The Fortune Society News Of The Week — the week of June 15, 2015

Friday, June 12, 2015

A wide-ranging collection of news and opinion from the previous week focusing on criminal justice policy, advocacy, and reform.


New York City Council Passes “Fair Chance Act!”

Last week, NYC became the largest city in the nation to adopt a fair chance hiring policy so people with criminal records have an opportunity to work. The NYC Fair Chance Act (Intro 318) is one of the strongest ban-the-box policies …


The Brief And Tragic Life Of Kalief Browder 

In 2010, Kalief Browder was a boy of 16, sent to Riker’s for a crime he didn’t commit. He sat there for three years without a trial, two in solitary confinement, and was repeatedly beaten by guards and inmates. Last week he hanged himself …


Ex-Rikers Island inmate Kalief Browder’s Suicide Spurs Calls For Prison Reform 

Mayor de Blasio vowed to push reforms at Rikers after the weekend suicide of a 22-year-old man who had been held for three years without being convicted of a crime. “There is no reason he should have gone through this ordeal …


Interview: Stanley Richards On The High Cost Of Delayed Justice

An audio interview with Fortune’s Stanley Richards on the injustice of Kalief Browder and Rikers. Stanley Richards knows Rikers from the inside out. Once an inmate at the prison, Richards now serves on the NYC Board of Corrections …


Opinion: Want To Help Kalief Browder By Pushing For Reform At Rikers? These 4 Ways Could Change The New York Justice System 

Kalief Browder’s family is asking that New York Mayor Bill de Blasio quickly institute the reforms that he proposed for Rikers Island so that no one will have to endure what Browder did. Here are four things you can do to help …


No Bail, Less Hope: The Death Of Kalief Browder

Before it was about the suicide of a tormented young man, the story of Kalief Browder was about bail. He was jailed because he couldn’t pay $3,000. About 2/3 of America’s jail population are behind bars awaiting trial. And five out of six …


A Life That Frayed As Bail Reform Withered

In 2013, the chief judge of NYS spoke about his “critically important concern” over a practice that strips our justice system of its credibility.” That would be holding people accused of a crime, but not convicted, in jail on bail even though …


Proposal To Revamp New York State Prison Will Save Money And Help Families

A proposal to revamp New York state’s prison sentencing system will not just save taxpayers money and restore fairness, but it will also help families of inmates cope with the social and economic impacts of having a parent behind bars …


NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton Says It’s Hard To Hire Black Cops Because Too Many Have Criminal Histories

The NYPD has a hard time hiring black men to become police officers because too many have criminal records, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said. He put at least part of the blame on the nYPD’s use of the controversial tactic stop-and-frisk …


Bratton Blames Broken Homes For Anti-Cop Hostility

The breakdown of traditional American family values over the past 50 years is largely to blame for the anti-police hostility seen in New York and across the country, NYPD Commissioner Bratton said. “There is just less respect for …


New York City To End Contract With Rikers Health Care Provider

New York City officials have known for years about serious problems with Corizon Health Inc., the for-profit company that oversees medical care at Rikers. Last week, Maor de Blasio announced that he would not renew Corizon’s contract because …


Former Governor Jim McGreevey And Activist, Writer David Rothenberg At Book Signing

In his book “Fortune in My Eyes,” The Fortune Society founder David Rothenberg writes about working with Lauren Bacall, Elizabeth Taylor, and Richard Burton. He and former NJ Governor Jim McGreevey recently spoke …


David Rothenberg: 2015 Village Award Winner

On June 17, David Rothenberg, founder of The Fortune Society, will receive one of the Annual Village Awards from the Greenwich Village Society For Historical Preservation (GVSHP). Read about “trailblazing activist” Rothenberg here


Bid To Restrict Rikers Visits Meets Resistance

A move to restrict visiting rights on Rikers Island — billed by the Department of Correction as a necessary step to control violence — will face opposition from legal rights groups at a meeting of jail regulators …


Opinion: Why Is New York’s Juvenile Justice System Still Such A Disaster?

Young people born into poverty and domestic strife in NYC don’t exactly cruise into their teens. Because of the tough conditions in which they’re raised, they wind up wandering into the margins by way of an illegal act. Many get stuck with …


Violent Crimes Mar Effort At Less-Restrictive Homes For Children

In 2013, NYC began an experiment in how to more safely deal with children with minor criminal records: house them in small group homes close to their own neighborhoods and provide 24-hour supervision. But problems surfaced quickly …


NYC Corrections Officers Charged In The Beating Death Of Rikers Island Inmate

Rikers corrections officers Brian Coll and Byron Taylor were charged with six combined counts for the beating death of 52-year-old inmate Ronald Spear who was found dead in the jail after suffering blunt force trauma to the head …


Opinion: Romanticizing “Broken Windows” Policing

There has been a recent spike in violent crimes in major cities. What precisely is fueling it is hard to know. But that isn’t stopping the tough-on-crime, fear-mongering iron fist-ers from engaging in wild speculation, including …


Women Changing The Face Of The Formerly Incarcerated

Former Bedford Hills inmate Iris Bowen has gained her independence through education. NYC-based non-profit College and Community Fellowship is helping formerly incarcerated women continue with college, providing …


Opinion: Private Prisons, Public Shame — Prisons Should Not Be Profit Centers

The Constitution prohibits cruel or unusual punishment of inmates. Increasingly, private prisons fail to meet even that minimal standard. One egregious example is the Bureau of Prisons’ contracts requiring 10% of private prison beds to …


Opinion: Prisons Shouldn’t Create Debtors

Many localities fund their criminal justice systems through fees assessed on the incarcerated, the majority of whom are indigent. Revelations that cities like Ferguson, MO,  collect millions from the poor sparked a national debate about …


Opinion: Florida’s High Incarceration Rate Is Unfair To Taxpayers

While crime rates are at all time lows in Florida, the state’s incarceration rates continue climbing. Some might claim that the reason our crime rates are down is that we’ve locked up the bad guys. Research says otherwise …


Opinion: Prison Reform in Maine State Prison

Meaningful prison reform requires leadership. I recognized such leadership when I received an unsolicited e-mail from Michael Tausek, the Deputy Warden at Maine’s State Prison. He reached out because he wanted to do more than talk …


When Bail Is Out of Defendant’s Reach, Other Costs Mount

Defense lawyers, scholars, and even some judges say the high bail amounts set for some Baltimore protesters highlight a much broader problem with the nation’s money-based bail system. They say that system routinely punishes …


Re-entering Society — And The Voting Booth 

Following the uprising in Baltimore, MD Gov. Hogan affirmed that Marylanders who’d been convicted of felonies and done their time should be able to reenter society as free citizens. But he still vetoed a measure that would have …–and-the-voting-booth


State Senate Leaders Call For Criminal Justice Overhaul

Senate leaders are pressing for some of the most substantial changes to Massachusett’s  criminal justice system in decades, part of a national reconsideration of a “tough on crime” approach that swept the country in …


Report: Save $250M A Year With 10,000 Fewer Prisoners

Michigan state government could save $250 million a year and house 10,000 fewer prisoners with reforms to sentencing, parole, and the way convicts serve their time, says a new report from the Citizens Alliance on Prisons & Publlc Spending …


Jewish Fund For Human Needs Announces Grants

Nine agencies in the St. Louis (MO) area will receive $20,950 in grant funding from the Rabbi Robert P. Jacobs Jewish Fund for Human Needs. That includes $3,150 for Let’s Start which aims to break the cycle of incarceration …


North Carolina:
Burlington (NC)  Hosts Symposium On Job Training

StepUp Ministry CEO Steve Swayne said during a symposium in Burlington (NC) that it was key to help find those with a criminal past employment within the first three months of them leaving jail. StepUp Ministry provides job training to …


South Carolina:
Solicitor: Michael Slager Indictment In Walter Scott Shooting Just The Beginning

A grand jury indicted the former North Charleston policeman who fatally shot Walter Scott, marking the second time in the past year that a white South Carolina officer has been formally charged with murder in a black man’s death …


Madison Police Exonerate Officer In Tony Robinson Shooting

The Madison police officer who fatally shot 19-year-old Tony Robinson during an altercation will not be disciplined by the department for the shooting, potentially clearing the way for Officer Matt Kenny to return to patrol …


Categories: News


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