The Fortune Society News Of The Week — the week of October 12, 2015

Thursday, October 8, 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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A Former Inmate At Rikers Island Becomes One Of Its Overseers

In February 1988, [Fortune Society Senior VP] Stanley Richards was on Rikers awaiting trial on robbery charges. Richards had been in the facility for nearly two years, and he had been in and out on lesser charges before. In that time …

http://www.vice.com/read/inside-man-0000766-v22n10

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Advocates Urge Cuomo To End Shackling Of Pregnant Women

Advocates in fake pregnant bellies and shackles rallied in front of the office of Gov. Cuomo, pressing him to sign a bill to strengthen a law banning the shackling of incarcerated women during childbirth. Tina Tinen [a Fortune Society client]

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/cuomo-pregnant-women-shackling_5611d380e4b0af3706e12eff

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Opinion: NYPD Asks On Routine Traffic Stop, “Are You On Parole Or Probation?”

Marlon, the author, writes: “Driving a rented white 2016 Hyundai Sonata, I was pulled over by a police car around 10 PM. What happened next reignited feelings that could have gotten me killed if not for the echoing of my parents’ advice …

http://www.bkreader.com/2015/10/nypd-asks-on-routine-traffic-stop-are-you-on-parole-or-probation/

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New York Police Will Document Virtually All Instances Of Force

For the first time in its modern history, the NYPD is establishing explicit guidelines — backed by a sweeping new tracking system — for using and documenting force. Every police officer will have to detail virtually every instance when force is used …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/01/nyregion/new-york-police-will-document-virtually-all-instances-of-force.html?_r=0

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Mayor de Blasio Defends NYPD’s New Use Of Force Guidelines

The mayor insists the reform will help keep officers and the public safe by providing clear guidelines on use of force. “This is a powerful reform,” he said. “It complements beautifully what Commissioner Bratton put in place in terms of …

http://www.wnyc.org/story/mayor-de-blasio-defends-nypds-new-use-force-guidelines/

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De Blasio Signs “Bill Of Rights” For NYC Jail Inmates

Every city inmate must receive a “bill of rights,” and jail guards’ use-of-force policies must be publicly disclosed under legislation that Mayor de Blasio just signed. The laws — a package of 8 City Council bills passed earlier this year — are meant to …

http://www.newsday.com/news/new-york/bill-de-blasio-signs-bill-of-rights-for-nyc-jail-inmates-1.10934672

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Will New York Be Last To “Raise The Age”?

New York lags so far behind other states on one criminal justice issue that it could soon be the only state to try 16- and 17-year-olds as adults — a practice that advocates and criminal justice experts say does irreversible damage to …

http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5916-will-new-york-be-last-to-raise-the-age

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Opinion: Bail Reform For Indigent Suspects

New York’s bail system is “intolerable,” Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman declared. The state’s top judge outlined ways to provide relief from what he called a “two-tiered system of justice, one for those with money and one for those without …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/03/opinion/bail-reform-for-indigent-suspects.html

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Opinion: Brutalized Behind Bars In New York State

Charges of gratuitous beatings and torture by corrections officers in the NYS prison system are attracting federal scrutiny. Though it is hard to fathom, the state system for disciplining officers who batter inmates is even worse than in the city jails …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/30/opinion/brutalized-behind-bars-in-new-york-state.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share&_r=0

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Opinion: How To Deal With Prison Brutality — It’s Time To Take These Cases Away From Local Prosecutors

With almost metronomic regularity, investigative reports have shed light on a lawlessness that seems to  pervade the prisons of New York, says Eliot spritzer, former New York Governor and AG. From Rikers to Attica, Clinton to …

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/10/05/how-to-deal-with-prison-brutality?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm

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“Lockdown on Rikers”: Shocking Stories From New York’s Toughest Jail

Mary Buser spent a decade working on Rikers.  A new book, “Lockdown on Rikers: Shocking Stories of Abuse and Injustice at New York’s Notorious Jail,” chronicles her experience of that time. What you’ll learn is …

http://www.thetakeaway.org/story/lockdown-rikers-view-inside-new-yorks-toughest-jail/

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How Rikers Drove My Innocent Patient To Plead Guilty

One of the hardest lessons during my five years at Rikers came in the case of 23-year-old inmate Chris Barnett, who was driven by the brutality of the jail to confess to a crime he didn’t commit. Chris hobbled into the clinic on crutches and …

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/10/rikers-island-plea-bargains-213223

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New Charge Against Ex-Rikers Guard Accused In Inmate’s 2012 Death

A former NYC correction officer implicated in the beating death of a Rikers inmate could, if convicted, face up to life in prison after a federal grand jury in Manhattan upgraded the charges against him.  The former officer was arrested …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/30/nyregion/new-charge-against-ex-rikers-guard-accused-in-inmates-2012-death.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share

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Prison Inmates Put A Name To A Feared Guard Known As Captain America

Inmates at the Clinton Correctional Facility in northern New York said the guards who beat them in the days after a brazen escape in June wore no name badges and did not identify themselves. But one guard, the inmates said, stood out …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/02/nyregion/prison-guard-known-as-captain-america-is-feared-on-upstate-cell-block.html

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NYC Will Pay $150G To Settle Lawsuit From Man Claiming Jail Guards Beat Him During Visit To Rikers Island

It’s not even safe for visitors to Rikers Island. The city is paying $150,000 to settle a Queens man’s lawsuit alleging that he was beaten by guards after complaining about getting the run-around in the central visiting room at Rikers …

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/exclusive-rikers-guards-beat-jail-visitor-lawsuit-article-1.2379274

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“Soldier On” Receives Grant To Provide Services For Formerly Incarcerated Veterans

The federal Department of Labor awarded $300,000 to Soldier On, an organization that provides job training, educational opportunities, and housing services for veterans who are transitioning back into the community following incarceration …

http://news10.com/2015/10/07/soldier-on-receives-grant-to-provide-services-for-formerly-incarcerated-veterans/

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National:
Criminal Justice Reformers Just Secured A Major Victory: A Bill That Could Pass The Senate — The Sentencing Reform And Corrections Act, Explained

A group of senators has introduced a bill they call “the biggest criminal justice reform in a generation” — an effort that, unlike other bills, actually has a shot at moving through the chamber. The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act

http://www.vox.com/2015/10/1/9432017/sentencing-reform-corrections-act

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National:
Opinion: Toward Saner, More Effective Prison Sentences

The sentencing reform bill introduced in the Senate falls far short of what is needed, but it is a crucial first step on the long path toward unwinding the federal government’s decades-long reliance on prisons as the answer to every ill …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/04/opinion/sunday/toward-saner-more-effective-prison-sentences.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share

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National:
House Lawmakers Push Reduced Prison Time For Some Offenders, Similar to Senate Bill

In a rare move for the bitterly partisan House, Republicans and Democrats have come together to propose major legislation that would reduce prison sentences for some nonviolent drug offenders. The House bill comes just a week after …

http://www.startribune.com/house-bill-would-cut-prison-time-for-some-offenders/331225741/

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National:
U.S. To Release 6,000 Prisoners As Part Of Sentencing-Reform Campaign

The Bureau of Prisons plans to release 6,000 prisoners at the end of October, implementing a decision to slash the number of incarcerated drug offenders by nearly half. The nationwide releases will be the largest in …

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-prison-release-20151006-story.html

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National:
100 A-List Celebs Join Movement To Reduce Prison Population And Reform Mandatory Minimums

Amy Schumer, Steph Curry, Ed Norton, Jesse Williams, Chris Pine, Russell Simmons, and Piper Kerman are among the nearly 100 celebrities calling for reform to our criminal justice system. The stars are joining the campaign led by …

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tony-newman/100-a-list-celebs-join-movement-to-reduce-prison-population-and-reform-mandatory-minimums_b_8247506.html

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National:
Justice Department Trials System To Count Killings By U.S. Law Enforcement

The US. government is trying a new open-source system to count killings by police around the country, in the most comprehensive official effort so far to accurately record the number of deaths at the hands of law enforcement …

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/oct/05/justice-department-trials-system-count-killings-us-law-enforcement-the-counted

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National:
High Cost Of Inmates’ Phone Calls May End

The Federal Communications Commission will decide  whether to limit rates and service fees for phone calls made by prison and jail inmates. The commission is seeking to regulate the industry which has been criticized for overcharging …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/01/us/fcc-seeks-to-limit-and-lower-costs-of-inmates-phone-calls.html

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National:
Ford Foundation Appoints Michelle Alexander, Prominent Civil Rights And Legal Scholar, As Senior Fellow

The Ford Foundation has appointed legal scholar and author Michelle Alexander as a Senior Fellow contributing to the foundation’s work on democracy, rights, and justice. Alexander is a renowned and respected civil rights lawyer whose work …

https://www.virtualpressoffice.com/publicsiteContentFileAccess?fileContentId=2161458&fromOtherPageToDisableHistory=Y&menuName=News&sId=&sInfo=

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National:
Whole Foods Suppliers Defend Using Prison Labor

The food companies that used prison labor to sell products at Whole Foods are defending their programs, saying they provide inmates with new skills and rehabilitation. Whole Foods, under pressure from prison reform advocacy groups …

http://abcnews.go.com/Business/foods-suppliers-defend-prison-labor/story?id=34258597

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California:
Prison Reforms Have Not Yielded Savings — Or Spike In Crime

Changes in California’s justice system four years ago have not saved the state money or reduced the recidivism rate as proponents had promised, but the changes also did not produce a feared spike in violent crime …

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/sep/29/prison-reforms-have-not-yielded-savings-or-spike-i/

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California:
California’s Racial Profiling Law Is “Terrible” Legislation, Police Officials Say

Gov. Brown signed legislation mandating that California law enforcement agencies collect — and make public — data on the racial makeup of those encountered by police. “It’s a terrible piece of legislation,” said the president of one police union …

http://www.latimes.com/local/crime/la-me-brown-reax-20151005-story.html

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California:
San Francisco Is Changing Face Of AIDS Treatment

San Francisco is turning the tide against HIV and serving as a model for other cities. The city that was once the epidemic’s ground zero now has only a few hundred new cases a year, the result of creative programs that …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/06/health/san-francisco-hiv-aids-treatment.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share&_r=1

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Maryland:
Opinion: Let The Press In Society Won’t Fix A Prison System It Can’t See

Prison authorities assert that letting reporters in is dangerous and disruptive, but their greater concern seems to be public relations. When our reporter sought access to a Maryland prison for an interview with …

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/10/05/let-the-press-in?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm

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