December 5th Summary

Juvenile Justice Information Exchange- Op-ed: Too Many Obstacles for Californians Looking to Seal Juvenile Records– References a survey of some interest.

The Marshall Project- Will Millennial Embrace Prison Reform? Two Harvard guys aim to find out.- Hey hear’s hoping something comes from this, it’s a very laudable goal.

The Marshall Project- The Misleading Math of ‘Recidivism’– Good read for a better understanding of the complexities of generating recidivism rates, and the role of parole violations in this. Even for those with a background in calculating or analyzing these rates, provides some background on the use of these rates in popular media, which could be of interest to note.

The Dissenter- UN Anti-Torture Watchdog Dismayed at US Failure to Provide Redress for Chicago Police Torture Survivors– I really don’t know enough about the accusations of torture in question to have a very useful opinion here, but! Interesting read nonetheless.


December 4th Summary

Gone for the holidays, my apologies. Keep in mind these are up to date as of the 4th, likely missed some things over the last week.

Michigan Live- Welfare drug testing pilot program approved by Michigan House– Really quite regrettable, any arguments mustered in opposition to welfare benefits to people who use drugs surely must concede that current data sources still mean this will be a decision that ultimately costs more money, potentially affecting services for using and sober clients alike.

Prison Policy Initiative- Tracking State Prison Growth in 50 States– There’s no short-edge of these graphs on the internet today, but I am especially fond of these as it shows variation between states, regions, rates of incarceration and totals (presumably steady state totals) as well as county jails, state and federal prisons. So, in many ways this is the most cogent visualization of growth of incarceration in the U.S, least that I have seen.

Prison Culture- Send White People to Jail: Protest in the Era of Black (Mass) Incarceration– Not sure I follow the entire article, worthy of a closer read no doubt.

Talk Poverty- Mass Incarceration and the Health of Our Communities– It’s not uncommon to hear people arguing for a public health approach to substance abuse (and thus, often by implication drug crimes) and sometimes even to other crimes. This article offers some more tangible exploration of this idea, with opportunities under the ACA.

Portland Press Herald Op Ed- Criminal court judge: We don’t ‘mass incarcerate’ select groups– Despite the title, which to me seems to be clearly targeting critics of mass incarceration, specifically the abhorrently disproportional rate of incarceration among black men; the article actually vears off to most strongly criticize calls for eliminating life sentences for violent crimes, which a priori, the author is correct, would not make a huge dent in incarceration rates or totals. Still, not sure I agree with it, but once again an antithetical read is not a bad thing on principle.

Truthout- Justice Department Takes Steps to Reform Grant Program Incentives– Interesting, I’d like to hear more thoughts on this from inside DOJ workers. I’m no stranger to ambitious, laudable goals translated into¬† failed attempts at revising grant criteria.

November 25th Summary

PEW Charitable Trusts- States Project 3% Increase in Prisoners by 2018

Argus Leader- Justice Reform holds prison population steady in South Dakota

Quartz- It’s not Ferguson: US cops who kill are rarely indited– and the data are poorly managed

The Economist- Criminal Cities– The author at times uses the phrase “crime rate” vaguely, and I think interchangeably with violent crime rate, thought if not, than there is considerable room for error in their speculation of falling “crime” rates as possibly related to city to city immigration. Similarly, I’m not convinced that the poor economic climates of the cities they’ve mentioned, or perhaps the presence of better social programs among the comparisons, is not a better hypothesis for why violent crime has fallen in some cities but not others. Regardless, interesting to think about; more important to remember that there are harsh regional disparities in crime rates, violent or otherwise, and that declining national rates may be masking some of the most disparate locations.

November 24th Summary

Prison Policy Initiative- New opportunity to weigh in on FCC prison phone regulation– Open to January 5th!

NY Times- A Plan to Cut Costs and Crime– For those familiar with Ban the Box initiatives, no new information here. Otherwise, not a bad introduction to it. Not so sure about the briefly noted criticisms that somehow not indicating criminal history will leader to greater profiling of minorities.

SE Missourian- Drug Court saves lives and money– Flouts some pretty remarkable state figures for the success of the program, with 90% of participants being arrest free, vs a 60-80% rearrest rate per non drug court offenders. The article doesn’t list dates however, so I’m personally somewhat skeptical of the authors data analytic abilities. Regardless, it’s probably still good, and it’s always nice for a feel good Op-ED style piece in SE Missouri.

November 21st Summary

Huffington Post- For the First Time Ever, a Prosecutor Will Go To Jail for Wrongfully Convicting an Innocent Man– Has anyone seen official responses to this post? I don’t doubt the authors credentials, but I do wonder what the criticisms would be.

KSFY- ABC- Tribal Parole Pilot Program helps to reduce prison population

The Marshall Project- Overlooking Rape– News on New Orleans reopening hundreds of rape cases, plus background on reportedly low rape rates likely being the result of decreased investigation by police.

PBS- Point of View– Not all that new of information, but sort of interesting to read statements side by side of pro vs. opposed incarceration reform folks.¬† Though there is something artificial about it, as I think that many of the “pro” individuals identified, might agree with the criticisms of violent offenders given by the “opposed” side, where there’s not a whole lot written on the views of non violent offenders.

The Marshall Project- Is the Criminal Justice System Defensible?– A spirited essay debate between Judge Harvie Wilkinson III and Stephen Bright, lecturer at Yale Law school and president of the Southern Center for Human Rights. Judge Wilkinson believes that criticism of the American justice system is one sided and over-exaggerated, professor Bright argues against this. Really interesting read, obviously, self-evident through this blog I’m on the side of professor Bright, but a healthy dose of an opposing view point seems to me to be a smart move every now and then.

The Detroit News- Michigan prison sentence reform gains momentum

NPR Utah- Utah Lawmakers Consider Bringing Back the firing squad– Kind of absurd.


November 18th Summary

PEW Charitable Trusts- Most States Cut Imprisonment and Crime

Next City- Can Europe offer the US a model for prison reform?– The large difference between European nations and US prison policies probably comes as a surprise to no one, but! Still interesting to see the differences contrasted.

The Marshall Project- Started by a former New York Times columnist of 30 years, aspiring to provide non-partisan coverage of the justice system. Could be interesting to watch what sort of stories are produced.

Main Justice- Federal Prison Reform is a Top Justice Department Priority– Optimism forever vigilant, not sure what sort of pass-through investments DOJ makes however, nor have I read a review of their support for sentencing reforms in practice.

November 14th Summary

Huffington Post- Corrections reform optimistic despite lame duck session– More optimism that a bi-partisan proposal for corrections reform might come up federally over the next two years. Here’s hoping it’s not unfounded.

Saint Peter’s Blog- Project on Accountable Justice Released report on Florida Prison Reform

Built In Chicago- Jail Education Solutions to assist with educational reforms in Philadelphia prison system– Real curious to see if there’s success with this sort of model. Certainly get points for creativity.

Juvenile Justice Information Exchange- States are failing to protect juvenile records, study shows– For details on the scoring system, scroll to the end of the article for a link to the interactive map with more details.

University of Ontario- FSHH student investigates cost-effectiveness of drug-treatment courts– Readers interested in cost effectiveness or return on investment studies of drug courts or therapeutic courts in general might also look up a meta-analysis by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy

Release- New UK Drug Report Leads to Same Old Political Rhetoric– Provides a pretty insightful summary of the recent report, as well as a critique of officials responses to it.