The Fortune Society News Of The Week — the week of February 8, 2016

Monday, February 8, 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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Mayor de Blasio Announces Plans to Boost Security and Mental Health Staff at New York City Shelters

The de Blasio administration announced steps on Friday to increase security at 27 shelters and add medical staff to help identify people with mental illness among the city’s growing homeless population …

The New York Times

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Brooklyn Suicide Is Third Hanging in City Holding Cells Since May

The death of a man in a Brooklyn police station house on Sunday was the third time since May that someone had hanged himself in a New York Police Department holding cell, the authorities said …

The New York Times

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Mr. Cuomo’s Housing Wrecking Ball

Opinion: Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who should be using his power to make New York City more hospitable to working-class and middle-class families, has instead slipped a little poison into his executive budget that could cripple the city’s ambitious efforts to build affordable housing ..

The New York Times

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For Victims, an Overloaded Court System Brings Pain and Delays

It had gone on for almost four years, Maxima Allen said as she sat on a hard bench in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn over the summer. Ms. Allen just wanted the case to end. Once the criminal case against Chevoy Nelson, the boy accused of stabbing her son, was over, she could sue the city and the Department of Education for money to help pay for Alfredo’s care, which comes to roughly $1,000 a day. It is not news that cases can take a long time to wind their way through the court system in New York, or that lawyers use delay tactics …

The New York Times

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Homeless Young People of New York, Overlooked and Underserved

Hundreds of homeless young people are in plain sight every day in New York City. They are sitting on the floor at the Port Authority Bus Terminal and charging their phones as if they were college students awaiting a bus home. They are huddled on the sidewalk, hanging out. They sleep on friends’ couches and in strangers’ beds. They stay with “Uncle A.C.E.,” code for the long route of the A train, where they can spend hours unbothered and unnoticed …
The New York Times

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Cuomo Picks Former El Diario Publisher to Head Department of State
Gov. Andrew Cuomo officially nominated Rossana Rosado, a former editor and publisher of El Diario, to replace Cesar Perales as state secretary of state. “Rossana Rosado is a respected, intelligent leader with the experience New York needs to lift up working families and expand opportunity,” Cuomo said in a statement …
The Times Union

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How I Reconnected with My Estranged Daughter from Prison

I was four years into a 30-year bid, and was being told that I didn’t have a choice — that I must not write my daughter even one more time. I would just be… gone to her. No goodbye. No explanation about Mommy and Daddy’s complications. Just silence and a hope that when she could, she might try to find me …

The Marshall Project

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New Report Helps Policymakers Better Respond to People with Mental Health Needs in the Criminal Justice System

The Vera Institute of Justice released a new report containing recommendations on how to reduce the disproportionate contact that people with mental illness have with the criminal justice system. It proposes a “first episode incarceration” framework—modeled after promising approaches to treating people with serious mental illness by responding to their first psychotic episode …

Vera Institute of Justice

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How A Routine Traffic Stop Turned Into Six Months In Solitary Confinement

Kevin Bushrod Jr. said he didn’t understand why he was isolated. A cop had pulled him over for driving on a suspended license. He tried to escape. The cop shot him in the left shoulder. Bushrod, a former top athlete at a Bible college, was charged with assault on an officer while armed — the car was the weapon. And now, he was here. Facing years in prison. Alone in a cell with little beyond a steel toilet and sink …

The Washington Post

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New Pardon Chief In Obama Justice Department Inherits A Huge Backlog

The Justice Department has named a veteran prosecutor from Philadelphia as the new leader of its pardon office, which is trying to review more than 9,000 petitions in the final year of the Obama presidency …

National Public Radio

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Bill To ‘Ban The Box,’ Aimed At Helping Former Criminals Find Jobs, Is No Sure Bet

Robert Martinez found it difficult finding a job before coming to AARP. That’s a problem many people with criminal backgrounds face: They apply for work, but they just can’t get to the point of an interview because, if they’re honest, they check the box on a job application that asks whether they have a criminal history …

Colorado Public Radio

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Report Cites Failure to Act Against Abusers of Juveniles in Detention

Last week was momentous for those interested in the elusive goal of juvenile justice reform. On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that people serving mandatory life sentences for murders they committed as juveniles must be allowed to petition for new sentencing or parole hearings. The same day, President Obama issued a ban on solitary confinement for juveniles in the federal system, citing studies of lasting psychological damage linked to the practice …

Propublica

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From Jail to Skid Row, Where ‘All Healing Needs Are Met’

What am I going to do with an apartment?” Peter Starks, dressed in a gray business suit, offers a look of incredulity, as if the very notion of giving housing to someone like him, a drug user for 40 of his 67 years, is crazy. He is facing a roomful of people who nod knowingly. Most of them are from public, nonprofit or faith-based agencies that help former prison inmates reenter society …

The Los Angeles Times

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