November 10th Summary

New Jersey Spot Light- Since implementing a new program known as the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, New Jersey has had 71 percent fewer juvenile incarcerations.

The Cap Times- Sheriff calls jail conditions inhumane, works to gather support for reforms. Longer expose style piece, highlighting both the lack of resources for mental health treatment/diversion programs, and human and financial consequences of what happens when people with preventable criminal episodes end up in jails. Pretty cool to see law enforcement taking a role in gathering support for treatment.

Prison Legal News- Modern-Day Slavery In America’s Prison Workforce– Longer Op-Ed, if you’re not familiar with the roots of prison work in convict leasing, what was historically referred to as “slavery by another name,” pretty good read for that. On a larger note, calls into question a sort of hidden cost of incarceration, since it’s well established that should prisoners be paid, say, even minimum wage, the cost of maintaining these facilities would grow by an order of magnitude.

Bayview- Last day for public comment to oppose censorship of letters in Pelican Bay

Open Society Foundation- ACLU receives $50 million dollar grant to address incarceration reform.

Urban Institute- The Justice Reinvestment Initiative– Series of experiences and policy recommendations from participating collaboratives across the country. Curious how the collaborative approach works out for some of these recommendations, not really expressed in detail in this report but interesting nonetheless.


October 10th Summary

Estimated results of Mississippi’s 2014 Corrections and Criminal Justice Reform Key Results include anticipated savings of $266 million through 2024, and reducing the current inmate population below existing levels.

Prop 47: Estimated savings and reduced inmate population

Critics Point to Problems in Louisianan’s Reformed Juvenile Justice System

Improving Recidivism as  Performance Measure. Performance Measures are key to the way federal public health grants function, I really see no reason why they shouldn’t be utilized in corrections, as measures of the success of state & federal correctional systems.

No Country for Young Men.  Startling Op-Ed about the few southern states that continue to see rising juvenile incarceration rates, despite the national trend of decline.

Five-state analysis of difference in reductions of harms of criminalization of marijuana after decriminalization or legalization Not surprisingly, Colorado with the most expansive legalization, has the lowest crime rates. Data are not available really for WA yet. Also interested to see if the declining rate present in California, while presenting well vs. national trends and state by state comparison, match up with existing trend data for California, or if these declines were truly unanticipated and thus perhaps more indicative of a casual relationship. Also key to note, racial disparities in arrest rates did not decline following decriminalization or legalization. The true numbers behind the rates fell considerably, but the disparity remains.

Either way this is a cool report, you should read it.

October 9th Summary

UPI- Bill Clinton says Prison Reform will be a hot-button issue in 2016

Gothamist- You’re Old and finally out of prison- What happens now? Op-ed, expose style piece covering many of the challenges experienced both by elderly prisoners, and those released from prison at older ages. Quality read.

J of Drug Policy- Medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorders in correctional settings: an ethics review. This is available on ScienceDirect, happy to pull as needed. Key finding is essentially that yes, based on the treatments ethical justifications, it is strongly suggested to be ethical in correctional settings.

USN- Complaints at troubled Alabama women’s prison often deemed unfounded by state investigators. This is a challenging issue to approach I’m sure, this article provides an interesting introduction into the topic.

ColorLines- New ACLU report claims Boston has a Stop and Frisk problem. Link to the full report embedded in the ColorLines post.

Telesur- NY Police Won’t Arrest Immigrants Without a Warrant Remains to be seen in practice, but a new ruling suggests this.

October 6th Summary

NJ- “How Republicans Stopped being ‘Tough on Crime'” – Op-Ed, provides some good overview of GOP stances on corrections reform, worth a read if this is somewhat unknown to you. This organization just came across my newsfeed today, provides some very interesting state by state data on prison closures and reuse information, as well as case studies, and relevant up to date blog.

The Guardian- New survey from UK suggests increasing proportion of Brittan support more liberal approaches to drug policy. Key figures include 84% saying the decades-long campaign against the global narcotics trade can’t be won, and 52% supporting the introduction of initiatives like those in Colorado and Washington to legalize recreational marijuana.

NY Times- California Voters to Decide on Sending Fewer Criminals to Prison– Provides really great background on Prop 47, which will transform several lower-level, nonviolent felonies into misdemeanors punishable by brief jail stays, rather than state penitentiaries. Provides a great overview, with additional links, to some background on Prop 47, and some mentioning of the somewhat bipartisan support it sees.

October 2nd Summary

US Drug Enforcement is still despicably racist

Key facts include that black Americans are 3.6 more likely to be arrested for drug crime possession charges, despite being ~32% less likely to have used drugs in the last month.

US high school dropout rate reaches record lows driven by improved rates among Hispanic and black youth

If educational attainment is a predictor of criminal behavior, this should start to show strong associations.

Corcoran SHU prisoners start hunger strike for decent healthcare, SUPPORT NEEDED NOW

Started Sep 26th, see the California Prison Watch article for details!

Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law blasts SF proposed prison visitor strip search policy as unconstitutional


Ex-deputy details culture of abuse in L.A. County jail

The deputy described beating inmates unprovoked, slapping them, shooting them with a Taser gun and aggressively searching them to pick a fight — something he learned “on the job.” He would huddle with other jail guards to get their stories straight and write up reports with bogus scenarios justifying the brutality. If the inmate had no visible injuries, he wouldn’t report the use of force, period.