The Fortune Society News Of The Week — the week of October 19, 2015

Monday, October 19, 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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De Blasio Eyes “Safer And Fairer” Initiative To Replace NYC’s Cash-Based Bail System

As part of his efforts to reform the city’s bail system, Mayor de Blasio announced an initiative that could replace the cash-based method in favor of reminders to get people to show up for court. He argued the bail system often unfairly …

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/de-blasio-eyes-replace-nyc-cash-based-bail-system-article-1.2396346

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Brooklyn Program Erasing Warrants For Low-Level Offenses

NYC has 1.2 million open warrants for all manner of small offenses. Some date back to the 1970s. In Brooklyn, they number 260,000, accumulating at a rate of about 16,000 a year.  Increasingly, legislators, judges and others are asking why …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/08/nyregion/in-brooklyn-an-effort-to-erase-warrants-for-low-level-offenses.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share&_r=1

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New York Leads In Shielding Police Misconduct

Section 50-a of New York’s Civil Rights Law makes personnel records for law enforcement confidential. That includes internal affairs files, civilian complaints, and disciplinary findings. It’s one of the most restrictive policies in the country …

http://www.wnyc.org/story/new-york-leads-shielding-police-misconduct/?utm_source=sharedUrl&utm_medium=metatag&utm_campaign=sharedUrl

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NYPD Doesn’t Want To Talk About Its X-Ray Vans

The NYPD hasn’t (yet) equipped its officers with X-Ray Spex, but it does have mysterious X-ray vans, which they don’t want to talk much about. The Z Backscatter Vans use “whole-body imager” technology to search for drugs …

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/10/nypd-x-ray-vans.html#

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Officer In James Blake Arrest Used Excessive Force, Panel Says

The plainclothes police officer who tackled the retired tennis player James Blake to the sidewalk during an arrest in Manhattan used excessive force, according to an investigation by the Civilian Complaint Review Board …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/08/nyregion/officer-in-james-blake-arrest-used-excessive-force-panel-says.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share

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Opinion: We Don’t Need To Reform America’s Criminal Justice System, We Need To Tear It Down

You can only be proud of the American criminal justice system if you’ve managed to stay far away from it. If you’ve worked in it, been charged by it, or know someone who has, there is a good chance you came away alarmed and rattled by its …

http://www.vice.com/read/a-veteran-brooklyn-cop-and-prosecutor-explains-why-so-many-americans-are-behind-bars-1006

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NYPD Captain Pleads Guilty To Improper Use Of Force For Pulling Gun On Two Kids Playing Tag

An NYPD captain lost 30 days of paid vacation for pointing his gun at two skinny kids harmlessly playing tag on a Brooklyn street — and profanely ordering the pair to drop face down. “Motherf—–, get on the ground!” shouted a hyped-up …

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nypd-captain-facing-charges-pulling-gun-kids-article-1.2390117

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Rikers Island Visitor Sues City, Says Officer Groped Her And Made Her Strip

A city correction officer groped a Rikers visitor and forced her to remove her clothes in front of her 5-year-old daughter, according to a shocking new lawsuit. Dana Grottano, 27, was visiting her boyfriend in jail when she was asked to …

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/rikers-island-visitor-sues-city-guard-groped-article-1.2390358

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Ex-Rikers Guard Sentenced To Prison For Smuggling And Selling Drugs

A former NYC jail guard convicted of smuggling and selling drugs at Rikers has been sentenced to 41 months in prison. The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York said his office would continue pursuing corruption in lockups …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/14/nyregion/ex-rikers-guard-sentenced-to-prison-for-smuggling-and-selling-drugs.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share&_r=0

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National:
Hillary Tells “Black Lives Matter” She’ll End Private Prisons

Hillary Clinton reportedly told leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement she will get rid of private prisons. “She hasn’t released a platform yet about racial justice or criminal equity or criminal justice, so I’m hopeful that this …

http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/256539-hillary-tells-black-lives-matter-shell-end-private

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National:
Opinion: A Step Toward Justice In The Release Of 6,000 Prisoners

When a nation locks up as many people as indiscriminately as the U.S. does, even big numbers start to lose their meaning. Take 6,000. That’s how many federal prisoners are to be released. But more than 2.3 million people are behind bars …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/08/opinion/a-step-toward-justice-in-the-release-of-6000-prisoners.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share

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National:
“YouTube Effect” Has Left Police Officers Under Siege, Law Enforcement Leaders Say

Chiefs of some of the nation’s biggest police departments say officers have pulled back and have stopped policing as aggressively as they used to, fearing that they could be the next person in a uniform featured on a career-ending viral video …

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2015/10/08/youtube-effect-has-left-police-officers-under-siege-law-enforcement-leaders-say/

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National:
Location Affects Legislators’ Voting On Criminal Reform

The “growth industry” of rural prisons is one reason some rural state lawmakers are resisting efforts to reform sentencing guidelines and make other changes in the nation’s penal system, a study says. While many states are …

http://www.dailyyonder.com/the-politics-of-prisons-location-affects-legislators-voting-on-criminal-reform/2015/10/14/9102/

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National:
Opinion: What Can Reforming Solitary Confinement Teach Us About Reducing Mass Incarceration?

The reality is that most correctional systems are unprepared to respond to violence other than segregation. American corrections has long emphasized punishment over rehabilitation, and solitary confinement is the bedrock of that system …

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/10/13/what-can-reforming-solitary-confinement-teach-us-about-reducing-mass-incarceration?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm

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National:
Opinion: The Best Way To Reduce The Prison Population

If legislators cannot rein in DAs, that job must fall to voters. Because unseating an incumbent is so unusual, and because there are more than 3,000 DAs, this may seem an unpromising path to a lower incarceration rate. But …

http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21672292-best-way-reduce-prison-population-two-cheers

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National:
Police Withhold Videos Despite Vows Of Transparency

In Burlington and elsewhere around the country, police and other officials are routinely blocking the release of body camera videos while giving officers accused of wrongdoing special access to the footage …

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/national/2015/10/08/police-withhold-videos-despite-vows-of-transparency/

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National:
The Reverse Mass Incarceration Act

Twenty-one years after the “Crime Bill” directed federal funds toward building new prisons across the country, this report urges Congress to pass legislation that would do the reverse — use federal dollars to reward states that reduce …

https://www.brennancenter.org/publication/reverse-mass-incarceration-act

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National:
The Future Of Parole Release: A Ten-Point Reform Plan

This article lays out a 10-point program for the improvement of discretionary parole release systems in America. Taken together, our recommendations coalesce into an ambitious model that has never before existed in the U.S. …

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2672033

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National:
Cop Suggests Writing #BlackLivesMatter On A Cup Promotes Violence; No, It Promotes Ending Violence

A spokesman for a Rhode Island police union claimed that writing “#BlackLivesMatter” on a coffee cup is part of a national trend “promoting violence against police officers.” But that narrative lacks any factual basis …

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/black-lives-matter-coffee-cup_56154b51e4b021e856d31c2b

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National:
Opinion: John Legend: We Must Help Former Prisoners Get Jobs

Singer/songwriter John Legend writes: “Since I began the #FREEAMERICA campaign, I’ve heard firsthand from people in prisons, jails, and juvenile detention centers about the barriers they face when they try to re-enter “the world” …

http://time.com/4068377/ban-the-box-prison-reform/

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National:
Like Being “Buried Alive”: Charles Dickens On Solitary Confinement In America’s Prisons

In 1842, author Charles Dickens wrote: “Upon arrival, a prisoner was stripped, hooded, and led to his cell, not to emerge again until his sentence was over. He was a man buried alive.” Nearly two centuries later, little has changed …

http://prospect.org/article/being-%E2%80%9Cburied-alive%E2%80%9D-charles-dickens-solitary-confinement-america%E2%80%99s-prisons

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Alabama:
Prison Task Force Looks At Electronic Monitoring Option

The state of Alabama doesn’t monitor parolees with electronic devices, but could consider it as a way to reduce recidivism and ultimately lower the population in crowded prisons. It costs about $3-$8 a day to monitor an offender electronically …

http://www.decaturdaily.com/news/capital_notes_and_quotes/prison-task-force-looks-at-electronic-monitoring-option/article_3e24503f-8b89-5bb5-9a0d-9dfff81ee4cc.html

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California:
Mark Zuckerberg Calls For Prison Reform After Visit To San Quentin State Prison

After visiting San Quentin Prison, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg commented: “We don’t ask about your criminal record on your job application here at Facebook. That way we don’t bias against people who’ve made a mistake …

http://www.mediaite.com/online/mark-zuckerberg-calls-for-prison-reform-after-visit-to-san-quentin-state-prison/

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Washington:
DOC Receives $7.5 Million Grant To Help Incarcerated Parents Maintain Bonds With Children

The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services has awarded the Washington Dept. of Corrections a five-year, $7.5 million federal grant aimed at helping inmates with children transition back into society and be successful parents …

http://www.governor.wa.gov/news-media/doc-receives-75-million-grant-help-incarcerated-parents-maintain-bonds-children

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Wisconsin:
Wisconsin Should Ban The Box This Year

On Sept. 28, state Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) said that a bipartisan bill in Congress to ban the box on federal employment applications had inspired her to reintroduce a similar bill for Wisconsin state government. It’s about time …

http://www.jsonline.com/news/opinion/wisconsin-should-ban-the-box-this-year-b99595877z1-332571952.html

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