Weekly ReCAP: November 23, 2012

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds you plant.
-Robert Louis Stevenson

This week’s ReCAP highlights news from Hawai‘i and regarding:
Bail Industry • Compassionate Release • Drug Wars • Juvenile Justice • Prison Reform • Re-Entry • Sentencing • Women Prisoners • and More…

HAWAI‘I

Hawai‘i State Legislature Update 11.22.12, CAPBlog, Nov. 22, 2012

PLDC In Denial, Honolulu Weekly, Nov. 21, 2012

Breaking News: Joe Souki New House Speaker, CAPBlog, Nov. 21, 2012

Hawai‘i State Legislature Update 11.20.12, CAPBlog, Nov. 20, 2012

Hawaii Senate: Leadership Plays A Game Of Political Musical Chairs, Civil Beat, Nov. 20, 2012
“For the first time in nearly two decades, a Republican holds a leadership position in the Hawaii Legislature. On Friday Sen. Sam Slom was appointed vice chair of the Senate Committee on Economic Development and Housing, which will be chaired by Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz.”

This could make for an interesting session since Dela Cruz is a BIG supporter of transit oriented development and Slom is against rail!

State Violated Law By Urging “Yes” Vote On Ballot Measure, Hawaii Reporter, Nov.10, 2012
“Hawai‘i’s “Department of Land and Natural Resources violated state law by advocating passage of a constitutional amendment on Tuesday’s general election ballot, Acting Attorney General Russell Suzuki said. The proposed amendment, which was narrowly rejected by voters, concerned repairs to agricultural dams and reservoirs. DLNR paid for newspaper ads that recommended a “yes” vote on the measure. …”

The state has already been sued and lost on this issue. The state is a Repeat Offender with no consequences. Double standard!

BAIL INDUSTRY

Bailing on Justice: The Dysfunctional System of Using Money to Buy Pretrial Freedom, Prison Legal, News, November 2012
This is a long and terrific article. Dog and his posse certainly prevailed in Hawai`I when they came out in force against the Justice Reinvestment bills. They were brought in by Honolulu prosecutor, Keith Kaneshiro to strong-arm the legislature and they did. Really disgusting!

“The effects of strong lobbying efforts should not be underestimated. In places where the for-profit bail bonding industry has launched attacks on pretrial reform, they have occasionally triumphed in the face of opposition by the courts, law enforcement and the public.”

New Orleans investigating replacement of bail bond system for defendants, nola.com, May 31, 2011
The Vera Institute of Justice is implementing a new system in New Orleans. In Hawai`i, where the Justice Reinvestment Analysis showed that pre-trial detainees are held 71 days as compared with 3-5 days in the 39 largest counties in the US, we need to re-think our system. CAP is glad this is starting to happen now.

“The effort to create a “pretrial services” program comes as proponents of removing money as the key factor in bail determinations gather today in Washington for a conference sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice…All the research that has been done on this shows that money bail is not remotely a predictor that you will reappear in court,” said Michael Jacobson, president of the Vera Institute of Justice, the nonprofit group helping New Orleans create its program. …”

States Struggle to Regulate the Bond Industry, Governing Magazine, April 2011
“The bail industry argues that their commercial services save states money and keep defendants from fleeing, which lowers failure-to-appear rates. In many states, bond enforcement agents — bounty hunters — can track fugitives down, unbound by public enforcement restrictions. But critics say the bail system unfairly penalizes low-income defendants who can’t afford the nonrefundable fee. It subverts the justice system, they argue, because defendants who can afford to buy their freedom — even those that may pose a relatively greater risk—are free to go. “It’s just inappropriate,” says John Goldkamp, a professor of criminal justice at Temple University, who has been studying bail, pretrial release and detention for a quarter century. “When the bail system is based on dollars, there will be issues of accountability, greed, corruption and poverty.”

COMPASSIONATE RELEASE

The Other Death Sentence, Mother Jones, Sept. 25, 2012
CAP is again working on a bill (that has been praised by national experts) to release the elderly and infirm from our system so they can spend their last days with their `ohana. Too many people dying alone in prison. No aloha in that!

“…Keeping thousands of old men locked away might make sense to die-hards seeking maximum retribution or politicians seeking political cover, but it has little effect on public safety. By age 50, people are far less likely to commit serious crimes. “Arrest rates drop to 2 percent,” explains Hood, the retired federal warden. “They are almost nil at the age of 65.” The arrest rate for 16-to-19-year-olds, by contrast, runs around 12 percent. …”

DRUG WAR

SafeKeepers http://www.wearesafekeepers.org/
“SafeKeepers profiles cops, judges and prosecutors who favor legalization of marijuana and oppose harsh sentences for low-level drug offenses. The videos include:
– Former judge Jim Gray, who says the sentences he handed down brought him to tears
– Former prosecutor John Amabile who says that “drug policy kills more people than drugs themselves”
– Former U.S. Marshal Matthew Fogg who says he was told not to lead his team on drug raids in neighborhoods with majority white populations
In addition, visitors to the site can submit their own stories about how the war on drugs has affected them.”

Will U.S. Try To Snuff Out State Marijuana Laws?, NPR, Nov. 20, 2012

JUVENILE JUSTICE

A Second Chance to Advance Juvenile Justice Reforms, The Crime Report, Nov. 23, 2012
At a cost of $137,000/year to incarcerate mostly status offenders in Hawai`i, we need to do more. Hopefullythe Juvenile Detention Alternatives to Incarceration initiative will gain support at the legislature next session.

“…The Administration could accelerate the pace and scope of juvenile justice reforms throughout the country by showing strong leadership, taking concrete steps to strengthen existing efforts and launch new policy initiatives, and by more effectively investing federal resources. …”

Study Calls for Trying Offenders As Old as 24 In Juvenile Courts, The Crime Report, Nov. 20, 2012
“Processing young adult offenders between 18 and 24 years old in the adult court system rather than the juvenile court system results in more offending, says a new study in the journal Criminology & Public Policy,…most young offenders naturally stop offending in their early 20s. Juveniles whose cases have been handled in adult courts and sent to prison with adults are much more likely to ontinue offending than those who were not dealt with by the adult system, the authors conclude. They argue that young adult offenders should be handled in specially designated courts that focus on rehabilitation and reentry and kept out of the adult system. Elizabeth Cauffman of the University of California at Irvine agrees with the study but notes that increasing the age of maturity beyond 18 would mean little if prosecutors continue to transfer, try, and sentence juveniles as adults.”

PRISON REFORM

Why Mass Incarceration Defines Us As a Society. Smithsonian.com, December 2012

US DOJ & US DOEd: $1 Million Now Available for Inmate Education, CAPBlog, Nov. 21, 2012
“This post includes the grant announcement from U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education, as well as resources on education and the criminal justice system.”

Family Becomes Focal Point in Fight to Lower Prison Phone Rates, ColorLines, Nov. 20, 2012

Feds Must Lead the Way in Prison and Sentencing Reform, The Crime Report, Nov. 20, 2012
“All the evidence points to the conclusion that the incarceration experience creates violence and does not deter it. The extreme racially disproportionate population of American prisons and juvenile facilities needs national leadership and increased attention.”

“Despite the popular assumption that incarceration makes our communities safer, the growing evidence is that the opposite is true. Prisons, jails and juvenile facilities are places of extreme violence that spread this contagion of violence rather than contain it. …”

Movement Victory: FCC Proposes to Regulate Prison Telephone Industry, Prison Policy Initiative, Nov. 15, 2012
“Washington D.C.- The monopolistic prison telephone industry took a hit today when FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn announced that the FCC is considering a proposal to cap the predatory monopoly rates charged to families of incarcerated people. She announced that yesterday Chairman Julius Genachowski circulated a regulatory proposal to the other commissioners for consideration. The proposed Federal Communications Commission regulation would be a key turning point in a decade-long multi-organization campaign to protect the poorest families in the nation from predatory telephone charges. The announcement was made at a rally outside the FCC offices in Washington D.C. where several organizations submitted petitions containing more than 40,000 signatures calling for the regulation”

How to Cut Prison Costs, New York Times Editorial, Nov. 10, 2012
“Thanks in part to the federal Second Chance Act of 2008, states are finding creative ways to cut prison costs — now more than $52 billion a year nationwide — by making sure that people who are released from prison actually stay out. The act, aimed at helping states and localities reduce recidivism, encourages changes like those that have already taken place in Kansas, Texas and Oregon. The states have expanded community-based drug treatment programs, improved post-prison supervision and retooled parole systems that once shunted people back to jail not for actual crimes but for technical violations that are more cheaply and effectively dealt with through community-based sanctions like house arrest or mandatory drug treatment. …”

Governing Magazine: The Power of Incentives for Performance, Governing Magazine, Aug. 22, 2012
“Performance incentive funding (PIF) is a lesser-known but important part of this broad movement, and it is a particularly useful approach for turning fiscal tension between state and local leaders into a productive relationship. This method addresses a significant structural contradiction in the way most states share responsibility with their local governments for the more than five million adults in America’s correctional system.”

RE-ENTRY

Background checks prone to mistakes: Inaccurate reports can cost applicants job opportunities, azcentral.com, Nov. 20, 2012
This is a really important issue since the vast majority of employers now require criminal background checks for all sorts of jobs. This new industry has gone relatively unregulated and unwatched and has become one of the biggest barriers to reentry. When I spoke in Kona this past August at the EEOC conference I reported that Hire Right, one of these companies, just got fined $2.6 million by the feds for inaccurate reporting. A woman from Ohio then came up to me after the talk to say that her company used Hire Right. I told her she needed to speak to her Human Resources department immediately. There are many, many inaccuracies – sometimes by wrong names, other times listing the same offense multiple times to make it look like someone has a long criminal history. When profit-driven companies like criminal background checks or drug testing labs create new industries, we should all be nervous. What happened to this lady in the article could happen to anyone.

How to Keep Criminals Out of Jail, Governing Magazine, Jan. 19, 2012
“To address these challenges, in 2009 Newark established an Office of Reentry. Characteristically, Booker didn’t just create another government bureaucracy. Instead, he teamed with New York City’s Manhattan Institute to insure that best practices would be used to combat chronic problems.

The Office of Reentry’s biggest program is the Newark Prisoner Reentry Initiative http://manhattan-institute.net/html/cci_moving_men_into_the_mainstream.htm . The city was the first in the country to earn a grant for this kind of approach from the U.S. Department of Labor. The two-year, $2 million grant was leveraged with a match from philanthropic partners.”

SENTENCING

Revised California 3 Strikes law: Man becomes first to be re-sentenced under Prop. 36, abc10news, Nov. 21, 2012

Mass. seeks new policy on life sentences: Youths must get chance of parole, The Boston Globe, Nov. 20, 2012
“Massachusetts juveniles ­incarcerated for life without ­parole will probably wait well into 2013 or beyond for a chance at reduced prison time, as lawyers, prosecutors, legislators, and advocates carefully craft a strategy to bring the state into compliance with new federal law outlawing the mandatory sentence…Governor Deval Patrick’s point person on the issue wants life without parole banned entire­ly for juveniles, whether mandatory or not. Middlesex District Attorney ­Gerard T. Leone Jr. wants teenage killers to serve a minimum of 35 years before becoming eligible for parole, while the Massachusetts District Attorneys Association has reached no consensus on a solution…The ruling tore open a door victim’s families thought was locked forever. Across the country, more than 2,100 individuals are serving mandatory sentences of life without parole for murders committed while they were under 18, said Marsha Levick, deputy director and chief counsel of Philadelphia’s Juvenile Law Center.”

WOMEN PRISONERS

Alternatives to Incarceration for Women, CAPBlog, Nov. 20, 2012
“Alternatives to incarceration explored
The United States has one of the highest, most expensive, and fastest growing incarceration rates in the world. In this new video interview, Erika Kates , Ph.D., senior research scientist at the Wellesley Centers for Women, discusses the impact incarceration can have on women’s physical health, emotional well-being, family life, and economic stability. She also shares some effective alternatives to incarceration, such as women-centered counseling and pre-trial probation.”

MORE…

Pardon people, not turkeys: Under President Obama, the odds of clemency or commutation are shamefully slim, Sentencing Law and Policy, Nov. 21, 2012

Dolovich on Teaching Prison Law, CrimProf Blog, Nov. 19, 2012
“…But for many if not most defendants, the period from arrest to verdict (or plea) is only a preamble to an extended period under state control. It is during the administration of punishment that the state’s criminal justice power is at its zenith, and at this point that the laws constraining the exercise of that power become most crucial. Yet it is precisely at this point that the curriculum in most law schools falls silent. This essay argues that that silence is a problem, and that American law schools should expand their curricular offerings to include some class or classes covering the post-conviction period. There are innumerable arguments supporting this reform. These include the sheer number of people in custody, the extreme vulnerability of this population and its enormous unmet legal need, and the fact that any law student who is planning a career in criminal justice — and thus involved in the process by which people are sent to prison — should be exposed to the realities of the American penal system and its governing legal framework.”

Bernie Sanders in a Fiery Speech: Do Not Cut Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid, AlterNet, Nov. 16, 2012
There is a video embedded in this article that explains the importance of these social programs and how the lies told by the 1% in the recent election only served to confuse the 99%.

“Deficit reduction is a serious issue, but it must be done in a way that is fair. We must not balance the budget on the backs of the elderly, the sick, the children or the poor. Sanders also explained why Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit, as it is independently funded by payroll tax.”

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