Four terrific pieces to explore!

Four really terrific pieces for you to explore today:

  1. From The Sentencing Project

    • Article: Can We Reduce The Prison Population By 25%
      • Excerpt: “A report we recently co-authored for The Sentencing Project documented that three states – New York, New Jersey, and California – have led the nation in recent years by reducing their prison populations by about 25%. … While some proponents of continued high rates of incarceration warn of the prospect of a “crime wave” if populations are reduced, we found no evidence for such an outcome in these states. During this time frame, a period in which crime rates were declining nationally, these three states generally achieved greater reductions in violent and property crimes than national averages. … Below is a selection of changes in policy and practice that hold the potential for substantial reductions in imprisonment.”: Expand diversion programs and their admissions criteria; Reduce sentence lengths for drug offenders; Establish an upper limit on all prison terms; Reduce parole and probation supervision of low-risk individuals; Reclassify certain felony offenses as misdemeanor
    • Policy Brief: Fewer Prisoners, Less Crime
      • imgresExcerpt: “These prison population reductions have come about through a mix of changes in policy and practice designed to reduce admissions to prison and lengths of stay. The experiences of these states reinforce that criminal justice policies, and not crime rates, are the prime drivers of changes in prison populations. They also demonstrate that it is possible to substantially reduce prison populations without harming public safety.”
  2. A film on Juvenile Life Without Parole (Florida case. Free film viewing online this month.) Are you the same person you were at 15?

    • 15tolife-144x90_video_thumb_0Documentary: 15 to Life: Kenneth’s Story
      • “Does sentencing a teenager to life without parole serve our society well? The United States is the only country in the world that routinely condemns children to die in prison. This is the story of one of those children, now a young man, seeking a second chance in Florida.”
  3. Why Inequality Matters for Criminology and Criminal Justice

    Abstract: “The presenter, a co-author of The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison, will focus on economic inequality, which receives less attention than race or gender. This paper will start by  providing an overview of economic inequality in several developed nations before discussing several ways to conceptualize the inequality between natural and corporate persons. Next, the presentation will summarize the links between inequality and crimes of the poor as well as crimes of the rich, following Braithwaite’s formulation that inequality worsens crimes of need and crimes of greed. The impact of inequality on each stage of the criminal justice system will then be reviewed. Law making is influenced by lobbying. Policing means war on crimes done by the poor and zero tolerance, but deregulation for corporations. Judicial processing and outcomes are heavily influenced by quality of legal assistance and resources. By sentencing, the wealthy and corporations who have harmed workers, consumers and communities have been largely weeded out; it is the poor who get sentenced to prison, reinforcing the belief that they are the most dangerous. The conclusion highlights the importance of ideology in minimizing concern about inequality and its effect on justice.”

  4. US Sentencing Commission Quick Facts on Women in the Federal Offender Population

    • “While women continue to make up a small percentage of federal offenders, the proportion of federal offenders who were women rose slightly from 12.1% in fiscal year 2009 to 13.3% in fiscal year 2013.Offender And Offense Characteristics:

      In fiscal year 2013, more than two-thirds of female offenders were sentenced for drug trafficking (33.7%), fraud (23.9%), or immigration (14.3%) offenses.

      In only one offense, embezzlement, were female offenders in the majority (57.2%).

      More than one-third were Hispanic (37.5%) followed by White (34.5%), Black (21.8%), and Other Races (6.2%).

      The largest racial group of female drug trafficking offenders was Hispanic (43.6%) followed by White (35.6%), Black (16.3%), and Other Races (4.5%).

      The largest racial group of female fraud offenders was White (42.5%) followed by Black (35.8%), Hispanic (15.5%), and Other Races (6.2%).

      Most female immigration offenders were Hispanic (86.4%), followed by White (5.4%), Other Races (4.9%), and Black (3.3%).

      The average age of these offenders at sentencing was 38 years.

      The majority of female offenders were United States citizens (79.5%).

      Most female offenders (70.8%) had little or no prior criminal history (i.e., assigned to Criminal History Category I). The proportion of female offenders in other Criminal History Categories was as follows:

      10.2% of these offenders were in Category II;

      10.5% were in Category III;

      3.6% were in Category IV;

      2.0% were in Category V; and,

      2.9% were in Category VI.

      Districts with the highest proportion of their overall caseload comprising female offenders were:

      Middle District of Alabama (26.2% of overall caseload);

      Northern District of West Virginia (25.4%);

      District of Alaska (24.3%);

      Western District of Virginia (22.6%);

      Southern District of Illinois (22.4%); and,

      District of Hawaii (22.4%).


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