Weekly ReCAP in Criminal Justice: August 3, 2012

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice eveywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Criminal justice news stories that CAP highlighted this week: 

HAWAI‘I

Victory in ACLU of Hawaii Lawsuit: Federal Judge Grants Motion for Preliminary Injunction in Marriage Case, ACLU Hawai‘i, August 2, 2012
“Victory in ACLU lawsuit against Hawaii Department of Public Safety officials: federal judge grants ACLU’s motion for preliminary injunction. Our clients can finally marry their fiances!!”

Attorney claims violation of prisoners’ client-attorney privilege, Andrew Pereira, kitv.com, July 30, 2012
“HONOLULU – Attorney Myles Breiner says the attorney-client privilege is “sacrosanct” to the country’s criminal justice system, but it’s repeatedly being violated by officials at the Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy, Ariz.Breiner alleges the eavesdropping of inmates is the result of lawsuits filed against Corrections Corporation of America, Saguaro’s parent company, after a prison riot in July of 2010 left a prison guard injured.”

What Does ‘Expunged’ Mean in Hawaii?, Anita Hofschneider, Honolulu Civil Beat, July 30, 2012
“When a record is expunged, you’d expect it to be erased. But that’s not the case in Hawaii.Public records of charges that have been expunged can still be accessed at the courts in hard copy. But that could soon change if a new rule is adopted by the Hawaii Supreme Court sealing all expunged records.”

NATIONAL

House Votes to Reauthorize Byrne-JAG Anticrime Spending Program, The Crime Report, August 3, 2012

“The U.S. House of Representatives voted this week to reauthorize the Byrne-Justice Assistance Grant program that is a primary vehicle for the federal government to provide anticrime aid to states, counties, and cities. The vote was noteworthy because Congress is acting on relatively few bills on criminal justice or other policy issues during this election year. ”

The Prison Health Care Dilemma, Katti Gray, The Crime Report, August 2, 2012
“The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, upheld in June by the Supreme Court, grants the incarcerated and those being released from prison a first-ever chance to get comprehensive, continuous health care. But how and when that promise becomes a reality remains uncertain”

Goldman to Invest in City Jail Program, Profiting if Recidivism Falls Sharply, David W. Chen, The New York Times, August 2, 2012
“New York City, embracing an experimental mechanism for financing social services that has excited and worried government reformers around the world, will allow Goldman Sachs to invest nearly $10 million in a jail program, with the pledge that the financial services giant would profit if the program succeeded in significantly reducing recidivism rates.”

Michelle Alexander on the Irrational Race Bias of the Criminal Justice and Prison Systems, Mark Karlin, Truthout, August 1, 2012
“Michelle Alexander: Yes, I do believe that something akin to a racial caste system is alive and well in America. For reasons that have stunningly little to do with crime or crime rates, we, as a nation, have chosen to lock up more than two million people behind bars. Millions more are on probation or parole, or branded felons for life and thus locked into a permanent second-class status. The mass incarceration of poor people of color, particularly black men, has emerged as a new caste system, one specifically designed to address the social, economic, and political challenges of our time. It is, in my view, the moral equivalent of Jim Crow.”

Senate Hearing Explores the Exorbitant Costs of Incarceration, ACLU.org, August 1, 2012
“In response to these alarming trends, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing today to take a closer look the rising costs of incarceration in the United States. Hopefully, the members of the committee came away with a better understanding of the cost – in lives, taxpayer dollars and public safety – of mass incarceration…While attitudes towards crime have been politically divisive in the past, the current climate has narrowed this gap by revealing the waste and ineffectiveness of overincarceration.”

California builds the nation’s largest prison medical facility, Julie Small, Southern California Public Radio, July 31, 2012

Crime bill “should’ve been better, could’ve been worse”, ACLU.org, July 31, 2012

DOJ to Sentencing Commission: Fewer Prisoners, Please, Phillip Smith, StoptheDrugWar.org, July 31, 2012

Mass. Gov. Patrick blasts ‘warehousing of non-violent drug offenders’, Eric W. Dolan, The Raw Story, July 31, 2012
“The bill contains important parole reforms for those convicted of the worst crimes; but just as important are the parts of this bill that reform the sentencing laws for non-violent drug offenders,” he said in a statement. But it also contains a “three strikes” provision, which eliminates parole eligibility for certain three-time violent offenders. Patrick hoped to amend the provision, giving judges some discretion over parole eligibility, but his amendment was defeated by the state legislature.”

Dead Inmates and Wrongful Death Lawsuits Recently in the News, CAP Blog, July 31, 2012
This post highlights recent articles on wrongful death lawsuits that have been filed by family members of individuals who have died while in custody.

Chief Justice Lets Maryland Continue to Collect DNA, Adam Liptak, New York Times, July 30, 2012
“Law enforcement officials in Maryland may continue to collect DNA samples from people charged with violent felonies while the Supreme Court considers whether to hear an appeal on the constitutionality of the practice, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. ruled on Monday in a brief order granting a stay of a state court decision.”

Leaders hear about ways to fix prisons, Phil Kabler, Charleston Gazette, July 30, 2012
“As West Virginia embarks on a Justice Reinvestment Initiative in hopes of reducing state prison overcrowding, the Southern Legislative Conference heard from leaders in two states that have enacted similar programs.”

Ralph Nader urges Obama and Romney to discuss “the prison-industrial complex”, Douglas A. Berman, Sentencing Law & Policy Blog, July 30, 2012

A lifetime sentence for felons, The Washington Post Editorial, July 29, 2012
“In an election year when many states have added dubious voter ID requirements sure to affect minority voters disproportionately, another set of impediments to the franchise worsens the problem: laws in 11 states, including Virginia, that disenfranchise felons. Given that African Americans constitute 38.2 percent of the prison population but just 12.6 percent of the general population, a disproportionate share of these disenfranchised people are black.”

Many doctors treating state’s prisoners have disciplinary records themselves, Cindy Chang, The Times-Picayune, July 29, 2012

Youth in city jail face ‘deplorable’ conditions, Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun, July 28, 2012
“Attorneys with the Baltimore public defender’s office say the fight…combined with the lack of medical care and an inattentive guard — illustrates troubling conditions at the facility. In another incident, during a three-day power outage in June, juveniles had to sleep on the floor, where some had defecated, youth advocates say; jail officials dispute the account…Advocates stress the importance of the issue, in part because most of the juveniles do not end up with a conviction in adult court.”

In Texas, Arguing That Heat Can Be a Death Sentence for Prisoners, Manny Fernandez, New York Time, July 28, 2012

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