The Fortune Society News Of The Week — the week of September 21, 2015

Sunday, September 20, 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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Ex-Prisoners Tell NYC How To Spend Money

At a West Harlem building nicknamed “The Castle,” run by The Fortune Society, a participatory budgeting meeting in which people suggest how they’d like to see public money spent elicited this: “How about fixing up Rikers Island?” asked …

https://nextcity.org/daily/entry/participatory-budgeting-new-york-city-meetings-ex-prisoners?utm_content=bufferae521&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

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Proposed Rikers Visitation Rules Stir Debate

Recently, City Council members, faith leaders, and activists spoke out against Mayor de Blasio’s proposed restrictions for visitors to Rikers. At a rally on the steps of City Hall, speakers called de Blasio’s plan to limit visitors and physical contact …

http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5882-proposed-rikers-visitation-rules-stir-debate

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Cuomo Responds To Prison-Beating Charges By Citing Officers’ Tough Jobs

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, addressing allegations of medieval beatings in the state prison system, said that correction officers, who work a tough job, “have to make sure they get a certain amount of respect in the job, otherwise they get hurt …

http://www.newsday.com/long-island/politics/spin-cycle/cuomo-responds-to-prison-beating-charges-by-citing-officers-tough-jobs-1.10833927

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James Blake’s Arrest Brings Swift Apologies From New York Officials

An NYPD officer was stripped of his gun and badge as Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bratton issued swift apologies for the rough arrest of James Blake, the retired tennis star. But it was Bratton’s acknowledgment that excessive force …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/11/nyregion/james-blake-new-york-police-officer.html?_r=1

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New York Jail Guards Using Pepper Spray Has Risen Dramatically

Corrections officers’ use of chemical spray — also known as pepper spray — against inmates in city jails has increased dramatically in the past year. For the fiscal year 2015, officials recorded 2,439 redischarges of the agent compared to …

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/exclusive-ny-jail-guards-pepper-spray-rises-article-1.2356345

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Former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik Should Be Given Second Chance At Public Service, Says Advocacy Group, A Just Cause

In a letter to President Obama, an advocacy organization makes its case as to why it believes former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik, who received a felony conviction, should be the next director of the Bureau of Prisons …

http://www.benzinga.com/pressreleases/15/09/m5837971/former-nypd-commissioner-bernard-kerik-should-be-given-second-chance-at

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“So This Is What A Murderer Looks Like.” A Defense Lawyer’s Photos Of Four Women Reentering Society.

Sara Bennett has been a NY criminal defense lawyer for 30 years. It was after completing a photography project that she realized her images could reveal what years before judges and juries court not — a more complete picture of …

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/09/11/so-this-is-what-a-murderer-looks-like?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm

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National:
How Donald Trump Threatens To Blow Up Bipartisan Criminal Justice Reform

Just a few months ago, reformers were celebrating that most of the 2016 GOP pack had signaled that they supported retooling America’s justice system. But the entrance of Donald Trump has changed the dynamic. Now instead of …

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/criminal-justice-reform-gop-primary

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National:
Opinion: Once Again — There Is No “War On Cops.” And Those Who Claim Otherwise Are Playing A Dangerous Game.

“War On Police Sparks National Crime Wave” says one headline. We’re seeing similar rhetoric from GOP presidential hopefuls, including Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Scott Walker. All of this fact-free fearmongering is having an effect …

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2015/09/10/once-again-there-is-no-war-on-cops-and-those-who-claim-otherwise-are-playing-a-dangerous-game/

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National:
The Literal Cost of Solitary Confinement: Why Are Prisoners Forced To Pay Fines When They Are Put In Isolation?

The UN has determined that solitary confinement may amount to torture: It can destroy the mind, sometimes the spirit. And yet many prisons around the country have decided that this punishment alone is not harsh enough …

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/122822/prisons-use-solitary-confinement-empty-inmates-wallets

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National:
Report Details Economic Hardships For Inmate Families

A survey of families who have a member in jail or prison has found that nearly two-thirds struggle to meet their basic needs, including 50% who are unable to afford sufficient food and adequate housing. The report found that costs …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/16/us/report-details-economic-hardships-for-inmate-families.html

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National:
Police Body Cameras Show More Than Just The Facts

While videos of police shootings may help get to the truth of an incident, they also record distraught victims, grieving family members, and citizens exercising their rights to free speech. Cameras may solve one problem but create others …

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/55c385d6d6f1478ba6fece15a2db67df/police-body-cameras-may-solve-one-problem-create-others

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National:
American Criminal Record Exceptionalism

 James B. Jacobs’s new book, The Eternal Criminal Record, documents criminal records’ broad scope, wide availability, and the long, devastating shadow that they cast. In this review, I organize the material in this challenging book into …

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2654382

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Missouri:
Ferguson Commission Report Explains Complex Problems In Plain Language

After nearly 10 months of meetings and an estimated 20,000 hours of work from commissioners and other volunteers, the Ferguson Commission will formally unveil its product — a 198-page repor that recommends …

http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/ferguson-commission-report-explains-complex-problems-in-plain-language/article_b54a66c5-06ff-5823-94d2-0824ddb5dc6b.html

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