The Fortune Society News Of The Week — the week of July 20, 2015

Saturday, July 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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Education from the Inside Out Coalition Praises President Clinton for Admitting Past Mistakes; Citing Importance Of In-Prison Education

The Education from the Inside Out Coalition applauds Bill Clinton for admitting his administration’s criminal justice policies were “wrong” and citing the need to reverse some of those policies — specifically around in-prison education …

http://us2.campaign-archive2.com/?u=6751308e3d172ca5babb9a346&id=4a5247ab70&e=b9f54ee04b

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Cuomo Agrees With Obama Over “Incarceration Madness”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo lined up with President Obama to end what he described as “incarceration madness.” The governor championed numerous civil rights issues and called for “true justice” on several fronts, including prison reform …

http://nypost.com/2015/07/15/cuomo-agrees-with-obama-over-incarceration-madness/

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New York Attorney General Creates Special Unit On Killings By The Police

The NY AG has formed a special unit to investigate cases in which people killed by the police are unarmed or serious doubts exist about whether they were armed and dangerous. He said he is responding to a “crisis in confidence” in …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/10/nyregion/new-york-attorney-general-now-investigating-police-killings-forms-special-unit.html?_r=0

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Eric Garner Case Is Settled By New York City For $5.9 Million

NYC reached a settlement with the family of Eric Garner, agreeing to pay $5.9M to resolve a wrongful-death claim over his killing by the police on Staten Island. The agreement, reached a few days before the anniversary of Mr. Garner’s death …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/14/nyregion/eric-garner-case-is-settled-by-new-york-city-for-5-9-million.html?_r=0

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Eric Garner’s Family Says Settlement Will Not Stall Push For Police Reform

Eric Garner’s relatives were quick to distance themselves from the $5.9 million they received, emphasizing that the payment would not mute their push for police reform, nor would it soften their loss …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/15/nyregion/eric-garners-family-says-settlement-will-not-stall-push-for-police-reform.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share&_r=0

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Opinion: One Step Toward Justice In The Garner Killing

There are obscenities surrounding the Garner case. They involve brutality and impunity, the overaggressive policing of minor offenses, and a criminal justice system that fails the poor and communities of color. There is much more to do …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/15/opinion/one-step-toward-justice-in-the-garner-killing.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share

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Opinion: A Year After Eric Garner, Closing The Great Police-Community Divide

Although it began in tragedy, 2015 promises to be a tipping-point year for the New York City Police Department, says Commissioner Bill Bratoon. “Last year was marked by nationwide unrest focused on police actions, and ended with …

http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/bill-bratton-closing-great-police-community-divide-article-1.2288627

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City Settles Suit With Beaten Rikers Inmates For $3.5 Million

A dozen men who sued the city over being beaten by correction officers at Rikers Island have settled for a total of more than $3.5 million. Mark Nuñez, the lead plaintiff in the suit, settled for $75,000. He had claimed …

http://nypost.com/2015/07/14/city-settles-suit-with-beaten-rikers-inmates-for-3-5-million/

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Federal Monitor Proposes Larger Trial Of Body Cameras For New York Police

New Yorkers would be more likely to encounter a police officer wearing a body camera under a vast new trial program recommended by the federal monitor for the Police Department. But the monitor argues in his first report that a broader …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/10/nyregion/federal-monitor-proposes-larger-trial-of-body-cameras-for-new-york-police.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share

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NYPD Tracking Officer Data On Lawsuits, Complaints

The NYPD is trying to root out its problem officers and monitor patterns of potential misbehavior by creating a database that combines information from several city agencies on lawsuits, misconduct complaints, internal probes, and …

http://m.apnews.com/ap/db_268748/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=Tt0SFEcQ

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Opinion: The Problem With NYC’s Bail Reform — It Trades One Burden For Another

NYC unveiled a plan to eliminate cash bail for many charged with low-level or nonviolent crimes. This could reshape pretrial detention. But there are  tremendous pitfalls, and the proposed cure may be nearly as bad as the disease …

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/07/09/the-problem-with-nyc-s-bail-reform?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm

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Opinion: Prison Reform? NYC Set To Offer Non-Bail Option For Nonviolent Offenses

NYC should go a step further and abolish cash bail for all those accused of misdemeanors and non-violent felonies. “At any given time, nearly 40% of the Rikers population is there because because they can not afford to pay their bail” …

http://sentinelrepublic.com/prison-reform-nyc-set-to-offer-non-bail-option-for-nonviolent-offenses/24581/

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Opinion: Trapped by New York’s Bail System

Imagine you are accused of a misdemeanor or a nonviolent felony in New York. The judge sets a low bail, maybe $500, but even that is too much for you. So you sweat it out on Rikers, waiting for a trial months, even years away …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/10/opinion/trapped-by-new-yorks-bail-system.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share

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New York Police Department Is Undercounting Street Stops, Report Says

Some NYC police officers have been stopping people for questioning but not documenting the encounters as required, calling into doubt the official accounting of a significant decline in stop-and-frisk activity, according to the first report of …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/10/nyregion/some-new-york-police-street-stops-are-going-undocumented-report-says.html

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Youth Programs Imperiled After New York Changes How Grants Are Awarded

At least a dozen youth programs across New York City are now imperiled after they failed to make it past a state agency’s new grant-award process that several nonprofit leaders described as cumbersome and confusing. The agency …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/13/nyregion/youth-programs-imperiled-after-new-york-changes-how-grants-are-awarded.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share

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Court Observers Learn Stories Behind New York’s Jaywalkers And Subway Scufflers

Michael Gayed, a street vendor, appeared in Manhattan criminal court accused of violating Subsection 1-05(b) of Section 56 of the Rules of New York City. “You wound up in court — for selling smoothies?” …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/12/nyregion/court-observers-learn-stories-behind-new-yorks-jaywalkers-and-subway-scufflers.html

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National:
Obama Outlines Criminal Justice Reform Plan After Years Of Police Killings And Protests

As President Barack Obama nears the end of his second and final term in the Oval Office, he is pushing to fulfill his promises to overhaul America’s criminal justice system. He revealed his plans after taking the podium in Philadelphia …

https://news.vice.com/article/obama-outlines-criminal-justice-reform-plan-after-year-of-police-killings-and-protests

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National:
“Justice and Redemption Go Hand in Hand.” A Closer Look At The President’s Speech On Criminal Justice Reform

Whether or not you agree with President Obama about the need for criminal justice reform, it is undeniable the speech he delivered to the NAACP broke new ground. No sitting president has ever publicly spoken in such detail as …

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/07/15/justice-and-redemption-go-hand-in-hand?ref=hp-1-111?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm

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National:
Opinion: Education And Rehabilitation Should Be Top Of Obama Prison Reform,  Expert Says       

The President’s remarks are well-taken. But nothing he said is news to imprisoned people, who know the problems that stretch from the street to courts to the cell block. We would do well to listen to what they have been telling us for decades …

http://www.newswise.com/articles/education-and-rehabilitation-should-be-top-of-obama-prison-reform-hamilton-expert-says

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National:
Obama Will Make First-Ever Presidential Visit To A Federal Prison

President Obama will visit El Reno prison, a medium-security facility in Oklahoma, as part of his push for criminal justice reform, making him the first ever sitting President to visit a federal prison. El Reno houses about …

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/obama-vice-federal-prison-visit

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National:
Obama Commutes Sentences for 46
Drug Offenders

President Obama commuted the sentences of 46 convicted criminals kicking off a new effort to try to achieve lasting changes in the criminal justice system. Most had spent years in jail for dealing cocaine and other drug offenses. Some have …

http://nypost.com/2015/07/13/obama-lets-46-convicted-criminals-out-of-prison-in-push-for-justice-reform/

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National:
Opinion: A More Historic Act Of Clemency

While there’s still time, the president should consider an act of clemency that measures up to history: pardoning every marijuana offender. A few things bear mention: a commutation simply shortens jail-time; unlike a pardon, it doesn’t …

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/07/a-more-historic-act-of-clemency/398468/

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National:
Factbox: Criminal Justice Reform Bills Stalled In U.S. Congress

President Barack Obama is making a push to reform the U.S. criminal justice system. But legislative solutions have stalled in Congress. Here’s a look at where criminal justice reform bills stand in Congress …

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/13/us-usa-justice-reform-factbox-idUSKCN0PN2GU20150713

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National:
Opinion: “Shovel Ready” Ways To Reduce Costs Of Federal Incarceration

Here are some “shovel ready” ideas for the majority of federal inmates who are non-violent (primarily drug) offenders. #1 is to send home the old and sick.  We have an aging population in prison just as we do in society …

http://www.forbes.com/sites/walterpavlo/2015/07/16/shovel-ready-ways-to-reduce-costs-of-federal-incarceration/

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National:
Opinion: White House Admits Marijuana Prohibition Is Racist

A new White House report admits that marijuana’s illegality is contributing to racial inequalities in America. “A black individual is nearly four times as likely as a white individual to be arrested for marijuana possession, even though …

http://www.marijuana.com/blog/news/2015/07/white-house-admits-marijuana-prohibition-is-racist/

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National:
ICE Releases Hundreds Of Women, Children From Detention

Immigrations and Customs Enforcement has released some 200 Central Americans, mostly women and children, from family-detention centers. The move is part of a sweeping series of changes the agency has made in recent months to …

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/07/15/ice-releases-hundreds-of-women-children/30173915/

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National:
History Of Abuse Seen In Many Girls In Juvenile System

As many as 80% of the girls in some states’ juvenile justice systems have a history of sexual abuse, says a report, “The Sexual Abuse To Prison Pipeline: The Girls’ Story.” The report recommends that girls who have been sexually trafficked …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/09/us/girls-in-juvenile-facilities-often-abused-report-says.html

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National:
Set Free, Senior Convicts Struggle To Re-Enter Society

Nationwide, there are about 250,000 prisoners over the age of 50. Because of stricter laws and mandatory minimums, many have served decades. When they are released, they are at a unique disadvantage, as the world they are re-entering is …

http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/america-tonight/articles/2015/7/6/set-free-senior-convicts-struggle-to-re-enter-society.html?utm_content=main&utm_campaign=ajam&utm

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National:
Behind A Push On Youth Jobs: A Rising Philanthropist And New Approach To Equity

A group of U.S. employers has formed to address the youth employment crisis, which has grown in recent years. Starbucks, with a workforce that is 80% millenials, is playing a lead role, and its CEO, Howard Schultz, has been …

http://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2015/7/15/behind-a-push-on-youth-jobs-a-rising-philanthropist-and-new.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed

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National:
What Are Correction Officers So Afraid Of? Besides The danger, Being Ignored

If you’re a correction officer, you know what each day is likely to have in store: a treadmill of stress and nastiness in an environment outsiders rarely think about. But for all the power COs have in their role as jailers, a new study shows …

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/07/13/what-are-correction-officers-so-afraid-of?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm1

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Alabama:
Opinion: Can Alabama’s Prison Reform Plan Be A National Model?

Gov. Robert Bentley told a Congressional committee that Alabama’s prison reform law could be a “model of prison reform for the rest of the nation.” While Bentley was explaining how Alabama’s plan will cut the prison population …

http://www.al.com/opinion/index.ssf/2015/07/post_152.html

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California:
A Second Chance At Success: Stanford Students Help Formerly Incarcerated People Become Entrepreneurs

Stanford Law School’s Project ReMADE is a pro bono boot camp for formerly incarcerated people seeking to start their own businesses. The 12-week program teaches basic business skills to aspiring entrepreneurs and helps them …

http://news.stanford.edu/news/2015/july/remade-standalone-video-071515.html

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Florida:
Scott Orders Additional Prison Reforms

Fla. Gov. Scott issued an executive order that furthers prison-reform measures being put in place by DOC Secretary Julie Jones. Scott’s order requires an independent audit of the agency’s operations and creates a partnership between …

http://www.northescambia.com/2015/07/scott-orders-additional-prison-reforms

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Indiana:
Opinion: Social Impact Bonds Can Help Solve Difficult Social Problems

Our non-profit, RecycleForce, is a social enterprise providing life-changing employment and workforce training to formerly incarcerated individuals by offering some of the most comprehensive and innovative recycling services in Indiana …

http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/labor/247933-social-impact-bonds-can-help-solve-difficult-social-problems

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New Jersey:
Christie Joining Call For Prison Reform

Two days after President Obama called for an end to racial disparities in prison sentencing, Gov. Christie will be in Camden, NJ  to offer his plan for criminal justice reform, joining several other presidential candidates in speaking out on …

http://www.northjersey.com/news/christie-joining-call-for-prison-reform-1.1374678

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Pennsylvania:
Black Cops Vanishing In Philadelphia

In Philadelphia, where 44% of the population is black, where the mayor and police commissioner are black, and where the NAACP is holding its annual convention, the Police Dept. is curiously fading to white …

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20150713_Black_cops_vanishing_in_Philadelphia.html

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Texas:
From A First Arrest To A Life Sentence

Sharanda Jones — prisoner 33177-077 — struggled to describe the moment in 1999 when a federal judge sentenced her to life in prison after her conviction on a single cocaine offense. She was a first-time, nonviolent offender …

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/national/2015/07/15/from-a-first-arrest-to-a-life-sentence/

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Virginia:
Workshop Focuses On Restoring Rights For Formerly Incarcerated People

The Fredericksburg Chapter of Virginia Organizing is partnering with the local registrar’s office to hold a restoration of civil rights workshop for formerly incarcerated people. Duane Edwards is a returning citizen who …

http://www.fredericksburg.com/news/local/workshop-focuses-on-restoring-rights-for-formerly-incarcerated-people/article_f3144c3d-d296-5b15-96e4-3f6a6f433ea9.html

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Washington:
Study Finds Harsh Prison Sentences Swell Ranks Of Lifers And Raise Questions About Fairness

Stricter state sentencing laws in Washington have swelled the ranks of inmates serving life sentences to nearly one in five. And some lifers, who opted to go to trial, are serving much longer sentences than others who plea-bargained …

http://phys.org/news/2015-07-harsh-prison-sentences-lifers-fairness.html

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