The Fortune Society News Of The Week — the week of December 28, 2015

Monday, December 28, 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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Cuomo Moves To Pardon Former Youthful Offenders

Gov. Cuomo wants to give New Yorkers who made mistakes as teenagers but got their lives back on track a big boost in their efforts to succeed — in the form of pardons. To JoAnne Page, Fortune Society CEO, that’s cause for celebration …

http://www.publicnewsservice.org/2015-12-22/criminal-justice/cuomo-to-pardon-former-young-offenders/a49545-2

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Cuomo’s Pardon Plan For Youthful Offenders Draws Praise, Questions And Concerns

Barry Campbell, now 49, is a special assistant at The Fortune Society. When he was 16, he decided to steal a car. He was caught and convicted, and spent time on Rikers Island. When he was released, he tried to get a job …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/22/nyregion/cuomos-pardon-plan-for-youthful-offenders-draws-praise-questions-and-concerns.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share&_r=0

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Opinion: No Excuse For Violence

In a Letter to the Editor, Fortune Society founder David Rothenberg said “prisons don’t work if high recidivism rates are any indication. The goal should not be smoothly running, tightly controlled institutions, but rather …

http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/december-17-public-safety-prison-force-universal-peace-article-1.2468059?cid=bitly

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Pregnant Inmates Will No Longer Be Shackled In New York State

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an anti-shackling bill into law that will prevent pregnant inmates from being put in restraints while being transported or within eight weeks of delivery, except in extraordinary circumstances. The bill also …

http://www.buzzfeed.com/emaoconnor/pregnant-inmates-will-no-longer-be-shackled#.ty7Yd9Rnk

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Some Details Unclear In Cuomo’s Plan For 10,000 Pardons

Gov. Cuomo will be “conditionally pardoning” 10,000 individuals who committed nonviolent felonies or misdemeanors in their teens, but there’s no consensus among legal experts on how his program will be implemented or how many …

http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/albany/2015/12/8586243/some-details-unclear-cuomos-plan-10000-pardons

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Opinion: Step Forward For Juvenile Offenders

New York is one of the most backward states in the union in the way it treats juvenile offenders, and it will remain so without fundamental reforms. But Gov. Andrew Cuomo took a bold step forward when he announced …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/22/opinion/a-step-forward-for-juvenile-offenders.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share

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Opinion: Why We Need to Shut Down Juvie. “In My Five Years Running The Washington System, I Never Saw One White Youth In My Correctional Facility.”

We need to completely shutter the doors of youth prisons which confine 54,000 juveniles. I saw the harm of youth prisons when I ran a facility in Washington, D.C. It was a Dickensian nightmare. Staff routinely beat the kids, sold them …

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/12/22/why-we-need-to-shut-down-juvie?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm

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How The Landmark Settlement Will — And Will Not — Change Solitary Confinement In New York’s Prisons

A recent settlement will prescribe limits and alternatives to bring relief to thousands suffering in solitary in New York. If there is a downside, it is that the celebratory tone of the announcement may lead people to mistakenly expect that …

http://solitarywatch.com/2015/12/18/what-this-weeks-landmark-settlement-will-and-will-not-change-about-solitary-confinement-in-new-yorks-prisons/

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Opinion: Horror Stories From New York State Prisons

The DOJ hauled NYC into court last year when it failed to curb the wanton brutality that has long been a hallmark among guards at the Rikers Island jail complex. The same culture of violence infests the sprawling state prison system where …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/18/opinion/horror-stories-from-new-york-state-prisons.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share

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Spotting The “Red Flags” Of Abusive Prison Guards

A spokesman for the NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision said it has begun electronically logging complaints to allow it to monitor accusations of staff member misconduct. There are currently about 4,000 …

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/12/20/spotting-the-red-flags-of-abusive-prison-guards?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm

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Homeless New Yorkers Question De Blasio’s New Program

The city is rolling out a new policy to deal with the record-high homeless population that will include a daily canvas of every block from Canal Street to 145th Street. It will also be assigning case mangers for each person. Imran Prentic, 30, lined up …

http://www.wnyc.org/story/homeless-new-yorkers-question-de-blasios-anti-homeless-program/

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Gov. Cuomo Reportedly Mulling Proposal To Transform Near-Empty Queens Psychiatric Center Into Housing For The Homeless

The de Blasio administration said it is open to the idea of converting a near-empty psychiatric center to house the homeless. Sources say Gov. Cuomo is considering a proposal to use the Creedmore Psychiatric Center in Queens to …

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/empty-queens-psychiatric-center-house-nyc-homeless-article-1.2471340

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A New Investment Opportunity: Helping Ex-Convicts; A New York Program Asks Outsiders To Fund A Promising Initiative To Reduce Recidivism. If It Gets Results, They Get A Payout

A new partnership among NYS, 40 private investors, and a nonprofit called the Center for Employment Opportunities seeks to lower the recidivism rate in an era of growing prison populations. It’s an area that has been particularly resistant to …

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/12/reducing-recidivism/421323/

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New York Officer Is Charged In Arrest of Man Who Tried To Film Him

A New York City police officer who arrested a man as he tried to film him and other officers with a cellphone camera was charged with official misconduct and lying on a criminal complaint. The charges brought against the officer …

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/23/nyregion/officer-is-charged-in-arrest-of-man-who-tried-to-film-him.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share&_r=1

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National:
Obama Commutes Sentences Of 95 Federal Prisoners

President Obama has granted commutations to 95 federal prisoners, all but two serving time for drug-related charges. It’s the largest group of commutations issued by Obama and brings the total number he has issued to 184 …

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/obama-commutes-sentences-95-federal-prisoners/story?id=35848023

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National:
Private Prison Exec Waves Off Criminal Justice Reform, Predicts More Profits

A senior exec with the second-largest for-profit prison company in America assured investment bankers that, despite talk of drug policy and criminal justice reform, the U.S. will continue to “attract crime,” generating new “correctional needs …

https://theintercept.com/2015/12/22/geo-group-explains-crime/

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National:
John Oliver’s Year In Criminal Justice: A Roundup Of Clips And One-Liners From One Of The Most Vocal Critics Of Our Prison System

On his show, “Last Week Tonight,” comedian John Oliver has consistently tackled — in deeply reported, 20-min. segments — the shortcomings of the criminal justice system. He has covered subjects ranging from mandatory minimums to …

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/12/18/john-oliver-s-year-in-criminal-justice?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm

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National:
Opinion: On Sentencing Reform, We Have To Talk More About Reentry

As we talk about sentencing reform, we have to talk more about reentry and rehabilitation. It’s not enough to simply reduce sentences; we need to increase access to education, housing, job training, mentorship, and counseling to …

http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/judicial/263637-on-sentencing-reform-we-have-to-talk-more-about-reentry

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National:
A Secret Catalogue Of Government Gear For Spying On Your Cellphone

Nearly a third of the entries in a secret U.S. government catalogue of dozens of cellphone surveillance devices used by the military and by intelligence agencies focus on equipment that seems to have never been described in public before …

https://theintercept.com/2015/12/17/a-secret-catalogue-of-government-gear-for-spying-on-your-cellphone/

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California:
Black Students Call For University Of California Divestment From Private Prisons As America Continues To Get Rich Exploiting The Bodies Of Young Black Men  

The Black Student Unions of the 9 undergrad Univ. of California campuses passed a resolution demanding university divestment from private prisons and a ban on such investments in the future. UC currently invests $23M in private prisons …

http://atlantablackstar.com/2015/12/19/black-students-call-for-university-of-california-divestment-from-private-prisons-as-america-continues-to-get-rich-exploiting-the-bodies-of-young-black-men/

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Florida:
Florida Lags As Other States Make Progress In Prison And Sentencing Reforms

As other states reformed their criminal justice systems in the past year to reduce their prison populations, update their sentencing laws, and establish new programs for the re-entry of offenders, Florida remained on the sidelines, says a report …

http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/florida-lags-as-other-states-make-progress-in-prison-and-sentencing-reforms/2258633

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Louisiana:
Robert Jones: Locked Up For 23 Years — When The Real Killer Had Already Been Jailed

America imprisons a higher proportion of its citizens than anywhere else in the world, and Louisiana more than anywhere else. It is estimated that 14 out of every 1,000 adults in the state are in prison. This is the story of one of them …

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-5ad914e1-afed-4e0d-b7ab-754bf3d0b1e6

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Maryland:
Total Wine Co-Founder Funding $15M Push To Aid Ex-Convicts

A Maryland couple is donating $15 million to the American Civil Liberties Union to expand a campaign to cut prison populations and promote private initiatives to rehabilitate and employ ex-convicts. The co-founder of Total Wine & More …

http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Total-Wine-co-founder-funding-15M-push-to-aid-6715230.php

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New Jersey:
Extreme Racial Disparity In Local N.J. Arrests, ACLU Report Finds

A new report by the New Jersey chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union found that black and Hispanic people were between two and 10 times more likely to be arrested for petty crimes than white offenders in four New Jersey cities …

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2015/12/aclu_report_finds_extreme_racial_disparity_in_nj_a.html

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