The Fortune Society News Of The Week — the week of June 29, 2015

Saturday, June 27, 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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New York City Settles Suit Over Abuses At Rikers Island

NYC has agreed to a settlement in the long-running legal battle over abuses at Rikers Island, the country’s second-largest jail system. The administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio committed to a host of far-reaching reforms in the deal, including …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/23/nyregion/new-york-city-settles-suit-over-abuses-at-rikers-island.html?_r=0

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Opinion: How to Really Fix Rikers

News reports suggest that an agreement with the DOJ will solve the problem of excessive force at Rikers. But unless it takes on the dysfunctional culture at Rikers — enabled by lack of transparency, outdated infrastructure, and hostility to …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/20/opinion/how-to-really-fix-rikers.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share

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Documents Show 112 Rikers Island Employees “Red-Flagged” For Integrity
Issues Still Working At Prison

Meet New York’s Boldest! A jail guard hired by the city Correction Dept. who
“completely forgot” to mention his prior domestic violence arrest. A CO seen on Facebook making gang signs. Another CO with an “affiliation” with …

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/exclusive-112-red-flagged-rikers-employees-working-article-1.2267467

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Ex-Rikers Captain Is Sentenced To 5 Years In Inmate’s Death

A former captain at Rikers Island was sentenced to five years in prison for violating the civil rights of an inmate, Jason Echevarria, who died after swallowing a soap ball under the captain’s supervision. The former captain had requested …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/19/nyregion/ex-rikers-captain-is-sentenced-to-5-years-in-inmates-death.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share

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Correction Officer Accused Of Smuggling Contraband Into Manhattan Detention Complex

A NYC correction officer, an inmate, and two relatives have been accused of smuggling contraband into the Manhattan Detention Complex. The correction officer was arrested after prosecutors said she was found carrying …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/19/nyregion/correction-officer-accused-of-smuggling-contraband-into-manhattan-detention-complex.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share

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Mayor de Blasio Poised To Hire Nearly 1,300 Police Officers

Mayor Bill de Blasio, in a sharp shift from his initial objections, is poised to hire nearly 1,300 additional officers for the New York Police Department, a surprising addition in a in a $78.5-billion budget deal announced by city leaders on …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/23/nyregion/mayor-de-blasio-poised-to-hire-hundreds-of-police-officers.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share

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De Blasio Calls For NYPD To Hire More Black Cops

A day after agreeing to give the NYPD 1,300 more cops, Mayor de Blasio issued an ultimatum to hire more black officers. “We need our force to reflect every element of this city. Speaking plainly, we have not seen as many young men of color …

http://bit.ly/1dgmtmP

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Neighborhood Policing To Expand Across New York, Bratton Says

William J. Bratton, the NYPD Commissioner, says that the extra officers afforded by the budget agreement this week will allow officers to focus on community concerns without being interrupted by 911 calls …

http://nyti.ms/1JiPYTm

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Cuomo To Appoint Schneiderman Special Prosecutor In Police Killing Cases For One Year

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced he would accede to AG Eric Schneiderman’s request to be named special prosecutor for cases in which a police officer kills a civilian — even as the governor noted that he took the step with reluctance …

http://bit.ly/1NaUeSL

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Columbia Becomes First U.S. University To Divest From Private Prison Industry

Columbia will divest from the private prison industry after the Board of Trustees voted to support divestment, making it the first college or university in the United States to do so. This decision means that the university will divest its stocks from …

http://columbiaspectator.com/news/2015/06/22/columbia-will-divest-private-prison-industry

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Why Carlos Montero Has Been In Rikers For Seven Years Without Trial

For those unfamiliar with the pace of NYC justice, the news story “Man Arrested As Teen Has Waited 7 Years In Rikers For Trial” likely came as a shock. Montero is one of hundreds who are incarcerated indefinitely, despite the fact …

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/06/19/why-carlos-montero-has-been-in-rikers-for-seven-years-without-trial?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm

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19 County Task Forces Look To End Recidivism

In hopes of making New York a safer place, formerly incarcerated New Yorkers would receive $3.3 million funded by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to build a positive future through re-entry task forces in 19 counties. The funding was administered by …

http://www.legislativegazette.com/Articles-Top-Stories-c-2015-06-22-92200.113122-19-county-task-forces-look-to-end-recidivism.html

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Car Dealer Fires Former Gang Member After News Story About His Success

Monday, Quante Wright went to work at Lowery Brothers Chrysler Jeep. He sold a 2015 Jeep Cherokee. Then he was fired. Wright was let go a day after he was featured in a news story about the barriers he’s faced on his path from prison to …

http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2015/06/car_dealer_fires_former_gang_member_after_syracusecom_story_about_his_success.html

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Jailed For Being Broke: A Broken Bail System Makes Poor Defendants Collateral Damage In Modern Policing Strategies

A week ago, Jeff Rivera, a construction worker in the Bronx, got in an argument with his wife from whom he is separated. Rivera was arrested and brought to court. He had no reason to expect he’d have to post bail to stay out of jail …

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/jailed-for-being-broke-20150623

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Why Do So Many New Yorkers Have Outstanding Warrants?

In anticipation of Father’s Day, the Brooklyn DA’s Office hosted a two-day initiative called ” Operation Begin Again.” If you had committed a “quality of life” crime — like having a bike on the sidewalk or spitting — you could plead guilty and …

http://www.vice.com/read/why-do-so-many-new-yorkers-have-outstanding-warrants-622?utm

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National:
Robert Reich: Mass Incarceration Is Ruining Us — And Shackling the Economy

The former Secy. of Labor talks about our prison industrial complex and the need for smarter sentencing laws: “Imprisoning a staggering number of people is wrong. The way our nation does it is even worse. We must end mass incarceration …

http://www.salon.com/2015/06/21/robert_reich_mass_incarceration_is_ruining_us_and_shackling_the_economy_partner/

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National:
Justice Lashes Out Against Solitary Confinement In Case About Jury Bias

Courts may “be required” to address “a solitary confinement regime that will bring [an inmate] to the edge of madness, perhaps to madness itself,” Justice Anthony Kennedy writes. A solitary confinement case could make its way to the Supreme …

http://www.buzzfeed.com/chrisgeidner/justice-lashes-out-against-solitary-confinement-in-case-abou#.kwLkmx12V

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National:
Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Inmate With Excessive Force Claim

The Supreme Court made it easier for pre-trial inmates to bring claims against jail officials for using excessive force, ruling that officers will be held to an objective standard about whether the use of force was reasonable …

http://www.politico.com/story/2015/06/jail-inmate-excessive-force-supreme-court-119283.html

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National:
Amnesty: U.S. Doesn’t Meet International Standards For Deadly Police Force

A report released by Amnesty International found that states lack statutes that require officers to use deadly force only as a last resort to protect officers or others against imminent threat of death or serious injury. It also found that 13 states …

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/06/18/amnesty-international-deadly-police-force/28884081/

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National:
Jailhouse Nation: How To Make America’s Penal System Less Punitive And More Effective

Mass incarceration has long since become counter-productive (see article). A recent study by the Brennan Centre for Justice , a think-tank, concluded that states with larger prison populations have no less crime than states with smaller ones …

http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21654619-how-make-americas-penal-system-less-punitive-and-more-effective-jailhouse-nation

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National:
Why Isn’t More Happening To Reduce America’s Bloated Prison Population?

Leaders from both ends of the political spectrum are joining together to reduce the U.S.’s prison population — one of the most harmful legacies of the War on Drugs. So why isn’t more changing …

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/why-isnt-more-happening-to-reduce-americas-bloated-prison-population-20150624

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National:
How the Right Got Religion On Justice: Pat Nolan And A Movement That May Have Found Its Moment

Several Republican Presidential candidates — Rand Paul, Jeb Bush, Rick Perry, and Ted Cruz — have been embraced by Right on Crime, a campaign to promote “successful, conservative solutions” to the punitive excesses of law and order …

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/06/22/how-the-right-got-religion-on-justice?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm

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National:
Uncovering Securus’ Profits

Securus — a prison phone industry giant — is in a pretty profitable business. The company and its competitors vie for monopoly contracts to provide phone service in prisons and jails.  But Securus exemplifies the industry’s obscene penchant for …

http://www.prisonpolicy.org/blog/2015/06/19/securus-profits/

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National:
Announcing The 2015 Soros Justice Fellows

The Open Society Foundations awarded $1.2 million to the 2015 class of Soros Justice Fellows who bring a diverse set of life experiences and skills to their work. Among the 15 fellows selected are formerly incarcerated people, journalists …

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/announcing-the-2015-soros-justice-fellows-300101758.html

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Arkansas:
Report: Incarcerating Mentally Ill People 20 Times More Costly Than Treatment

The cost to prosecute and incarcerate a mentally ill prisoner over a year’s time is about 20 times higher than the cost to provide the same person with crisis treatment and counseling, according to a new report …

http://arkansasnews.com/news/arkansas/report-incarcerating-mentally-ill-people-20-times-more-costly-treatment

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Florida:
What Kale And Arugula Have To Do With Reducing Recidivism

Many of the mangos on James Jiler’s kitchen counter were nurtured and picked by at-risk youth, halfway house residents, and the formerly incarcerated. As the executive director of Urban Greenworks, Jiler provides green jobs and …

http://www.care2.com/causes/what-kale-and-arugula-have-to-do-with-reducing-recidivism.html

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Maryland:
Autopsy Of Freddie Gray Shows “High-Energy” Impact

Freddie Gray suffered a single “high-energy injury” to his neck and spine — most likely caused when the police van in which he was riding suddenly decelerated, according to a copy of the autopsy report …

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/freddie-gray/bs-md-ci-freddie-gray-autopsy-20150623-story.html#page=1

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Maryland:
“Just-Us” Aims To Help The Formerly Incarcerated

Helping prisoners who have done their time make a smooth transition back into society has been a nearly a lifetime in the making for Phyllis Hardy. Growing up with incarcerated family members and working with some of the jailed population …

http://www.wmdt.com/news/more-local-news/-Just-Us-aims-to-help-the-formerly-incarcerated/33664226

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Mississippi:
Opinion: Former Mississippi Corrections Chief Says Private Prisons Don’t Save States Money — They Should Be Eased Out

The Mississippi DOC Task Force is set to issue its recommendations regarding Mississippi’s future with for-profit prisons. I encourage them to recommend the state begin to phase out for-profit prisons and use the savings to …

http://www.clarionledger.com/story/opinion/2015/06/18/johnson-using-state-private-prisons-saves-money/28921147/

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South Dakota:
South Dakota Governor Tells How He Enacted Prison Reforms, Saved Money

After South Dakota’s imprisonment rate rose faster than the national average between 2001 and 2011, Republican Gov. Daugaard set out to change that. A 2013 law helped avoid building two new prisons, which would have cost $224 million …

http://www.thecrimereport.org/news/crime-and-justice-news/2015-06-sd-gov-on-prison-reform

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Virginia:
Virginia Organizing Responds To Governor’s Voting Rights Announcement

Virginia Organizing leaders were present as Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that formerly incarcerated individuals will no longer need to satisfy all court costs and fees in order to have their civil rights restored by the Governor …

http://augustafreepress.com/virginia-organizing-responds-to-governors-voting-rights-announcement/

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International:
Part Four: How Germany Treats Juveniles — Inside The German Prison System (Day Four)

Neustrelitz Prison is a juvenile facility, but whereas in the United States the word “juvenile” usually refers to those under 18, the 150 men and women at this German institution are almost all between 19 and 25. They’re housed in …

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/06/19/how-germany-treats-juveniles

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International:
Part Five: The Stiff Competition to Work in German Prisons (Day Five)

Throughout the U.S., prisons are competing with other industries for job applicants, and they’re losing. In Germany, however, citizens actually compete with each other to work for prisons. In Mecklenburg,  roughly men and women will apply to be …

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/06/22/the-stiff-competition-to-work-in-german-prisons?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm

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