The Fortune Society News Of The Week — the week of August 17, 2015

Friday, August 14, 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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Opinion: Ditch Dirty Harry’s War On Crime

For all the new energy, some think an outrageous crime by an ex-offender could easily derail us. JoAnne Page, president of The Fortune Society, recalled that when a parolee in Massachusetts killed a police officer, the state reversed …

http://www.thecalifornian.com/story/opinion/2015/08/07/ditch-dirty-harrys-war-crime/31292467/

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Opinion: Don’t Blame My “Broken Windows” Theory For Poor Policing

The co-author of an influential approach to police tactics argues it’s been misunderstood: “First of all, broken windows was never intended to be a high-arrest program although it has been practiced as such in many cities …

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/08/broken-windows-theory-poor-policing-ferguson-kelling-121268.html#.VcylvBvD_cs

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De Blasio, Facing Criticism, Is Taking On Homelessness With $22-Million Initiative

The question has leapt from dinner parties to community boards to the nightly news: Why are there so many homeless people in New York? Mayor Bill de Blasio is set to announce a $22-million mental health initiative that …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/06/nyregion/de-blasio-facing-criticism-is-taking-on-homelessness-with-22-million-initiative.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share&_r=0

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Opinion:
Criminalizing Homelessness Is Not The Solution

Although communities sometimes turn to criminalization practices that disperse people experiencing unsheltered homelessness, it is clear such approaches do not help end homelessness and, in fact …

http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs197/1011269667270/archive/1121766880532.html

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Fed-Up Cops Post Pictures Of Vagrants Online

NYPD cops fed up with vagrants making life miserable in the city are taking matters into their own hands — by snapping photos of quality-of-life scofflaws and posting them online. The Sergeants Benevolent Association is spearheading the effort …

http://nypost.com/2015/08/10/cops-are-taking-pictures-of-bums-and-posting-them-online/

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Time To Fix The Mental-Health Horrors That Plague Rikers Island

Prisons aren’t mental hospitals. Despite this, around 40% of the inmate population at Rikers is classified as mentally ill. And reform in this area has been feeble. While Mayor de Blasio’s office has announced a $130-million program …

http://nypost.com/2015/08/10/time-to-fix-the-mental-health-horrors-that-plague-rikers-island/

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Family Of Kalief Browder, Who Killed Himself After Spending 3 Years At Rikers Island As Teen, Plan To file $20M Lawsuit Against NYC

The family of a Bronx man who killed himself after becoming the poster boy for reforming Rikers Island served notice they are suing the city for $20 million. Kalief Browder’s parents said the three hellish years their son spent behind bars …

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/bronx/family-kalief-browder-files-lawsuit-nyc-article-1.2317272

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Should Cops Get to Review the Video Before They Report? Sorry, Mr. Bratton. Science Says No.

The Dept. of Investigation’s IG for the NYPD recommended officers be prevented from viewing recorded footage before giving a statement to investigators. Commissioner Bratton “strongly, strongly disagrees with and will not support …

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/08/13/should-cops-get-to-review-the-video-before-they-report?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm

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After 2 Killers Fled, New York Prisoners Say, Beatings Were Next

Night had fallen at the Clinton Correctional Facility in northern New York when the prison guards came for Patrick Alexander. They handcuffed him and took him into a broom closet for questioning. Then, Mr. Alexander said, the beatings began …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/12/nyregion/after-2-killers-fled-new-york-prisoners-say-beatings-were-next.html?_r=0

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Prison Guards Union Seeks Role In Reform After Escape Of Killers From Clinton State Prison

When it comes time to talk new policies in the wake of June’s escapes from the Clinton Correctional Facility, the state correctional officers union wants a prominent seat at the table. “Our client’s perspective is that we’re going to fully cooperate …

http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Prison-guards-union-seek-role-in-reform-after-6430207.php

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Governors Island Exhibit Highlights Art Made By Prisoners

A new exhibit is helping prisoners escape — through their art. More than 200 artworks created by inmates from across the country are on display on the peeling walls of an old home on Governors Island, part of a show called “Escaping Time” …

http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20150806/governors-island/governors-island-exhibit-highlights-art-made-by-prisoners

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National:
What the Experts Say About Offering Pell Grants To Prisoners

The Obama Administration’s unveiling of a program to make some prisoners eligible for Pell Grants has been long awaited by advocates who have worked to bring higher ed into prisons  the past two decades. But many are still waiting for …

http://m.chronicle.com/article/What-the-Experts-Say-About/232101/?cid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en

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National:
A Year After Michael Brown’s Fatal Shooting, Unarmed Black Men Are Seven Times More Likely Than Whites To Die By Police Gunfire

The disproportionate number of unarmed black men in the body count helps explain why outrage continues to simmer a year after Ferguson — and why shootings that might have been ignored in the past are now coming under …

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/national/2015/08/08/black-and-unarmed/

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National:
Police Shootings Won’t Stop Unless We Also Stop Shaking Down Black People

When you ask why “bad” cops are armed and allowed to patrol the streets, one sees that lurking beneath this violence is a fiscal menace — police departments forced to assist city officials raise revenue, sometimes funding …

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/07/police-shootings-traffic-stops-excessive-fines

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National:
Just Facts: America’s Non-Existent “Spike In Crime”

Newspapers have been filled with disturbing headlines about “spikes in crime.” But those headlines conflict with statistical data showing that we are actually enjoying some of the lowest crime rates in more than half a century. Why then do we …

http://www.brennancenter.org/blog/americas-non-existent-spike-crime

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National:
Buying Access: How Corporations Influence Decision Makers At Corrections Conferences, Trainings, And Meetings

Every year, private corrections companies devote resources to building influence with decision makers in order to find and capitalize on new business opportunities. One key avenue of influence, says a new report

http://www.inthepublicinterest.org/buying-access-how-corporations-influence-decision-makers-at-corrections-conferences-trainings-and-meetings/

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National:
Opinion: The UN Calls This Practice Torture. So Why Is It Still Happening In America?

In 2011, 95,000 young people were held in correctional detention in the U.S. Of the young people incarcerated each year, 35% are isolated in solitary confinement at some point during their imprisonment. The UN Rapporteur on Torture has called …

https://medium.com/@CoryBooker/the-un-calls-this-practice-torture-so-why-is-it-still-happening-in-america-d43bb09d5519

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National:
Opinion: Preventing Suicide In America’s Jails

Suicide has long been a problem in the corrections system where a considerable portion of inmates suffer from mental illness. But new federal data show suicide has reached crisis proportions in jails where psychiatric care appears to be …

http://takingnote.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/08/10/preventing-suicide-in-americas-jails/?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share&_r=0

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National:
The U.S. Hosts 25% Of The World’s Prison Population — These Are The Consequences            

Two experts — Eric Sterling, president of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation and Ann Jacobs, director of the Prisoner Reentry Institute — help break down why we need prison reform and what it means for the 1 in 99 living behind bars …

http://www.mtv.com/news/2214314/commuted-sentences-now-what-reform-prisons/

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National:
Opinion: Why The Voting Rights Act Is Once Again Under Threat

The 2016 election will be the first presidential contest in 50 years where voters cannot rely on the full protections of the Voting Rights Act. New restrictions will be in place in up to 15 states, including Texas, North Carolina, Kansas, Tennessee …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/06/opinion/why-the-voting-rights-act-is-once-again-under-threat.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share

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National:
Opinion: The Supreme Court’s Gap On Race And Juries

There are so many troubling issues surrounding race and the criminal justice system these days that it is easy to forget a longstanding problem — the exclusion of African-Americans from juries. After all, it was nearly three decades ago that …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/06/opinion/the-supreme-courts-gap-on-race-and-juries.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share

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National:
These Programs Are Helping Prisoners Live Again On The Outside

For some prisoners, especially those who have spent years or decades locked up, getting out comes with a mixture of overwhelming joy and anxiety. They often want to start over, but don’t know how to achieve that. They need somewhere to …

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/if-we-want-fewer-prisoners-we-need-more-compassion-when-they-re-enter-society_55ad61a5e4b0caf721b39cd1?hf6crf6r

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National:
Opinion: Faith Communities Adding Urgency To Calls For Prison Reform

America’s faith organizations are calling for reform. Our vast criminal justice system emphasizes punishment over rehabilitation, while our faith traditions preach redemption. It seems wrong for a Christian conscience to support …

http://www.christiancentury.org/blogs/archive/2015-07/faith-communities-adding-urgency-calls-prison-reform

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California:
Los Angeles Agrees To Overhaul Jails To Care For Mentally Ill And Curb Abuse

After disclosures of routine prisoner abuse by the LA County Sheriff’s Dept. — where jailers were found to break prisoners’ bones and sexually humiliate them — the county will submit to sweeping reforms of its jail system, with the goals of …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/06/us/los-angeles-agrees-to-overhaul-its-jail-system.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share

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Maryland:
Opinion: A Disgrace In Baltimore, Discontinued

Approaching its 157th birthday, Baltimore’s jail has been a Dickensian horror for decades — dirty, dank, dangerous, and a disgrace to the city. Gov. Larry Hogan’s announcement that it will no longer be used to warehouse inmates is …

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-disgrace-in-baltimore-discontinued/2015/08/08/161f5a66-3bba-11e5-9c2d-ed991d848c48_story.html

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Massachusetts:
FreeHer: Formerly Incarcerated Women Build a National Network

At FreeHer, a landmark conference in Cambridge, MA, 43 formerly incarcerated women and their allies convened to rally an audience of 300 at Harvard Law School to highlight why this is the time for the U.S. to fund strategies to …

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/32297-freeher-formerly-incarcerated-women-build-a-national-network

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Missouri:
Opinion: St. Louis County, A Year Later

As we pass the one-year anniversary of the beginning of the protests in Ferguson, we’re seeing change come to St. Louis County. It’s hard to say at this point how effective it will be. But things are moving beyond the status quo …

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2014/11/19/what-we-ve-learned-about-racial-disparity-in-policing-since-ferguson?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm

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Texas:
Arlington Officer Fired Four Shots During Deadly Altercation

Rookie police officer Brad Miller fired four shots during his deadly altercation with Christian Taylor. Taylor, the unarmed black teen shot to death during a burglary call, died of gunshot wounds to the neck, chest, and abdomen …

http://www.star-telegram.com/news/local/community/arlington/article30508932.html

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Vermont:
Vermont Is Outsourcing Its Inmates To Private Prisons In Michigan

There are currently hundreds of Vermont individuals being held in a facility in Michigan, with space slotted for as many as 675. Vermont, which has only seven adult in-state correctional facilities, has contracted with private prison companies …

https://www.muckrock.com/news/archives/2015/aug/12/vermont-michigan-prisons/

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Washington, D.C.:
How to Cut the Prison Population (See for Yourself)

A new interactive “prison population forecaster” by the Urban Institute allows you to assess the impact of different policy changes. Halve the sentences for those convicted of property crimes? Inmates in 2021 are down by 10% …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/12/upshot/how-to-cut-the-prison-population-see-for-yourself.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share&abt=0002&abg=1

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Washington, D.C.:
Heritage Foundation Features Alabama Prison Reform In Three-Part Series

The Heritage Foundation, Washington, D.C.-based conservative think-tank, is taking a closer look at the positive effects of criminal justice reform in Alabama. Its news site spotlighted the use of community corrections programs …

http://yellowhammernews.com/politics-2/heritage-foundation-features-alabama-prison-reform-in-three-part-series/

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International:
Opinion: What We Learned From German Prisons

This summer, we led a delegation of people concerned about the U.S. criminal justice system to visit some prisons in Germany and observe their conditions. What we saw was astonishing. The men serving time wore their own clothes …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/07/opinion/what-we-learned-from-german-prisons.html?_r=0

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International:
The Odd Case Of The Norwegian Prison That’s More Like A Resort

Norway’s Bastøy prison is among the nicest — if not the nicest — in the world.  Perhaps the world needs more such establishments. It all depends on whether we want to see prisons as places designed to punish criminals or to reform them …

http://news.softpedia.com/news/the-odd-case-of-the-norwegian-prison-that-s-more-like-a-resort-488859.shtml

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