Weekly ReCAP in Criminal Justice: October 19, 2012

Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person. – Mother Teresa


City Councils, EEOC Grapple with Employment Protections for Ex-Convicts, LAW.com, Oct. 18, 2012
“As employers across the U.S. continue to grapple with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s updated guidance on the use of arrest and conviction records in the hiring process, two city council bills from Washington State and Washington D.C. aimed at helping ex-offenders reenter the workforce are causing some employers concern at the local level…Several states, including Hawaii and Wisconsin, already limit prospective employers’ use of arrest and conviction records. The states have laws and rules ranging from prohibitions against employer questioning of applicants about arrests to restrictions on factoring conviction records into employment decisions.”


California Three Strikes Reform Initiative Poised to Win, stopthedrugwar.org, Oct. 18, 2012

The victim of crime trend, boston.com, Oct. 18, 2012
“The critical lesson that seems to be lost time and time again is never to make much of a short term change in crime rate. One-year changes, be they up or down, are terribly ambiguous in meaning. A sudden jump in crime rate, for example, can occur because the latter year was especially bad or because the previous year was especially good.The long-term context helps us better to understand the current situation.”

Circuit Questions Eyewitness Account, Upholds Reversal, New York Law Journal, Oct. 17, 2012
“A federal appeals court ruled yesterday that a defendant’s constitutional rights had been violated by a robbery victim’s in-court identification that “substantially and injuriously” influenced the jury’s deliberations. A unanimous panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, relying heavily on an amicus curiae brief from The Innocence Project, concluded that accepted scientific evidence raises significant questions about the reliability of the eyewitness identification of defendant Rudolph Young as the man who broke into the home of a couple and robbed them.”

New Support for Ending the Solitary Confinement of Youth, ACLU.org, Oct. 17, 2012

Rehabbing old homes, restoring young lives, Cincinnati.com, Oct. 17, 2012
“Ex-juvenile offenders given opportunity and support to arrest a life of crime”

Report: Local Youth Programs Need More Funds, Oversight, The Texas Tribune, Oct. 17, 2012
“Local juvenile probation departments are doing a better job and spending less money than state lockups when it comes to treating and rehabilitating troubled youths, according to a report released Wednesday by the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition. But the report’s authors say that counties need more money and more oversight from the state to ensure the progress continues.”

‘Some Inmates Forego Healthcare to Avoid Higher Fees’, Grits for Breakfast, Oct. 16, 2012
“Let’s face it: This grand microeconomics experiment has been a flop and the state prison budget cannot be balanced on the backs of inmate families. Any marginal extra income from higher copays is gobbled up by extra costs from untreated care when inmates delay visiting a doctor to avoid the $100 expense, which anyway is a pittance compared to per-inmate healthcare costs. To that extent, this post could have been titled, ‘On the limits of squeezing blood from a stone.'”

Federal Justice Cuts Threaten Core Protections for Youths, Crime Report, Oct. 16, 2012

Senate passes part two of prison reform, pennlive.com, Oct. 15, 2012
“The Senate on Monday unanimously passed the second phase of prison reform for Pennsylvania, outlining the formula by which savings will be returned to local governments for improved policing and probation services.”

Without fanfare, Louisiana Supreme Court gives retroactive effect to Miller via brief order, Sentencing Law and Policy Blog, Oct. 15, 2012
“Because of the date of the underlying conviction, this Simmons ruling seems like a big deal because it suggests that the Louisiana Supreme Court has, without pause, ordered giving retroactive effect to the Miller ruling. A little research indicates that Louisiana has a statutory provision providing for motion to correct an illegal sentence at any time, so perhaps it is neither surprising nor that big a deal that the state Supreme Court has here been quick to order what might be called a Miller resentencing hearing. Still, because there are so many Louisiana juve LWOPers, and because this order calls for “reconsideration after conducting a sentencing hearing in accord with the principles enunciated in Miller,” this little ruling seems to me to be a big deal.”

Ohio Saves $7.2 Million In Prison Prescriptions After In-Sourcing Health Care, thinkprogress.org, Oct. 15, 2012

Juvenile Killers and Life Terms: a Case in Point, The New York Times, Oct. 13, 2012
“The United States Supreme Court decision said that sentences of life without parole for juveniles failed to take account of the role of the offender in the crime (killer or accomplice), the family background (stable or abusive) and the incomplete brain development of the young. Recent research has found that youths are prone to miscalculate risks and consequences, and that their moral compasses are not fully developed. They can change as they get older.”

Federal law enforcement grants may become victims of Congressional budget showdown, Grits for Breakfast, Oct. 13, 2012
“According to the Crime Report, federal criminal justice grants to the states might get cut if Congress can’t strike a debt ceiling deal include “Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), Byrne Justice Assistance Grants, Residential Substance Abuse Treatment for State Prisoners, various federal juvenile delinquency prevention initiatives, and the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.”

California may lead prison-reform trend, ease ‘3 strikes’, NBCNews.com, Oct. 13, 2012
“Voters appear poised to approve measure to let nonviolent offenders out faster”

Could a Recount of Prisoners Affect Elections?, Stateline, Oct. 12. 2012
“Supporters of the change say that counting the inmates at their home addresses rather than in prison will put a stop to “prison-based gerrymandering” that gives rural areas with prisons more representation than they deserve. The U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed the right of states to adjust census data for redistricting purposes, which could encourage more of them to change their count for the 2020 census. But others question whether the heavy administrative workload is worth the effort.”


Video Visits for Children Whose Parents are Incarcerated: In Whose Best Interest?, The Sentencing Project, Oct. 16, 2012
New publication “addresses the question of whether video visitation may also provide benefits for children who are separated from their parents by incarceration. Our conclusion is that it depends on the particular policies and practices of a given institution. Video visitation holds the most potential for benefiting children if: It is used as an adjunct to, rather than a replacement for, other modes of communication, particularly contact visits; Children can visit from their homes or nearby sites; Facility policies allow for frequent visits; and Fees are not cost prohibitive.”

Lethal Connection: The ‘War on Drugs’ and Death Sentencing, David McCord, The Journal of Gender, Race & Justice, Vol. 15, pages 1-26, 2012, Oct. 16, 2012
“Many defendants on death row committed murders in which illegal drugs were somehow involved. This Article attempts to explain and quantify the involvement of drugs in the cases of death-sentenced defendants during the six year period of 2004 to 2009 and to imagine the ways that death rows would look different if there had been no “War on Drugs.” The Article will aslo examine the effects of drug-involved death sentences with respect to gender, race, and ethnicity (particularly Latino ethnicity).”


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