The Fortune Society News Of The Week — the week of July 6, 2015

Sunday, July 5, 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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Glenn Martin’s “Prison-Like” White House Experience

After criminal justice advocate — and former Fortune VP — Glenn Martin — was nearly denied access to a White House event he was invited to, he’s waiting for an explanation. In an open letter to President Obama, Martin revealed …

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/glenn-martins-prison-like-white-house-experience/

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David Rothenberg: Teaneck Native Pens Journey For Social Justice In Book

Fortune founder David Rothenberg’s life was forever changed when he got involved with the play “Fortune and Men’s Eyes,” a drama that exposed him to the brutal realities of the nation’s prison system. Here he’s interviewed about …

http://www.northjersey.com/arts-and-entertainment/books/man-pens-journey-for-social-justice-in-book-1.1367077

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This Is Rikers: From The People Who Live And Work There

 As long as the City of New York has owned Rikers Island, since the 1880s, it has been a place for the unwanted. For a time, pigs were raised for slaughter there. Not longer afterward, the island was converted to a landfill, full of horse manure …

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/06/28/this-is-rikers?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm

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Mixed Messages For New Correction Officers

The DOC promoted its largest cadre of cadets yet under Commissioner Ponte, a week after the city settled a lawsuit that seeks to bring greater scrutiny and polsicy changes that will effect the day-to-day jobs of correction officers on Rikers …

http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2015/06/8571204/mixed-messages-new-correction-officers

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Bill de Blasio Signs Law To Ban Employers From Asking Job Candidates About Criminal History

Mayor de Blasio signed legislation that will prohibit employers from inquiring about a candidate’s criminal record prior to a job offer. “Today I see hope for people like me,” said Marilyn Scales, 52, of the Bronx, who …

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/bill-de-blasio-signs-don-law-criminal-records-article-1.2275728

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What’s Behind New York State’s Elderly Prison Boom?

These last 15 years, NY did what almost all other states couldn’t — it dramatically reduced its prison population.  The reforms were wide-ranging, but they left one group behind — the elderly. The rapid increase in people over 50 …

http://www.prisonpolicy.org/blog/2015/06/29/boom/

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Police Department To Redefine Chokehold To Match City Council Bill

The NYPD is poised to narrow its definition of a chokehold, adopting language from a City Council bill aimed at criminalizing police use of the maneuver. The department, however, has not dropped its opposition to the bill; in fact …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/30/nyregion/police-department-to-redefine-chokehold-to-match-city-council-bill.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share&_r=0

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Court Affirms It’s Completely Legal To Swear Loudly At Police

Good news for the First Amendment: NY’s highest court ruled that going on a profanity-laden rant during an encounter with police does not constitute disorderly conduct. The Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that police don’t have cause to …

http://gothamist.com/2015/06/28/curse_the_nypd.php

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Judges Replacing Conjecture With Formula For Bail 

Setting bail is a difficult task for judges. They must try to foretell whether the defendant is likely to commit another crime, hurt someone, or skip out on the next court date. Now comes help in a distinctly modern form — an algorithm …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/27/us/turning-the-granting-of-bail-into-a-science.html

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NYPD A Long Way Off From Matching City’s Racial Makeup

The two Police Academy graduating classes since Commissioner Bratton took office were just 10% African-American — far below the 16% figure for black cops currently on the force. He has a long way to go to comply with …

http://nypost.com/2015/06/24/nypd-a-long-way-off-from-matching-citys-racial-makeup/

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De Blasio And Bratton Debut “Neighborhood Policing” Plan With Beefed-Up NYPD

Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Bratton rolled out “One City: Safe And Fair — Everywhere,” a plan they promised would give New Yorkers a more “intimate” relationship with the NYPD by familiarizing citizens with their local cops …

http://observer.com/2015/06/de-blasio-and-bratton-debut-neighborhood-policing-plan-with-beefed-up-nypd/

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National:
Distraught People, Deadly Results: Officers Often Lack The Training To Approach The Mentally Unstable, Experts Say

The Washington Post is compiling a database of every fatal shooting in the U.S. by a police officer in the line of duty in 2015 and is tracking more than a dozen details about each killing — including the race of the deceased, the circumstances …

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/investigative/2015/06/30/distraught-people-deadly-results/

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National:
House Lawmakers Unveil Bipartisan Criminal Reform Bill

A bipartisan pair of lawmakers unveiled a criminal reform bill aimed at reducing the federal prison population. The Safe, Accountable, Fair, and Effective Justice Act from Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and Bobby Scott (D-Va.) calls for …

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/246229-house-lawmakers-unveil-bipartisan-criminal-reform-bill

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National:
Federal Judge: My Drug War Sentences Were “Unfair And Disproportionate”

Former Federal Judge Nancy Gertner presided over trials for 17 years. And Sunday, she denounced most of the punishments she imposed. Among 500 sanctions she handed down, “80% I believe were unfair and disproportionate …

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/06/federal-judge-my-drug-war-sentences-were-unfair-and-disproportionate/397130/

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National:
Opinion: Unlocking The Potential Of All Americans 

Says Tom Perez, Secretary of Labor: “For so many people going through the criminal justice system, it can be hard to get back on their feet after they walk out of prison. But if you’ve paid your debt to society, there’s no reason you should be …

https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/06/26/unlocking-potential-all-americans

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National:
Study Finds Widespread Support For Prison Phone Reform

72% of Americans support regulating the commissions that sheriffs’ departments demand in exchange for providing phone services to inmates. This information was determined through a recent poll of over 600 voters nationwide …

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/study-finds-widespread-support-for-prison-phone-reform-300106937.html

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National:
Jeb Bush Says Baltimore And Ferguson Protests Caused By Lack Of “Mentoring”

Former FL Gov. Jeb Bush is on the campaign trail and discussing the origins of the mass protests in Ferguson and Baltimore: “Kids are aimlessly wandering around in their lives because they’ve never been told they were capable of learning …

http://thinkprogress.org/election/2015/06/29/3675488/jeb-bush-says-baltimore-ferguson-protests-caused-lack-mentoring/

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Alabama:
State Prison Overcrowding

Alabama’s state prisons were built to hold 13,000 inmates. They currently house over 25,000.That makes Alabama prisons among the most crowded in the nation, and state politicians fear the crowding may soon bring federal intervention to …

http://apr.org/post/state-prison-overcrowding-marriage-license-confusion

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Arizona:
As Other States Seek Prison Alternatives, Arizona Stays Tough On Crime

Cheap. Mean. Stuck. That’s how researchers describe the prison system in Arizona — one of the few states that has not adopted substantial reforms despite high rates of imprisonment, recidivism, and the cycles of poverty often associated with …

http://azdailysun.com/news/local/as-other-states-seek-prison-alternatives-arizona-stays-tough-on/article_91bdc0b7-828d-50ce-b9cf-157fbb886b3d.html

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Connecticut:
True Reform Emerged From Special Session

While CT legislators came together to mop up the mess of the overflowing state budget, something rare happened — they put aside political differences and  acted in bipartisan fashion to vote for substantial criminal justice reform that addresses …

http://www.ctpost.com/news/article/True-reform-emerged-from-special-session-6360088.php

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Florida:
Tampa Non-Profit Gets $5M Labor Grant To Help Formerly Incarcerated Find Work

Among $59 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Labor, Tampa’s AMIkids Inc. will receive $5 million to help improve employment opportunities for formerly incarcerated youth and adults. This grant is one of 15 in the …

http://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/news/2015/06/25/tampa-nonprofit-gets-5m-labor-grant-to-help.html

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Missouri:
Justice Dept. Report Says Police Escalated Tensions In Ferguson

When heavily armed police swarmed the streets of Ferguson, MO, after the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man, they only worsened tensions and made it harder to regain public confidence and control, a report from the DOJ concluded …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/01/us/draft-justice-dept-report-says-police-escalated-tensions-in-ferguson.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share

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New Jersey:
New Jersey Moves To Keep Kids Under 15 From Adult Court

Unlike legislation in other states, New Jersey’s juvenile-justice bill would prevent the cases of teenagers under 15 from being transferred to adult court under any circumstances, even murder. That would make New Jersey unique …

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/06/25/new-jersey-moves-to-keep-kids-under-15-from-adult-court?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm

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Oregon:
Opinion: “Banning The Box” Doesn’t Go Far Enough

Recently, the Oregon Senate approved the “ban the box” House Bill 3025. It’s unfortunate the law will ultimately not accomplish that much in getting ex-offenders hired because “banning the box” doesn’t go far enough. That’s because …

http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2015/06/banning_the_box_doesnt_go_far.html#incart_2box_opinion_index.ssf

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