The Fortune Society News Of The Week — the week of January 11, 2016

Monday, January 11, 2016

A wide-ranging collection of news and opinion from the previous week focusing on criminal justice policy, advocacy, and reform.

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Forging a Path Toward True Criminal Justice Reform

Opinion: In my 26 years as president and chief executive officer of The Fortune Society, I have witnessed incarceration rates swell even as crime rates plummeted. Our nation has plowed full steam ahead adopting harsh policies that have made us the largest jailer in the world. Our criminal justice system has not made our communities safer; rather, it has fractured families alienated communities and further marginalized low-income minorities …

New York Nonprofit Media

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City Expands Program to Teach Inmates Job Skills

The city is adding $8.7 million to the I-CAN program allowing 6,400 inmates to receive training this year. That’s up from 2,300 part of Bill de Blasio’s 14-point plan to reduce jail violence …

New York 1

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Drawn With A Free Hand: Ballpoint Pen Artist Practiced While In Prison

An illustrator who honed his artistic craft while behind bars is showcasing his intricate ballpoint pen drawings in a Greenpoint church. The gifted penman, Guy Woodard, says his criminal history forging documents really paved the way for his artistic career …

The Brooklyn Paper

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13th Proposal of Governor Cuomo’s 2016 Agenda: Launch a “Right Priorities” Initiative

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo unveiled the 13th signature proposal of his 2016 agenda: launch a “Right Priorities” initiative to further New York’s status as a national leader in criminal justice and re-entry reforms. The Governor’s proposal will help at-risk youth find positive opportunities in their communities, while also providing citizens who enter the criminal justice system the opportunity to rehabilitate, return home, and contribute to their communities …

New York State

Cuomo Proposes Higher-Education Initiative in New York Prisons

 

It was nearly two years ago that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo floated a plan for the state to pay for college courses for inmates. But it sank in the face of withering opposition from critics who mocked Mr. Cuomo’s initiative as “Attica University” and Republican members of the state’s congressional delegation who argued that New York should put “kids before cons.”On Sunday, however, Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, reintroduced the plan …

New York Times

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When A Prison Closes, What Happens To The Prison Town?

What happens to prison properties after they close – as well as the towns that were economically dependent on them – has been largely absent from those policy discussions …

Christian Science Monitor

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Move Is on to Make End-of-Year Pardons Less Random

President Barack Obama, who until November had been relatively stingy with clemency, gave clemency or pardons to 97 people in December. Yet despite the flurry of activity, the use of clemency and pardons by governors to ease long sentences or restore civil rights to people who have served their time remains largely a matter of chance …

The Pew Charitable Trusts

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Former governor Jim McGreevey defends Paterson’s battered reentry program

Former New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey took to the podium at the Paterson city council meeting on Tuesday evening to defend the city’s soon-to-open reentry program which has garnered great deal of controversy over the past week …

Paterson Times

Connecticut’s Second-Chance Society

Last February, Dannel Malloy, the governor of Connecticut, announced his “Second Chance Society” initiative, which is aimed at reducing the number of people going into prison and making it easier for those already in to get out and have a chance at a law-abiding life …

New York Times

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How to Get Out of Solitary — One Step at a Time

For many policy makers and activists, curbing the use of solitary confinement is a moral imperative: Depriving prisoners of human contact exacerbates and even produces mental illness, increases the risk of suicide, and generally engenders a sense of hopelessness. But what about the prisoners who landed there by attacking other inmates or officers?

The Marshall Project

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With Sons in Solitary, Mothers Fight for Their Freedom—and Their Lives

Kevin Snodgrass has no history of mental illness or mental health concerns. Nonetheless, he has been in solitary confinement continually for over two years at Red Onion State Prison, where one in 20 people are held in some form of solitary confinement …

Solitary Watch

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