The Fortune Society News Of The Week — the week of February 15, 2016

Monday, February 15, 2016

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

———————————————————————————————————-

Get Help For The Accused

Opinion: At The Fortune Society, we see the devastating individual and family impact of homelessness on people who are trying to build positive lives despite histories of incarceration, addiction, trauma and mental illness. Without stable housing, the opportunity to build a positive, crime-free life is thrown into jeopardy …

New York Daily News

———

Captive Who Wouldn’t Leave Guantánamo Decided at Door of Europe-bound Plane

Detainee Mohammed Bwazir’s fateful decision to stay in a cell at Guantánamo rather than start anew in Europe came down to a calm, 10-minute standoff when the warden of the war-on-terror prison urged him to board a C-17 cargo plane carrying two other captives to new lives. Bwazir, 35, feared going to the country that offered him sanctuary …

Miami Herald

———

Fmr. Tyco CEO Kozlowski Talks About His Next Chapter

Former Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski has settled back into the corporate world after serving over six years in the New York State prison system. In a Q&A with FOXBusiness.com he talks about his next chapter which is focused on M&A, politics and helping former offenders get back on their feet.

Fox Business

———

The NYPD Is Kicking People Out of Their Homes, Even If They Haven’t Committed a Crime

The morning of May 4, 2011, Jameelah El-Shabazz watched out the window of her Bronx apartment as a team of police officers fanned across the rooftop of Banana Kelly High School. The 43-year-old mother of five said she didn’t think much of the scene — drug raids were common in her neighborhood …

ProPublica

———

Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Speaker, Vows to Pursue New Criminal Justice Reforms

The speaker of the New York City Council, Melissa Mark-Viverito, vowed on Thursday to pursue a new round of criminal justice reforms aimed at shrinking the jail population to such a degree that officials could eventually contemplate shuttering the city’s scandal-plagued jail complex on Rikers Island …

The New York Times

———

Mayor de Blasio Punts on NYPD Abusing Nuisance Law to Remove Residents From Their Homes

Mayor de Blasio commented for the first time Monday on the Daily News and ProPublica investigation into the NYPD’s use of the nuisance abatement law to boot hundreds of people from homes — saying while he supports the underlying goal to keep neighborhoods safe, he thinks “there should always be due process” and promised to “look carefully at protocols.” …

New York Daily News

———

Report on NYPD Removing Residents From Public Housing Draws Outrage From City Officials

Outraged public officials across the city Sunday called for change in the wake of a sweeping Daily News and ProPublica report uncovering widespread use of an obscure type of lawsuit to boot hundreds of people from homes. Several City Council members said they were considering amendments and other reforms to the nuisance abatement law to safeguard against abuse …

New York Daily News

———

Punishment, Redemption, Mercy and Clemency

One of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s most laudable agenda items for 2016 is to “further New York’s status as a national leader in criminal justice and re-entry reforms.” He proposes expanding the use of alternatives to incarceration, increasing educational programming in prisons, and raising the age of criminal responsibility. Most recently added to the mix is a clemency initiative …

New York Law Journal

———

No Charges For Man Held at Rikers Island For 2 Years For Crime He Didn’t Commit

The Bronx District Attorney’s Office said Friday it will drop all charges against a man held at Rikers Island for two years for a fatal stabbing he has insisted he did not commit. Prosecutors do not have the evidence to convict Enger Javier, 25, in the 2012 murder of Hansell Arias in a McDonald’s parking lot, after receiving several eyewitness accounts clearing him …

New York Daily News

———

The Trials of New York’s Family Court

When Abigail Kramer, a journalist and advocate on children’s issues, entered the world of Family Court, she was haunted by its infamous moniker: “The saddest place in New York.” Kramer found much that confirmed that assessment: “The courthouse is dismal in the particular way of municipal buildings that serve the very poor” …

ProPublica

———

NYPD Arrests Mostly People Of Color For Fare Beating, Stats Show

The overwhelming majority of New Yorkers arrested for fare-beating by the NYPD in 2015 were people of color — a fact that an advocacy group on Thursday blasted as “blatantly racist.” …

New York Daily News

———

Released Felons Gain Right To Vote in Maryland After Veto Override

More than 40,000 recently released Maryland felons will regain the right to vote in time for this year’s election. The legislature on Tuesday narrowly overturned Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of a bill to extend voting rights to felons before they complete probation and parole …

Baltimore Sun

———


An Unprecedented Experiment in Mass Forgiveness

Jose Gonzalez remembers feeling disoriented as he stepped out of Chuckawalla Valley State Prison and into the vastness of the Colorado Desert. A corrections van was waiting to shuttle him to freedom. The driver rolled down the passenger window and told Gonzalez to get in. The door handle felt foreign in his fingers, and he struggled to open it …

The Washington Post

———

From Drug Dealer to Long-Distance Record-Setter: Kevin Castille’s Redemption

Throughout his twenties, Kevin Castille sold crack cocaine on the streets of the Truman neighborhood in Lafayette, Louisiana, where his grandparents and aunts had raised him and eight other children, who slept in their modest family home three to a bed. He’d been the smallest, quietest one. He still was. But dealing brought money—some ten thousand dollars a week, throughout the nineteen-nineties, in profits …

The New Yorker

———

Obama Wants $500 Million to Prod State Justice Reforms

In his farewell budget to Congress, President Barack Obama wants $500 million to help states make broad justice reform plans. The new “21st Century Justice Initiative” program was announced yesterday as part of a $29 billion request for the U.S. Justice Department for the year beginning October 1 …

The Crime Report

———

Authors Pitch Changes To Criminal Justice Bill

Senators who authored a criminal justice overhaul are preparing several key changes to their bill aimed at mollifying conservative critics. In recent weeks, a handful of Senate Republicans — led primarily by Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas — have argued that the criminal justice reform bill would allow thousands of felons convicted of violent crimes to be released early from prison …

Politico

———

Senators Locked In Negotiations Over Criminal Justice Reform

Senators are searching for ways to win more Republican votes for a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill that has stalled amid growing conservative opposition, including from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) on Tuesday said lawmakers are negotiating changes to “key sections” of the sentencing reform legislation in an attempt to win more support …

The Hill

———

Staying Sober After Treatment End

Opinion: Getting sober is hard. Making sobriety last is much harder. Most people who go into a residential rehab treatment manage to detox and stay that way during their weeks- or months-long stay. But problems begin when they leave. Many patients walk out the door — and fall off a cliff …

The New York Times

———


Prison Keeps Us Isolated. But Sometimes, Sisterhood Can Bring Us Together

Opinion: Prisons function by isolating those of us who are incarcerated from any means of support other than those charged with keeping us imprisoned: first, they physically isolate us from the outside world and those in it who love us; then they work to divide prisoners from one another by inculcating our distrust in one another …

The Guardian

———

The Most Promising Reform

Many years ago, I was a criminal defense and civil rights lawyer in Minneapolis. One day, a young woman named Rebecca came into my office. She was a student at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul. She and my law clerk were friends, and he had encouraged her to talk with me about her brother, Riley. For no apparent reason, Riley had knocked his mother to the ground, beat her severely, kicked her in the head, and chased her into the basement of their Wisconsin home …

Justia

———

A Brief History of Solitary Confinement

Imagine a corridor flanked by closed, windowless cells. Each cell may be so small that, inside, you can extend your arms and touch both walls at the same time. The cell contains a bunk, perhaps a solid block of poured concrete, with a thin plastic mattress, a stainless steel toilet, maybe a small table and stool. A few personal possessions—books, paper and pencil, family photos—may be permitted, or they may not. The door to the cell is solid steel …

Longreads Blog

———

Prisons Cope With Mental Health

For a bingo game, it was restrained. No one leapt from their seats. They were chained to the table legs. Winners didn’t throw up their hands. They were cuffed. And while a dozen players sat at tables, four worked their cards while seated in cages the size of bathroom stalls. The setting was the State Correctional Institution Greene’s new Diversionary Treatment Unit, or DTU, a 24-man block that houses the worst-behaved of the mentally ill prisoners at the highest-level penitentiary in Pennsylvania …

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

———

Watchdog: State Reviewing Juvenile Life Sentences

The Louisiana Department of Corrections is reviewing files for those sentenced to life without parole for crimes they committed as juveniles following a recent Supreme Court ruling …

The Shreveport Times

———

Rarely Seen Images of the Real San Quentin

The pictures, for the most part, are prosaic, like outtakes from a yearbook photo shoot. One shows five members of an amateur rock band. Another depicts uniformed football players gathered for a team photo. In yet another, a man is shown carving an ice sculpture. Occasionally, though, the subject matter is much darker …

The Marshall Project

Categories: News

Contact

No appointment necessary!
Call us or stop by our main
office in Long Island City
headquarters during visiting
hours to learn more about
our programs and services.

Long Island City (Main Office)

29-76 Northern Boulevard
Long Island City, NY 11101

N/R/Q | Get Directions

(212) 691-7554
Mon-Thurs: 8am - 8pm
Fri: 8am - 5pm

Castle Gardens

625 W. 140th St.
New York, NY 10031

Get Directions

No walk-ins accepted at this location. Please call or visit our main office in Long Island City.

The Castle (Fortune Academy)

630 Riverside Drive
New York, NY 10031

Get Directions

No walk-ins accepted at this location. Please call or visit our main office in Long Island City.