Weekly ReCAP: November 16, 2012

Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness. – Seneca

HAWAI‘I

State seeking 411 on Kona halfway house, West Hawaii Today, Nov. 15, 2012
“Kona could become the newest home to a clean and sober house for Department of Public Safety felony inmates making the transition back into the community. The facility would annually provide housing and case management services to up to 50 adult male and female felony inmates in the Kona area, according to the department’s Corrections’ Institutions Division Nov. 7 request for information posted on the state Procurement Office website. The facility would serve inmates transitioning from incarceration at Hawaii Community Correctional Center in Hilo.”

Yay! Reentry is actually going to happen in Hawai`i. It is amazing what can happen when a commitment to implementation is there. Hawai`i’s reentry law passed in 2007 (Chapter 353H, HRS) and nothing happened. Now within 5 months at PSD, the Director has gotten plenty things in motion.

Whistleblower Files Suit Against State, Alleging Inmates Used For ‘Slave Labor’, Civil Beat, Nov. 15, 2012

Brief Report on PLDC from Kat: “This is about justice for the people of Hawaii”, CAP Blog, Nov. 14, 2012

APNewsBreak: Idaho inmates claim gangs run prison, The Associated Press, Nov. 14, 2012
“…The lawsuit, filed Friday in Boise’s U.S. District Court, paints the prison as a place where correctional officers work in fear of angering inmate gang members and where housing supervisors ask permission from gang leaders before moving anyone new into an empty cell. The inmates also contend that CCA officials use gang violence and the threat of gang violence as an “inexpensive device to gain control over the inmate population,” according to the lawsuit, and that housing gang members together allows the company to use fewer guards, reducing payroll costs.…”We take all allegations seriously and act swiftly if our standards have not been met,” spokesman Steve Owen said in a statement. “… At all times, we are held to the highest standards of accountability and transparency by our government partners, and expect to be.” …

This article also appeared in the Star Advertiser, and included this paragraph:
The state of Hawaii has spent at least $40 million a year to house about 2,000 inmates at mainland prisons operated by CCA in Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy, Ariz., and the neighboring Red Rock Corrrectional Center.  Female inmates from Hawaii were removed from CCA’s Otter Creek Correctional Center in Wheelwright, Ky., in 2009 for safety reasons after allegations that some were sexually abused by prison guards.

These problems exist in Saguaro as well, where Warden Thomas has said (and this has been confirmed by numerous men there “I’m gonna put all you gangbangers together so you can kill each other.”  Saguaro has refused the requests of our men who asked to be moved for safety reasons, which has resulted in deaths. When will we learn that for-profit prisons are about making money, not rehabilitation, not safety and not human rights. SHAMEFUL.

ACLU-Idaho says private prison company may be violating settlement in 2010 federal lawsuit, Washington Post, Nov. 13, 2012
“…The eight inmates also allege CCA has violated the settlement with the ACLU by engaging in a “persistent pattern of misconduct.” The settlement required CCA to increase staffing; to leave more prison beds open so threatened inmates easily can be moved to safer cellblocks; to report to the local sheriff’s office all assaults that appear to amount to aggravated battery; to increase training; and to discipline staffers who don’t take appropriate measures to stop or prevent assaults. …”

We know this is true. At Saguaro the Warden and staff routinely violate their own policies and procedures and get away with it because Shari Kimoto and her staff let them get away with it. We have sent our men into harms way knowing full well that they are not safe. SHAMEFUL.

Don’t prosecute drug war by denying services to young mothers, poor children, Grits for Breakfast, Nov. 14, 2012
If this issue is important to you, CAP urges you to read this terrific blog post from Texas. This issue comes up every year in Hawai‘i’s legislature by Rep. John Mizuno and CAP is expecting more of the same in 2013.

Recent CAP Activities and Co-sponsored Events, CAP Blog, Nov. 12, 2012

Jockeying in the Hawai‘i State Legislature, CAP Blog, Nov. 12, 2012
“As you might know, there is a lot of political jockeying going on at the legislature. Here are some blogs from Political Radar (Derrick dePledge and BJ Reyes) that will help explain some of it. The House is a mess and they have been very difficult for us to deal with on justice issues.”

NATIONAL

The Conservative war on Prisons, The Washington Monthly, November/December 2012
“Skeptics might conclude that conservatives are only rethinking criminal justice because lockups have become too expensive. But whether prison costs too much depends on what you think of incarceration’s benefits. Change is coming to criminal justice because an alliance of evangelicals and libertarians have put those benefits on trial. Discovering that the nation’s prison growth is morally objectionable by their own, conservative standards, they are beginning to attack it—and may succeed where liberals, working the issue on their own, have, so far, failed.

This will do more than simply put the nation on a path to a more rational and humane correctional system. It will also provide an example of how bipartisan policy breakthroughs are still possible in our polarized age. The expert-driven, center-out model of policy change that think-tank moderates and foundation check-writers hold dear is on the brink of extinction. If it is to be replaced by anything, it will be through efforts to persuade strong partisans to rethink the meaning of their ideological commitments, and thus to become open to information they would otherwise ignore. Bipartisan agreement will result from the intersection of separate ideological tracks—not an appeal to cross them. This approach will not work for all issues. But in an environment in which the center has almost completely evaporated, and in which voters seem unwilling to grant either party a decisive political majority, it may be the only way in which our policy gridlock can be broken.”

Sexual Abuse by Prison and Jail Staff Proves Persistent, Pandemic, Prison Legal News
“Sexual assault, rape, indecency, deviance. These terms represent reprehensible behavior in our society. They also represent recurring themes in our nation’s prisons – not only by prisoners, but also by guards and other staff members.”

Federal Sex Offender Civil Commitment Process Under Fire, Prison Legla News

Prison Rape: Obama’s Program to Stop It, The New York Review of Books
This piece gives links to the PREA standards and other information about the Prison Rape Elimination Act.

Juvenile Justice System Must Be Overhauled, Says Report Led by UVA Law Professor, Nov. 13, 2012
…”What we’re trying to come up with is a juvenile-justice system that has accountability without criminalization,” said Bonnie, vice chairman of the Committee on Assessing Juvenile Justice Reform, which produced the report. “It’s important that kids be held accountable. But the same tools of accountability that are used for adults are not a good fit for adolescents because they interfere with successful development rather than promoting it.”

Will the President Heed the Call For Justice Reform?, The Crime Report, Nov. 13, 2012
“Last week, Americans in several states came out in droves to show historic support for criminal justice reform at the ballot box. A progressive ideological shift in our approach to harsh criminal justice policies has gained momentum in recent years, and this year’s election revealed a desire to put that ideology into practice.”

A Texas Prosecutor Faces Justice, The New York Times, Nov. 12, 2012
“In just about a month from now, Texas will witness a rare event: a former prosecutor is going to be held to account for alleged prosecutorial misconduct.”

Prison Rehab Programs on the Rise, KALW, Nov. 12, 2012

Kentucky works to give addicted inmates treatment while still behind bars, courier-journal.com, Nov. 12, 2012

A Post-Election Justice Reform Agenda, The Crime Report, Nov. 12, 2012
“For too long, criminal justice policymaking has been reactionary, driven by fear and emotion and increasingly responsive to special interests that stand to gain from the system’s expansion. If we’re going to successfully stem the tide of people who are relegated to being part of the newly manufactured underclass in America, these tactics must end. If our President is truly dedicated to moving this country forward, he has an obligation to show renewed leadership in this area by working across party lines to end our overreliance on incarceration as a response to crime. ”

Support growing for jail diversion for traumatized veterans, Grits for Breakfast, Nov. 11, 2012
“An advisory group on veterans services convened by the Legislature recommended the criminal justice system be tweaked to accommodate veterans. Reported the Dallas News (behind paywall), “Veterans’ health and mental health needs should be a priority of the criminal justice system, the council’s report said. The Legislature should provide grant funding to local governments for expansion of the Jail Diversion and Trauma Recovery Program, according to the report.” (See here for more background on the Jail Diversion and Trauma Recovery Program in San Antonio.)”

Legalized marijuana initiatives leave federal government wrestling with policy, Washington Post, Nov. 9, 2012

California prisons reform isolation units, but inmates say changes are cosmetic, KPCC, Nov. 9 2012
“Some describe SHU’s as “solitary confinement” or “isolation cells,” a characterization disputed by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CCDR). Hunger-striking inmates asked the state for small changes, like access to different clothing and meals, but also asked for something huge: A way out. While some inmates in the SHU have been given specific sentences, having committed a crime such as murder while behind bars, 3,100 inmates in the SHU, particularly in the SHU at Pelican Bay State Prison in Northern California, are serving indefinite terms there because they’ve been pegged as prison gang members or affiliates. Until now, the only way out for those inmates has been a process called “debriefing,” where the inmate tells gang officers everything they know about prison gangs, potentially pegging other inmates for SHU assignments.”

PUBLICATIONS

Systematic incarceration of African American males is a wrong, costly path, November 11, 2012 in Psychology & Psychiatry
“Mental health experts from Meharry Medical College School of Medicine have released the first comprehensive report on the correlation between the incarceration of African American males and substance abuse and other health problems in the United States. Published in Frontiers in Psychology on the 12th of November, the report looks at decades of data concerning the African American population rates of incarceration and subsequent health issues. The authors conclude that the moral and economic costs of current racial disparities in the judicial system are fundamentally avoidable, especially if more resources are spent on education and treatment.”

This is the same issue for Hawaiians, who receive disparate treatment (despite what the AG and prosecutor say). Another shameful blot on the face of justice. See Report: Disparate Treatment of Native Hawaiians in the Criminal Justice System.

Prison Visitation Policies: A Fifty State Survey, Yale University Law School, Nov. 5, 2012
This paper presents a summary of the findings from the first fifty-state survey of prison visitation policies. Our research explores the contours of how prison administrators exercise their discretion to prescribe when and how prisoners may have contact with friends and family.

Visitation policies impact recidivism, inmates’ and their families’ quality of life, public safety, and prison security, transparency and accountability. Yet many policies are inaccessible to visitors and researchers. Given the wide-ranging effects of visitation, it is important to understand the landscape of visitation policies and then, where possible, identify best practices and uncover policies that may be counterproductive or constitutionally infirm. Comparative analysis of the sort we have undertaken will, we hope, not only inform academics but empower regulators and administrators of prisons to implement thoughtful reforms.

Our paper and data set allow for state-by-state comparison across a group of common categories of visitation-related policies. In addition, we identify commonalities and variation in the categories we tracked, and also documented outlier policies revealed in the course of our research. We worked with the Association of State Correctional Administrators (ASCA) to track down difficult-to-find policy documents, and received written feedback from nearly all fifty state departments of corrections to ensure accuracy.

The paper is organized as follows. Part I describes the methodology we employed and considers its potential limitations. Part II provides our key substantive findings, presents a few highlights of the data, and discusses the basic commonalities of the policies, while noting the divergence in other key areas. Part III provides a detailed description of two sub-policy areas within visitation regulations. Here we analyze in more detail the range of approaches that states take to two contrasting forms of visitation: video visitation and overnight family (“conjugal”) visitation. Part IV outlines possible next steps for research on this topic.

Bureau of Justice Affair’s Strategic Plan
BJA is pleased to announce the release of its Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2013–2016. The plan is based on one overarching guiding principle:

Reduce crime, recidivism, and unnecessary confinement, and  promote a safe and fair criminal justice system.

Recognizing the need to be innovative, yet evidence-based and results-driven, BJA will focus on five major strategic areas:

1.       Reduction of violent crime, the improvement of community safety, and support for public safety officers.

2.       Reduction of recidivism and prevention of unnecessary confinement.

3.       Integration of evidence-based, research-driven strategies into the day-to-day operations of BJA and the programs BJA administers and supports.

4.       Increasing program effectiveness with a renewed emphasis on data analysis, information sharing, and performance management.

5.       Ensuring organizational excellence.

Reforming Juvenile Justice: A Developmental Approach, National Academies Press, 2012
This report was commissioned by the National Research Council at the request of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, an agency of the U.S. Department of Justice. The report’s authors argue that the juvenile justice system must be overhauled to incorporate an emerging body of knowledge about adolescent development and effective interventions, which should improve outcomes for young offenders and society as a whole.

The report outlines a number of guiding principles that it says should be incorporated in juvenile justice reform. Among these are:

·         Use restitution and community service as ways to hold offenders accountable to victims and the community.

·         Confine juveniles sparingly and only when necessary to respond to and prevent serious reoffending.

·         Avoid collateral consequences of being in the juvenile justice system, such as the public release of juvenile justice records that could reduce the offender’s opportunities for a successful transition to adult life.

·         Engage the adolescent offender’s family as much as possible and draw on neighborhood resources to encourage pro-social development and law-abiding behavior.

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