Weekly ReCAP: Nov. 30, 2012

ReCap ThumbnailThe purpose of human life is to serve and to show compassion and the will to help others. – Albert Schweitzer

This week’s ReCAP highlights news from Hawai‘i and regarding:
CCA • Compassionate Release • Drug War • Eyewitness ID • Juvenile Justice • Prison Reform • Three Strikes • Veterans • Women Prisoners

HAWAI‘I

Expert disputes girls’ crime wave, The New Zealand Herald, Nov. 29, 2012
Go Meda! We are so lucky to have experts like Meda working with us to improve the quality of justice in Hawai`i nei.

Excerpt: “A world expert on women and crime says a “moral panic” about violent girls is seeing more of them arrested and jailed, even though evidence suggests they are actually becoming less violent. Meda Chesney-Lind, a Hawaiian women’s studies professor who is in Auckland for a criminology conference, said the panic was fuelled by media firms appealing to chauvinist men by portraying women – especially black women – as violent.

The story was reinforced by “zero tolerance” policing policies which led to more females being arrested for minor crimes that would once have been dismissed with a warning. …”

Maui Prison Guard Accused Of Using Inmates For Private Landscaping Company, Maui Time, Nov. 28, 2012

Kulani Prison takes step toward reopening, West Hawaii Today, Nov. 24, 2012

Kulani to Reopen – Announced in Today’s Environmental Notice, CAP Blog, Nov. 24, 2012

Drug Enforcement Administration shuts down Hawaii island office, Associated Press, Nov. 24, 2012

Lawyer claims Hawaii prisoners are harassed at Arizona prison, Hawaii News Now, Nov. 23, 2012
“A Honolulu lawyer who represents about 70 Hawaii inmates at an Arizona prison said officials there routinely harass and retaliate against some of those inmates for bringing complaints about their treatment behind bars. Hawaii inmates at Saguaro Correctional Center in Arizona often use the phone to talk to their Hawaii-based attorneys, such as Myles Breiner. But he said officials at the prison routinely listen to the prisoners’ side of the conversations and take notes on their contents, a violation of attorney-client privilege.”

Please e-mail Kat with your stories of harassment after staff listens in on attorney-client phone calls, please e-mail me at kat.caphi@gmail.com. She knows of a man who was thrown in admin seg for writing a declaration to his attorney that was read by staff.  Also, she has heard stories from the men telling of the Wardens calling some Jewish attorneys racist names. Please share your stories.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie Asks PLDC to Take A Time-Out, Civil Beat, Nov. 23, 2012

Meeting with  a small group behind closed doors is NOT going to satisfy the public who turned out en force. Why doesn’t the administration understand the meaning of PUBLIC?

Hawaii Governor Wants To Make Peace With Groups Opposing PLDC, Civil Beat, Nov. 23, 2012

This is another sad commentary on how this administration does not understand the word PUBLIC. They propose to have closed door meetings with a few opponents. This is so wrong. They need to acknowledge they blew it, scrap the PLDC and talk to every community about how to fix the broken down infrastructure that they failed to maintain when they had money. 

CCA

Private prison company used in drug raids at public high school, Open Democracy, Nov. 27, 2012

COMPASSIONATE RELEASE

US: Prison Officials Thwart Compassionate Release, Human Rights Watch, Nov. 30, 2012
“The 128-page joint report, “The Answer is No: Too Little Compassionate Release in US Federal Prisons,” is the first comprehensive examination of how compassionate release in the federal system works. Congress authorized compassionate release because it realized that changed circumstances could make continued imprisonment senseless and inhumane. But if the Bureau of Prisons refuses to bring prisoners’ cases to the courts, judges cannot rule on whether release is warranted. Since 1992, the Bureau of Prisons has averaged annually only two dozen motions to the courts for early release, out of a prison population that now exceeds 218,000. The Bureau of Prisons does not keep records of the number of prisoners who seek compassionate release.”

Federal ‘Compassionate’ Prison Release Rarely Given, NPR, Nov. 30, 2012

DRUG WAR

Editorial: Time for a third-way drug policy, Dallas Morning News, Nov. 26, 2012

The Truce On Drugs, New York Mag, Nov. 25, 2012

EYEWITNESS ID

Failed Evidence: Why Law Enforcement Resists Science, Jurist, Nov. 27, 2012

Mistaken eyewitness identifications responsible for bad convictions, expert says, CBS News, Nov. 23, 2012

JUVENILE JUSTICE

The Shocking Details of a Mississippi School-to-Prison Pipeline, AlterNet, Nov. 27, 2012
Excerpt: “Cedrico Green can’t exactly remember how many times he went back and forth to juvenile. When asked to venture a guess he says, “Maybe 30.” He was put on probation by a youth court judge for getting into a fight when he was in eighth grade. Thereafter, any of Green’s school-based infractions, from being a few minutes late for class to breaking the school dress code by wearing the wrong color socks, counted as violations of his probation and led to his immediate suspension and incarceration in the local juvenile detention center.

But Green wasn’t alone. A bracing Department of Justice lawsuit filed last month against Meridian, Miss., where Green lives and is set to graduate from high school this coming year, argues that the city’s juvenile justice system has operated a school to prison pipeline that shoves students out of school and into the criminal justice system, and violates young people’s due process rights along the way.”
Hawai`i must be vigilant to ensure this never happens. Several years ago Carlisle and Kubo went to the Board of Education to ask for names of students who got into trouble so that they could ‘watch’ them.
Kids in Cages, The Alcalde, Oct. 30, 2012
“The staff said, ‘We’re not equipped to handle these kids. They don’t belong here. We hope you tell the Legislature that,’” Lipton Galbraith recalls. For two years now, Deitch and her students have been telling legislators—and anyone else who will listen—just that. The data they’ve collected paint a disturbing picture of the dangerous conditions faced by the 1,292 teenagers certified as adults from 2005 to 2011.“It’s a small number, but for those kids, it’s a big deal,” says Deitch, a New Yorker-turned-Texan whose faint Staten Island accent comes out in moments of strong emotion. “They’re at incredibly high risk for suicide, sexual violence, mental health issues, and a whole host of other problems.”Even more alarming, Deitch argues that teens sent to adult prisons are no more violent than their peers sentenced to state-run youth lockups— and they’re much less likely to be successfully rehabilitated.”
In Prisons, Youth are Prey, The Alcalde, Oct. 31, 2012
“The teens sent to the adult system have been cast adrift, labeled “career criminals,” as if a 15-year-old child with a still-developing brain can have embarked on premeditated evil—rather than being governed by impulse and driven by the violence he or she has seen daily. There is nothing rehabilitative about adult prisons, especially not Texas prisons,…Prison is a place of violence, and the will and discipline needed to fend off gang overtures and sexual predators are not qualities many teenagers have. They are prey, desperate for approval, willing to succumb to peer pressure to be accepted into the only culture they now know.”

PRISON REFORM

Corrections reforms would cut crime, save money, advocates say, Journal Sentinel, Nov. 28, 2012
“There’s every reason in the world to see that alternatives to incarceration work, especially for people whose primary issue is addiction or a mental health issue,” said David Liners of the faith-based advocacy group WISDOM, whose 11-by-15 Campaign for Justice aims to cut the state’s prison population in half to 11,000 by 2015.

“We’re never going to solve health issues with criminal justice solutions,” he said.WISDOM, which sees the state’s incarceration rates as a moral and social justice issue, commissioned the study with a $200,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The faith-based coalition of social justice groups is working on legislation for the 2013-’15 biennium modeled after a 1973 Minnesota law that stressed community treatment over incarceration for low-level offenders.

Such measures have historically been a tough sell in Wisconsin, where the Legislature passed the truth-in-sentencing law in 1999 and last year rescinded a program that released prisoners early for good behavior or health reasons. But Republican Gov. Scott Walker and others have expressed interest in the study’s findings.”

Prison guard union backs de-incarceration, closing 2 private units, Grits for Breakfast, Nov. 27, 2012

Supermax prison officials move to address mental health after lawsuit

Supermax prison officials move to address mental health after lawsuit, Denver Post, Nov. 26, 2012

State by State, the Case Against Prisons Becomes Promising, IVN, Nov. 26, 2012

Prison reductions from reforms start slow, OhioCentral.com, Nov. 24, 2012

The Micro and Macro Causes of Prison Growth, John F. Pfaff, Fordham University School of Law, July 20, 2012, Georgia State University Law Review, Vol. 28, No. 4, 2012. Fordham Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2181062

Abstract: This paper explores both “who” has driven up US prison populations in recent years and “why” this growth has occurred. At least since the early 1990s, the “who” appears to primarily be prosecutors. Crime and arrests have fallen, and the percent of felony cases resulting in admissions and time served once admitted have been flat. But the probability that an arrest results in a felony charge has gone up significantly. (Limitations in data prevent us from examining the role of filing decisions before 1994.)

As for the “why,” this paper provides some evidence that, at least since the crime drop began, increases in prison spending appear to track increases in state budgets fairly closely, suggesting that increased fiscal capacity is an important causal factor. It also looks at the politics-of-crime theories and explains that all previous efforts are unsatisfactory because they have focused on state and federal actors. Prosecutors, who are driving prison growth, are county officials, and it is unclear that state- and national-level political theories explain more-local outcomes.

THREE STRIKES

California Horror Stories and the 3-Strikes Law, The New York Times, Nov. 24, 2012

VETERANS

Specialized court helps out troubled veterans, Detroit News, Nov. 27, 2012
“Detroit’s Veterans Court aims to rehabilitate vets accused of nonviolent crimes, especially those with alcohol and drug problems. Instead of jailing them, the court works at getting them help, says the Detroit News. The court is one of four in southeastern Michigan set up to handle nonviolent vets. Since the first veterans court was established in Buffalo, N.Y., in 2008, 120 such diversionary programs have been opened in 35 states, and more are on the way. Judges expect an influx of cases as more troops return home from Afghanistan.”

WOMEN PRISONERS

Northwestern Wrongful Convictions Project To Focus on Women’s Cases, The Crime Report, Nov. 29, 2012

Virginia weighs ban on some restraints for pregnant inmates, The Washington Post, Nov. 25, 2012

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