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

Monday, December 21, 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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Pop Quiz With JoAnne Page

JoAnne Page works with one of the toughest populations to house — people who have been incarcerated. Page, who is president and CEO of The Fortune Society, says that her interest in civil rights and criminal justice come from …

http://www.housingfinance.com/news/pop-quiz-with-joanne-page_o

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How Does A Rikers Inmate Become A Hero?

Ismael Nazario talks about how he spent over 300 days in Rikers solitary before being convicted of a crime. He describes how every day was a test to survive. Today he works as a case manager for The Fortune Society where he …

http://www.npr.org/2015/12/18/458517615/how-does-a-rikers-inmate-become-a-hero

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New York State Agrees to Overhaul Solitary Confinement in Prisons

New York has agreed to a major overhaul in the way solitary confinement is administered in the state’s prisons, with the goal of significantly reducing the number of inmates held in isolation, cutting the maximum length of stay and …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/17/nyregion/new-york-state-agrees-to-overhaul-solitary-confinement-in-prisons.html?_r=0

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Cuomo Moves to Pardon Former Youthful Offenders

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said he will seek out and pardon thousands of people who were convicted of nonviolent crimes as teenagers but have since led law-abiding lives. Envisioned as a way to remove stubborn barriers to …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/21/nyregion/cuomo-moves-to-pardon-former-youthful-offenders.html

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Prison Diversion Programs In New York Face New Scrutiny
After Police Officer’s Killing

The fatal shooting of Officer Randolph Holder and the charging of a suspect who was granted diversion earlier this year into a drug-treatment program in Manhattan has prompted new scrutiny of such alternatives to incarceration …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/16/nyregion/prison-diversion-programs-in-new-york-face-new-scrutiny-after-police-officers-killing.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share&_r=0

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De Blasio’s Homelessness Chief Is Out As Mayor Comes Under Fire For His Handling Of The Issue

NYC Homeless Services Commissioner Taylor has lost his post and Human Resources Administration Commissioner Banks will take over with he and Deputy Mayor Shorris leading a comprehensive review of the agency to overhaul it …

http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20151215/BLOGS04/151219887/de-blasios-homelessness-chief-is-out-as-mayor-comes-under-fire-for#utm_medium=email&utm_source=cnyb-dailyalert&utm_campaign=cnyb-dailyalert-20151215

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Gang Members Drive Stabbings, Slashings On Rikers Island

1,956 Rikers inmates are gang-affiliated. They’re young, violent, and looking for protection — a perfect recipe for the proliferation of bloodshed on Rikers. Insiders and correction officials say the gang members have contributed to a spike …

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/gang-members-drive-stabbings-slashings-rikers-island-article-1.2464796?utm

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Listen To Women Describe The Horror Of Being Shackled While Pregnant

It’s still perfectly legal to shackle incarcerated pregnant women in New York, but that may soon change. “It was the most dehumanizing, embarrassing, degrading, animalistic thing that I have ever experienced.” Those are the words of …

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/listen-to-women-describe-the-horror-of-being-shackled-while-pregnant_5669b253e4b0f290e522411f

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The Daniel Holtzclaws Of Rikers Island: Staff Sex Abuse Crisis In City Jails

Over the past week, people across the country expressed outrage upon learning of the trial and conviction of Daniel Holtzclaw, an Oklahoma City police officer who raped, stalked, and assaulted 13 women. A similar story is unfolding in NYC …

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nick-malinowski/when-will-new-york-city-a_1_b_8807924.html

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An Inmate Dies, And No One Is Punished

Inmates who have served time at the Clinton Correctional Facility tell of being taken aside by a sergeant soon after they arrive and given a warning — cross the guards and bad things can happen. And they do. Inmates describe being ambushed by …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/14/nyregion/clinton-correctional-facility-inmate-brutality.html?mtrref=undefined&gwh=672CC413DE6CE0B09D0787B06956E447&gwt=pay

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Rikers Island Officers Lose 50 Ecstasy Pills Believed To Be Stolen From Safe

Bumbling jail bosses lost approximately 50 ecstasy pills used to train K-9s on Rikers Island. In an effort to find the missing loot, jail investigators checked the lockers of all the members of the K-9 unit …

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/rikers-island-officers-lose-50-ecstasy-pills-article-1.2468130

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National:
Who Is Putting The Most People In Jail? Not NY, Chicago, Or LA. A New Tool Drills Down On Hidden Incarceration Rates.

The Incarceration Trends Project research team at the Vera Institute of Justice has created a database that will allow anyone to examine the incarceration rate in their county, compare it to others, analyze trends over time, and assess the impact of …

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/12/15/who-is-putting-the-most-people-in-jail-not-new-york-chicago-or-la#.4zChHXmoc

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National:
Senate Prisons Committee Kicks Off Country Tour, Advocates For Reforms

A  five-member committee of the Senate has embarked on a tour of the country’s prisons with a view of coming up with laws to reform the correctional facilities. The committee will come up with a report that will be submitted to the Senate to …

https://citizentv.co.ke/news/senate-prisons-committee-kicks-off-country-tour-advocates-for-reforms-108490/

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National:
This Is Why Women Are the Fastest-Growing Prison Population

The ranks of female prisoners are surging twice as fast as men’s. Should the conversation about criminal justice reform be gender-specific? The answer from a group of panelists at Politico’s Women Rule Summit is a resounding …

http://fortune.com/2015/12/10/prison-reform-women/

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National:
The Bureaucracy Of Mercy

Advocates who see the president’s power as a way to alleviate the excess prison population see the process bogged down in a Justice Department that lacks the attention (and, apparently, the will) to vet candidates for clemency …

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/12/13/the-bureaucracy-of-mercy?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm

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Alaska:
Alaska Criminal Justice Commission Releases Prison Reform Recommendations

The Alaska Criminal Justice Commission released its recommendations for reducing Alaska’s growing prison population. If left unchecked, the number of Alaskans in prison will exceed capacity by 2017. The report contains 21 …

http://www.alaskacommons.com/2015/12/11/alaska-judicial-council-releases-prison-reform-recommendations

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Arizona:
Do Long Prison Terms Endanger Public?

Arizona has raided education funds to pay for prisons and created a class of people who cannot rejoin society, all of which has policy makers reconsidering priorities, say a panel of experts. “We’re funding universities at $600M and prisons at $1B …

http://www.paysonroundup.com/news/2015/dec/16/do-long-prison-terms-endanger-public/

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California:
LAPD Found No Bias In All 1,356 Complaints Filed Against Officers

The LAPD did not uphold any of the 1,356 allegations of biased policing by officers that the agency investigated in recent years, according to a report by the Police Commission’s watchdog. “We need to take a look at it,” said …

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-lapd-biased-policing-report-20151215-story.html

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California:
L.A. Lawmaker Has “Sticker Shock” Over Possible Staffing Costs For LAPD Body Cameras

The LA Police Commission approved a five-year, $31-million contract between the LAPD and Taser International for more than 6,000 body cameras that, if approved by the city, would move the department another step closer toward becoming …

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-body-cameras-police-officers-los-angeles-20151214-story.html

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Iowa:
In Anamosa, Sanders Calls For Prison Reform

In this town, where Iowa State Penitentiary is one of the largest employers, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont called for a national discussion about the “destruction of human life” through incarceration and “the expenditure of vast, vast …

http://www.thegazette.com/subject/news/politics/election/democratic-presidential/in-anamosa-sanders-calls-for-prison-reform-20151212

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International:
U.S. Police Leaders, Visiting Scotland, Get Lessons On Avoiding Deadly Force

In Scotland, where 98% of the police don’t carry guns, calming a situation through talk, rather than escalating it with weapons, is an essential policing tool, and one that brought a delegation of top American police officials to this town to …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/12/nyregion/us-police-leaders-visiting-scotland-get-lessons-on-avoiding-deadly-force.html

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