Weekly ReCAP in Criminal Justice: August 31, 2012

We don’t accomplish anything in this world alone…and whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one’s life and all the weavings of individual threads from one to another that creates something. – Sandra Day O’Connor

Criminal justice news stories that CAP highlighted this week:

HAWAI‘I

The Man from HOPE, Chad Blair, Civil Beat, August 31, 2012
Judge Alm, a First Circuit Court judge in Honolulu, “launched HOPE three years after joining the bench in 2004. Since that time, the program has received international recognition, a made-in-Hawaii model for reducing recidivism and crime…States that now have a HOPE-like program include Alaska, Arizona, Missouri and Indiana (Indiana calls its program Hoosier Opportunity Probation with Enforcement). Meanwhile, the U.S. Justice Department announced late last year that it would sponsor exact replications of HOPE in parts of Texas, Arkansas, Massachusetes and Oregon. It’s called the Honest Opportunity Probation with Enforcement.”

Oahu Shows No Love for Hawaii’s Public Land Corp., Sophie Cocke, Civil Beat, August 29, 2012

Beleaguered Public Land Corp. Agrees To Broadcast Oahu Meeting, Sophie Cocke, Civil Beat, August 27, 2012
“The Public Land Development Corporation, under pressure from community groups, has agreed to allow the state’s public access TV channel to broadcast the meeting…”

State eyes reopening prison, John Burnett, Hawaii Herald News, August 25, 2012
“HILO – “Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Friday released $248,177 dollars to plan for the possible reactivation of Kulani Correctional Facility…”

NATIONAL

States Take Steps to Reduce he Prosecution of Youth in the Adult Criminal Justice System, Justice Center – Consensus Project
“A new national survey released by Gerstein, Bocian, Agne Strategies reveals that the majority of Americans support youth justice system reform. The study, which surveyed 1,000 adults from across the nation, shows that the public would support juvenile justice reform efforts that focus on rigorous rehabilitation over incarceration and against placing youth in adult jails and prisons.”

Despite (suspect?) commutation, Iowa judge grants post-Miller relief for juve killer sentenced to LWOP, Sentencing Law and Policy Blog, August 30, 2012
“As reported in this local article from Iowa, which is headlined “Jeffrey Ragland, sentenced to life at 17, may soon be a free man,” a defendant in Iowa convicted of murder and sentenced to life without parole back in 1986 may now be getting a shot a freedom thanks to the Supreme Court’s Eighth Amendment work a few months in Miller.”

California lawmakers approve medical parole for county jail inmates, Los Angeles Times, August 30, 2012

Harris probation director resigns in wake of urinalysis errors that put innocents in jail, Grits for Breakfast, August 30, 2012
“This episode also reminds us that people who’ve spent decades in prison on false rape or murder convictions before being freed by DNA aren’t the only or even the most common category of innocent defendants jailed based on false accusations. These more workaday, low-level cases have just as much room for mistakes, but are also much more easily swept under the rug. ”

VIDEO: Fault Lines : Baltimore: Anatomy of an American City 
“In this excellent, 20 minute documentary, Al Jazeera provides a far more honest and penetrating look at the impact of the War on Drugs and mass incarceration on the black community than any mainstream media outlet in the U.S.” (via Michelle Alexander)

Last push to block Arizona prison deal, Craig Harris, The Arizona Republic, August 28, 2012
“In a last-ditch effort, private-prison opponents called on Gov. Jan Brewer on Tuesday to scuttle a contract that is expected to be awarded Friday for 1,000 medium-security beds for men. A coalition of elected officials, educators and faith leaders sent an open letter to Brewer, saying the beds are costly and unnecessary…’There is ample evidence to suggest that for-profit corporations are not accountable to the citizens and taxpayers of Arizona,’ the letter states. ‘As private companies, they are not subject to the same transparency requirements or checks and balances as the Department of Corrections, despite the fact that they are performing the same functions and are paid with taxpayer dollars.'”

Drug Sentencing Laws: States Work Towards Reform, Patrick Peck, The Huffington Post, August 28, 2012

Bill would exempt drug users from prosecution if they seek help, Michael J. Mishak and Patrick McGreevy, Los Angeles Times, August 27, 2012
“SACRAMENTO — State lawmakers sent to the governor Monday a bill that would exempt drug users from prosecution if they seek medical help.”

As Oklahoma inmate population ages, more die in custody, Corrections Department records show, Andrew Knittle, NewsOK, August 27, 2012
“Most of the 205 inmates who died over the past three years while in Oklahoma Corrections Department custody did so of natural causes, a trend that likely will continue as the prison system’s population grows older.”

Sentencing Youth as Adults Harms Us All, Tamar Birckhead, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, August 27, 2012

Born in Chains: the American Way of Birth in Prison, Sadhbh Walshe, The Guardian/UK, August 26, 2012
“Thanks to its incarceration addiction, the US has the world’s largest female prison population – but no plan for pregnancies”

California jail overhaul assessed after 6 months, Kurtis Alexander, Fresno Bee, August 26, 2012

Calif. prisons see populations drop under realignment, Monica Lam and Michael Montgomery, Center for Investigative Reporting, August 24, 2012
“The plan aims to reduce overcrowding in state prisons and trim the state budget – but to do that, county jails and local law enforcement must pick up the slack. This report goes to Fresno County and San Francisco to examine what’s going on inside jails and on the streets under this unprecedented overhaul of the criminal justice system…” Includes VIDEO: Prison Break

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