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

Tuesday, July 12, 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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For immigrants with convictions, punishment never ends

“The US Department of Justice announced it would stop using stigmatizing and dehumanizing words like “felon” or “convict” to refer to people who were released from prison. As someone who works to help formerly incarcerated individuals reintegrate into their communities and live full, productive lives, I’ve seen how damaging these labels can be, both personally and professionally. They shackle men, women and, in many cases, children to their pasts and deny the possibility of the positive change taking place.”

The Hill Blog


A Plus Livestream: Freedom and prison reform

“Isaac Mosh wrote about how freedom is the epitome of what it means to be an American. Many Americans, though, don’t have their freedom, and find themselves stuck within a flawed prison system. Today, we spoke with Ronald Day from The Fortune Society to discuss freedom in America, prison reform, and the changes that are, slowly but surely, coming down.”

A Plus


‘Time in the Box’: Young Rikers incarcerated persons, still in isolation

At the time, it was a momentous announcement: New York City officials said they would eliminate solitary confinement at Rikers Island for all incarcerated persons under age 22. The declaration, made in January 2015, put the city’s long-troubled Correction Department in the vanguard of national jail reform efforts. But a year and a half later, the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio is still struggling to pull it off.

The New York Times


NYC effort to help homeless makes slow progress

As New York City’s homeless problem worsened last year, Mayor Bill de Blasio parted with two top officials overseeing the issue, called weekly staff meetings that sometimes grew testy and pledged more than $1 billion in additional funding.

The Wall Street Journal


Gov. Cuomo, legislature deadlocked on $2B affordable housing plan for New York

Plans to develop nearly 3,000 units of affordable housing across New York have been put in jeopardy because Gov. Cuomo and legislative leaders failed to reach an agreement on how to spend $2 billion they put in the budget this year for new housing, advocates charged.

New York Daily News


In the fight to help veterans, nonprofits face unique challenges

As New York City Council members stamped their approval on an $82.1 billion budget last month, a line item granting $514,000 to coordinate services for military veterans garnered little attention.

New York Nonprofit Media


The fines and fees that keep formerly incarcerated people poor

Life after prison can be a huge challenge—and this is definitely true when it comes to money. The formerly incarcerated often have trouble finding work and stable housing because of prohibitions against people with criminal records. But some of the biggest financial challenges for the formerly incarcerated may stem directly from their crimes.

The Atlantic


How the food industry is providing second chances to the formerly incarcerated

Consumers recognize Dave’s Killer Bread (DKB) for its sliced bread innovations: rare ingredients like amaranth and sorghum flour, extra protein, and a USDA-organic certification. But the decade-old, Oregon-based company does something else differently that’s not as obvious on its products’ labels. One in three of its more than 300 employees has a criminal background, and they’re now gainfully employed thanks to co-founder Dave Dahl, who spent more than 15 years in and out of prison before launching the company.

How the food industry is providing second chances to the formerly incarcerated

Civil Eats


Prison Pell grants offer second chance for inmates reclaiming their lives

“To get a sense of the impact a program like the University of Puget Sound’s Freedom Education Project can have on [people with conviction histories] in Washington prisons trying to reclaim their lives, sitting in on the program’s graduation ceremony is a good start.”

The News Tribune


The way forward in reentry

As law enforcement agencies and community organizations team up across the country to reduce crime, expand opportunity, and revitalize our neighborhoods, it is increasingly clear that a crucial part of that work is helping people returning from our prisons and jails make a successful transition back to their families and communities.

Huffington Post


House passes Mental Health Bill

The House passed legislation Wednesday to overhaul the nation’s mental health system, the first effort by lawmakers to specifically tackle federal policies on serious mental illness. The bill passed 422-2, overwhelming support that reflected a decision by sponsors to defer debates on some of its most controversial aspects.

The Wall Street Journal


In dissents, Sonia Sotomayor takes on the criminal justice system

Justice Sotomayor went on to write eight dissents before the term ended last week. Read together, they are a remarkable body of work from an increasingly skeptical student of the criminal justice system, one who has concluded that it is clouded by arrogance and machismo and warped by bad faith and racism.

The New York Times

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