Weekly ReCAP in Criminal Justice: July 20, 2012

Criminal justice news stories that CAP highlighted this week: 

HAWAI‘I

How Hawaii prevents prisoners from marrying, Sadhbh Walshe, The Guardian, July 19, 2012

VIDEO: Passions boil over before OHA task force, Big Island Video News, July 16, 2012
“Anger, tears, and prayer… a wide range of responses from a community that remains disturbed by an Office of Hawaiian Affairs report issued in 2010 entitled: The Disparate Treatment of Native Hawaiians in the Criminal Justice System. That’s why the 2012 Native Hawaiian Justice Task Force was on the Big Island. The team is holding a series of meetings aimed at identifying and supporting comprehensive solutions to this nagging issue.”

NATIONAL

Death in Pennsylvania Solitary Confinement Cell Raises Questions, Hannah Taleb, Solitary Watch, July 20, 2012
“On April 26 of this year, John Carter died in his solitary confinement cell at State Correctional Institution (SCI) Rockview in central Pennsylvania. According to accounts by other men imprisoned on his cell block, Carter’s death followed a violent “cell extraction” in which corrections officers used pepper spray and stun guns, though the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections makes no mention of such actions in its official statements, and state police have yet to interview inmate eyewitnesses.”

New Jersey Court Issues Guidance for Juries About Reliability of Eyewitnesses, Benjamin Weiser, The New York Times, July 19, 2102

Bryan Stevenson on the True Costs of Mass Incarceration, Theresa Riley, billmoyers.com, July 12, 2012

Obama’s Administration Wants Review of Prisoner’s Commutation Request, Dafna Linzer, Propublica, Nation of Change, July 19, 2012

[Governor] Daugaard: “Doing nothing is not a good option” for South Dakota prison reform, Matt Breen, Evening Anchor, ktiv.com, July 18, 2012

Texas’ decision to reject Medicaid expansion quickens trend toward using justice system as mental health substitute, Grits for Breakfast Blog, July 19, 2012

VIDEO: The school to prison pipeline, Melissa Harris-Perry show on MSNBC, July 14, 2012
Panel discussion on juveniles in the criminal justice system. Panelist: Marian Wright Edelman, Founder and President of Children’s Defense Fund; Bob Herbert, Demos Senior Fellow; Glenn Martin, VP of Public Affairs at Fortune Society; and Rev. Vivian Nixon, Exec. Dir. of College & Community Fellowship.

Beginning of the end for ‘prison-based gerrymandering’, Peter Wagner, Washington Post, July 13, 2012
In June, the “[U.S.] Supreme Court issued a little-noticed decision in a Maryland case that gave the green light to states to eliminate the repugnant practice of “prison-based gerrymandering.”

Editorial: Trial Judge to Appeals Court: Review Me, New York Times, July 16, 2012
“[Federal district court] Judge Kane rejected [a plea bargain] deal in part because the defendant waived his right to appeal to a higher court.”

Proposed Budget Cuts Loom for Juvenile Justice Programs, Kaukab Jhumra Smith, Youth Today, July 16, 2012
“Youth advocates are ringing the alarm bells at Congress’s proposed levels of funding for state programs that would prevent young people from being locked up for skipping school, keep young offenders from being held in adult prisons and reduce the disproportionate numbers of minority youth in jail.”

Negotiators reach accord on three-strikes sentencing reform bill, Matt Murphy, July 17, 2012
“Boston – Six House and Senate lawmakers, after eight months of negotiations, broke through Tuesday evening with a compromise anti-crime and sentencing reform bill that would make certain three-time habitual felons ineligible for parole…”

Some States Move on Sentencing Reform, Phillip Smith, StoptheDrugWar.org, July 17, 2012
“With state budgets devastated by the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent slow economic growth, the impulse to incarcerate is being blunted by fiscal realities. This year, a number of states have passed legislation designed to ease the financial burden of mass incarceration.”

Branstad commutes life sentences for 38 Iowa juvenile murderers, James Q. Lynch, Trish Mehaffey, Mike Wiser, The Gazette, July 16, 2012
“Two law professors say Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad’s action Monday to commute life sentences for 38 offenders who committed their crimes as minors conflicts with last month’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the issue. Branstad ordered each of the offenders to instead serve a mandatory 60 years before being considered for parole…”

Gil Kerlikowske: Please put our money where your mouth is, Rebecca McCray, ACLU Blog of Rights, July 17, 2012
“U.S. Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske has his work cut out for him. A revealing recent interview suggests he favors a more treatment-based approach to drug policy than his predecessors, but he has no illusions about the daunting task of de-stigmatizing addiction and aligning America’s drug policies with the extensive evidence that a public health approach will serve our country far better than the failed War on Drugs.”

The High Cost to Stay Connected from Prison, Scott O’Connell, MetroWest Daily News, July 14, 2012
“Thanks to a pricey surcharge and poor service, family members trying to reach inmates in Massachusetts jails and prisons can sometimes pay up to $10 for a few minutes of phone time…Studies show that inmates of either gender tend to do better upon release if they’ve maintained contact with the outside, which is why society in general should be behind lowering prices, Tenneriello said.”

Iowa Gov Uses Clemency Power to Devise (Astute? Sinister?) Response to Miller for Juve LWOPers, Douglas A. Berman, Sentencing Law and Policy Blog, July 16, 2012
“Gov. Terry Branstad commuted the life sentences of 38 juveniles Monday, giving them mandatory 60-year prison terms instead. The governor’s action comes in response to last month’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Miller v. Alabama, in which the court ruled that states could not require life sentences without the possibility of parole for juveniles found guilty of first-degree murder.”

Judge in Alabama Halts Private Probation, Ethan Bronner, New York Times, July 13, 2012
“A county judge in Alabama has temporarily shut down a system in a town near Birmingham where people fined for speeding and unable to afford the ticket are handed over to a private probation company and sometimes sent to jail, where additional fees are imposed…”

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