Weekly ReCAP in Criminal Justice: September 28, 2012

Anyone who doesn’t take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either. – Albert Einstein

Criminal justice news stories and reports that CAP highlighted this week: 


Justice Policy Institute’s Three September (2012) Reports on Bail
Discussing the injustices created and exacerbated by the U.S. bail system, with recommendations on alternative systems. Check out the HAWAI‘I section in “For Better Or For Profit.”

Most Oppose Hawaii Judiciary’s Plan to Seal Expunged Records, Civil Beat, Sept. 26, 2012


Intermediate Florida appeals court decides Miller is not to apply retroactively, Sentencing Law and Policy Blog, Sept. 27, 2012

ODRC: No More Privatizing Ohio Prisons-State agency says Ohio will focus on lowering recidivism, City Beat, Sept. 27, 2012

California’s Prison Realignment Program, One Year In, SFAppeal, Sept. 27, 2012
“”The ACLU determined through their assessment and polling [California] has not adopted enough reforms to make realignment successful, which would include reducing the prison population and lowering recidivism rates.”

Adjusting juvenile law in light of SCOTUS rulings, scientific advancements, Grits for Breakfast, Sept. 27, 2012

Litigating Lineups: Why the American Justice System Is Keeping a Close Eye on Witness Identification, Pacific Standard, Sept. 27, 2012

California’s Proposition 34 and Proposition 36 expose red meat in a blue state, NewsReview.com, Sept. 27, 2012
“Don’t believe the cable-news chatter about California being some bastion of weak-tea liberal values. When it comes to our criminal-justice system—and its penchant for mandatory-sentencing guidelines, gang enhancements and the death penalty—the Golden State is as red meat as they come.”

Wrongly convicted inmates freed but get little help, USA Today, Sept. 26, 2012

Plea bargaining and the innocent defendant, Grits for Breakfast, Sept. 25, 2012
“Has the rise of overcriminalization and the ascendancy of plea bargaining heightened the risk that innocent defendants may plea guilty? Those questions were raised in a must-read article published in the Wall Street Journal this week (“Federal guilty pleas soar as plea bargains trump trials,” Sept. 23) which explored the likelihood that significant numbers of innocent people are enticed to plea guilty to avoid harsh federal sentencing guidelines. From the story:…”

Juvenile Offenders in Limbo under Outdated State Laws, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, Sept. 25, 2012

Department of Justice Awards Funding to Enhance Communities’ Ability to Improve Safety in Distressed Neighborhoods, Department of Justice Press Release, Sept. 25, 2012
“Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) Director Denise E. O’Donnell today announced more than $11 million in awards to address neighborhood-level crime in 15 locations nationwide.”

The Other Death Sentence, Mother Jones, Sept. 25, 2012
More than 100,000 Americans are destined to spend their final years in prison. Can we afford it?

Kitzhaber urges public safety reforms to curb Oregon prison spending, Oregon Live, Sept. 24, 2012

Prison Break: Budget Crises Drive Reform, But Private Jails Press On, ABA Journal, Sept. 24, 2012

Of sentencing interest among SCOTUSblog’s “Petitions to Watch”, Sentencing Law and Policy, Sept. 24, 2012
“SCOTUSblog has its always helpful “Petitions to watch” list in three installments [follow link for list] and here are some petitions being watched that ought to be of extra interest to sentencing fans as listed by the folks at SCOTUSblog:…”

Costly Phone Calls for Inmates, New York Times Editorial, Sept. 23, 2012
“Members of Congress and civil rights groups are pushing the Federal Communications Commission to rein in telephone companies that, in many states, charge inmates spectacularly high rates that can force their families to choose between keeping in touch with a relative behind bars and, in some cases, putting food on the table.”

Do Elderly Inmates Belong in Illinois’ Prisons?, Huffington Post, Sept. 22, 2012

Post-prison supervision key in W.Va. inmate crisis, SF Gate, Sept. 20, 2012
“CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia has done a poor job matching offenders to the right kind of supervision or services when placing them on probation, on parole or into a community-based corrections program, according to an initial finding from the ongoing study of the state’s inmate crowding crisis.This improper “sorting” plays a role in the growth of West Virginia’s prison population when that supervised release is revoked, Carl Reynolds of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative said Thursday.”

California’s DNA law probed by judges, SFGate, Sept. 19, 2012
“Federal appeals court judges aimed tough questions Wednesday at a state lawyer defending California’s voter-approved requirement that police take DNA samples of anyone arrested on suspicion of committing a felony.”


Realigning Justice Resources: A Review of Population and Spending Shifts in Prison and Community Corrections (September 2012), VERA Institute
“A report from Vera’s Center on Sentencing and Corrections, in partnership with the Pew Center on the States’ Public Safety Performance Project, examines whether, in light of recent state-level policy changes and ongoing budget deficits, the expected shifts in population and spending from prisons to community corrections between 2006 and 2010 have been realized. The findings are based on survey responses from 36 state prison agencies and 35 community corrections agencies; follow-up interviews with 24 states; a review of recent sentencing and corrections legislation; and an analysis of population counts from the Bureau of Justice Statistics at the U.S. Department of Justice.”

States Report Reductions in Recidivism (September 2012), Justice Center – The Council of State Governments
“The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center’s National Reentry Resource Center (NRRC) released this policy brief on September 25, 2012 highlighting a number of states reporting significant reductions in recidivism. The states profiled in the report show significant declines in their three-year recidivism rates based on data tracking individuals released from prison in 2005-2007. Texas and Ohio reported reductions of 11 percent, while the Kansas rate fell by 15 percent and Michigan’s rate dropped by 18 percent. Incorporating data through 2010 (and in some cases, through 2011), the report provides the most recent multi-state information available on recidivism.

Justice Policy Institute’s Three September (2012) Reports on Bail
Discussing the injustices created and exacerbated by the U.S. bail system, with recommendations on alternative systems.


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