Weekly ReCAP in Criminal Justice: October 12, 2012

There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because one’s conscience tells one that it is right. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

HAWAI‘I

Remarks from Kat on the Public Lands Development Corporation (PLDC), CAPBlog, Oct. 8, 2012
“Originally Community Alliance on Prisons only expressed concerns. After much discussion with many different sectors of the community, we believe that the PLDC cannot be fixed. The money to fund PLDC was taken from the Legacy Land fund that was established to preserve special places (wahi pana). This corporation is administratively attached to the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR). DLNR’s mission is to “Enhance, protect, conserve and manage Hawaii’s unique and limited natural, cultural and historic resources held in public trust for current and future generations of visitors and the people of Hawaii nei in partnership with others from the public and private sectors.” Therefore, attaching a development corporation to DLNR is weird and, in our view, wrong.”

NATIONAL

Diversion court’s ‘soft, cuddly approach’ attempts to keep teens from lives as hardened criminals, Las Vegas Sun, Oct. 10, 2012

Kids in solitary confinement: ‘Cruel, harmful,’ groups say, Los Angeles Times, Oct. 10, 2012

Underfunded veterans mental-health care channels them into justice system, Grits for Breakfast, Oct. 10, 2012
“I reference this discussion to point out how disconnected it seems from the reality facing veterans and others suffering from mental illness: An extremely limited base of providers and little public funding for the levels of mental health services needed to play a preventive rather than a reactive role. In the real world, as opposed to some legislative flow-chart, the criminal justice system is the main location where the system proactively provides services to treat serious mental illnesses. So those who most need treatment too often wait until their behavior deteriorates to the point that they wind up in the county jail or a state penitentiary, where mental health care has also been reduced thanks to budget cuts. ”

Reforming Three Strikes, East Bay Express, Oct. 10, 2012
“Prop 36 would prohibit non-violent offenders from being locked up for life, and would save the state $100 million a year…”

Growing Up Locked Down – Youth in Solitary Confinement in Jails and Prisons Across the United States, ACLU.org, Oct. 9, 2012
“A new report from the ACLU and Human Rights Watch, “Growing Up Locked Down: Youth in Solitary Confinement in Jails and Prisons Across the United States,” is based on interviews and correspondence with more than 125 young people in 19 states who spent time in solitary confinement while under age 18 as well as with jail and/or prison officials in 10 states.”

Hiring Ex-Offenders: Time For a Different Approach, The Crime Report, Oct. 9, 2012

‘Three Strikes of Injustice’, New York Times, Oct. 8, 2012
A documentary profiles Shane Taylor, one of more than 4,000 nonviolent offenders serving life in California prisons under a three-strikes law…In 1994, California voters passed the harshest three-strikes law in the country. Soon after, stories began to emerge about people receiving life sentences for petty crimes such as stealing a pair of gloves or a slice of pizza. Such cases challenged the commonly held belief that the law applied only to violent criminals.”

States Deny Millions Of Ex-Felons Voting Rights, Huffington Post, Oct. 8, 2012

Recidivism costs W.Va. millions in prison spending, The Charleston Gazette, Oct. 8, 2012
“The lack of post-prison supervision is a factor in increasing recidivism rates…Under state law, where inmates’ sentences are reduced by one day for each day of good time credit, the time period between initial parole eligibility and maxing out — which imposes no post-release supervision — can be very narrow, he said. At some point, people are deciding, “You know what? I’m not even going to go to the parole board. I’m going to sit it out for nine months and walk away,” Reynolds said.”

Reforms credited for driving juvenile crime down in North Carolina, NewsObserver.com, Oct. 6, 2012

Audit: Violations abound at Ohio private prison, Ventura County Star (Associated Press), Oct. 5, 2012

Another revolution in sentencing?. SCOTUSBlog, Oct. 5, 2012
“Just as the Supreme Court set off a revolution in criminal sentencing with its 2000 ruling in Apprendi v. New Jersey, on Friday it set the stage for another — tied directly to the Apprendi precedent. The Court agreed to consider overruling one of its own precedents that allowed judges, rather than juries, to rule on facts that would allow more than a minimum sentence to be imposed. Until now, the “Apprendi rule” had only insisted that juries find the facts to raise a sentence beyond a maximum, not a minimum.”

Committee examining ways to reform Georgia’s juvenile justice system, The Republic, Oct. 5, 2012
“A majority of offenses committed by juveniles are non-violent…Young offenders do better when they’re allowed to stay at home with strong supervision and programs to help them, said Clayton County Juvenile Court Chief Judge Steven Teske, who was added to the council this year. “The research says if you take a low-risk kid and you treat that low-risk kid as if he’s high-risk by committing him to an institution, you’re going to make him worse,” Teske said. “We are, to some extent, making kids worse.”

Holder: New Anti-Crime Spending is “Investment” in Innovation, The Crime Report, Oct. 2, 2012
“The Justice Department is awarding $6.1 million to seven states for programs designed to reduce the offender recidivism rate. Funds will go to Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, New York, Ohio, and Rhode Island…[Holder] cited a federally-funded study released last week by the Council of State Government that showed “significant reductions” in recidivism over three years: 11 percent in Ohio and Texas, 15 percent in Kansas and “an astonishing 18 percent” in Michigan.”

Starving the Beast, The Crime Report, Oct. 2, 2012
“The Beast is a multi-layered phenomenon,” Ferguson told me. While prison may be its “belly,” its reach goes far beyond the prison walls to incorporate images of terror and destruction before and after incarceration. “I was in the belly, but before I got there, I was part of the destruction of my own community,” the Reverend says. “ ‘Starve the Beast’ is a campaign to combat the destructive behaviors before incarceration, promote strategies that promote transformation within the prison, and give support to persons coming home to move beyond destructive behaviors to constructive engagement.” …”

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