the NYPD will enforce quality-of-life laws, the mayor’s office and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton are floating the idea of erasing some of the city’s 1.2 million outstanding arrest warrants …

http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/editorial-nypd-warrant-amnesty-dangerous-idea-article-1.2227052

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NYC Arrestees Now To Be Evaluated By Nurse Before Being Sent To Jail

People arrested will now be evaluated by a nurse practitioner before they are sent to jail, under a pilot program launched at Manhattan Central Booking.  Currently, all detainees are screened by city EMTs, who decide whether they need …

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-arrestees-nurse-jail-article-1.2227414

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Rikers Island Visitor Busts Bolster Calls For Limits On Inmate Contact

Four visitors were busted trying to smuggle blades and drugs into Rikers Island in recent weeks, bolstering the city’s calls for stricter limits on inmate-visitor contact during visits to the jail. The Correction Dept. wants to block visitors from …

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/rikers-visitor-busts-bolster-calls-inmate-contact-limits-article-1.2230485

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Ex-Captain At Rikers Island Deserves “Substantial” Prison Term, U.S. Says

Federal prosecutors want a former Rikers captain to be sentenced to a “substantial term” in prison, though less than the 10-year maximum penalty, in a civil rights case that highlighted the failures of NYC’s jails to accommodate the needs of …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/19/nyregion/ex-rikers-captain-deserves-substantial-prison-term-us-argues.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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National:
White House Ban On Militarized Gear For Police May Mean Little

While the White House announced it would ban police from obtaining some military-style equipment from the U.S. government, an analysis of that data showed that the banned equipment represented just a misuscule portion of …

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/05/21/407958035/white-house-ban-on-militarized-gear-for-police-may-mean-little

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National:
Opinion: Time Is Ripe For National Prison Reform

After a decades-long stampede to view prisons and long, mandatory sentences as the best ways to stem high crime, the nation is coming to its senses. Now, we are seeing the destructive effects of that policy. With lives to be salvaged and …

http://www.newsday.com/opinion/editorial/time-is-ripe-for-national-prison-reform-1.10463714

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National:
Congresswoman Lee Leads Effort Urging President Obama To Ban The Box

Over 70 members of the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to President Obama to adopt a federal fair chance hiring policy.  The government should not be in the business of erecting barriers between those who have made a mistake …

http://www.socialworkhelper.com/2015/05/23/congresswoman-lee-leads-effort-urging-president-obama-ban-box/

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National:
Charging Inmates Perpetuates Mass Incarceration

At least a few localities in nearly every state impose “pay-to-stay” fees on prisoners for everything from medical costs, to food, to clothes. These fees are difficult for the often indigent prisoners to pay, and can make successful reentry …

https://www.brennancenter.org/publication/charging-inmates-perpetuates-mass-incarceration

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National:
Opinion: The Myth of the Hero Cop3 — Police Officers Earn More Than You Think For A Job That’s Less Dangerous Than You Imagine

While the rules that unfairly protect the police must be changed, it is also time to re-examine the foundation of these policies: the public perception — lovingly curated by police unions — of the very nature of police work …

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2015/05/the_myth_of_the_hero_cop_police_unions_have_spread_a_dangerous_message_about.html

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National:
How To Lock Up Fewer People

Today, nearly everyone acknowledges that our criminal justice system needs fixing, and politicians across the spectrum call for reducing prison sentences for low-level drug crimes and other nonviolent offenses. But this consensus glosses over …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/24/opinion/sunday/how-to-lock-up-fewer-people.html?_r=0

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Alabama:
Madison County Has Success With Jail Reform, Hopes State Sees Similar Results With New Law

Alabama Gov. Bentley signed a new bill that will drastically reduce the state’s prison population but it isn’t the first time a government entity has pushed for inmate reform. Madison County attempted something similar two years ago and …

http://www.waff.com/story/29129370/madison-county-has-success-with-jail-reform-hopes-state-sees-similar-results-with-new-law

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Maryland:
Six Baltimore Police Officers Indicted In Death Of Freddie Gray

A Baltimore grand jury returned indictments against the six officers charged in the in-custody death of Freddie Gray. Reckless endangerment charges were added against all six officers, while false imprisonment charges were …

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/freddie-gray/bs-md-freddie-gray-officer-indictments-20150521-story.html#page=1

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Mississippi:
DOJ: Hinds County Jails “In Crisis”

The DOJ released a 29-page report detailing systemic deficiencies which contribute to serious harm and risk of harm at the jail facilities in Hinds County, Mississippi. The DOG found that the jails are “facilities in crisis” …

http://www.clarionledger.com/story/news/2015/05/21/doj-releases-report-on-hinds-county-jails/27718779/

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Missouri:
St. Louis County Admits It Has A Jail Problem, Is Finally Getting Help

Using police and courts to generate revenue, unsurprisingly, has ruined relationships between officers and citizens. But things didn’t really hit rock bottom until a police officer in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson shot and killed …

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/27/st-louis-county-jail-problem_n_7446850.html

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Nebraska:
Legislature Passes First Steps On Corrections Reform

Two measures aimed at addressing concerns with Nebraska’s prisons and criminal justice system passed with overwhelming support from state lawmakers. The first bill takes aim at what happens behind bars, boosting oversight of the …

http://beatricedailysun.com/news/state-and-regional/legislature-passes-first-steps-on-corrections-reform/article_e6048551-a000-5614-b691-cc32a97f3f6a.html

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Ohio:
Peterson Agrees With Prison Reform Idea

Ohio State Senator Peterson says he’s in the same camp as Ohio Prison Director Mohr on the topic of prison reform. The prison population contains inmates who probably should be serving a different sentence other than behind bars …

http://www.buckeyecountry105.com/articles/local-news-stories-226193/peterson-agrees-with-prison-reform-idea-13619861/

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Vermont:
Bennington College’s “Incarceration In America” Conference A
ddresses Mental Health In Jails

The Center for the Advancement of Public Action at Bennington College hosted a panel discussion that explored the treatment of incarcerated individuals with mental and public health issues and discussed alternative solutions to such treatment …

http://www.benningtonbanner.com/localnews/ci_28149696/bennington-colleges-incarceration-america-conference-addresses-mental-health

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Global: Sweden Has Fewest New Prisoners In Six Decades

Last year 8,943 people were sentenced to a stint in Sweden’s jails, the lowest figure in more than six decades. That’s because sentence periods for drug-related crimes have halved over the past decade. “A major explanation for the shorter …

http://www.thelocal.se/20150526/sweden-has-least-new-prisoners-in-modern-times

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