National Coalition of Community-Based Correctional and Community Re-Entry Service Organizations (NC4RSO)

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NOVEMBER, 2011: PRISON MENTORING A CRITICAL ACTIVITY (Source: NC4RSO)

People who stay out of prison after release are found to overwhelmingly receive individualized mentor or mentor-like support.  Such support may be either formal or informal, but it occurs. Want to read more? See: http://www.nc4rso.org/think_tank.html

 

OCTOBER, 2011: CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR PURSUING FOR PRISON-REFORM-IN-PROGRESS (Source: Mercury News)

California Governor Brown indicated his intention in late September to secure a constitutional amendment guaranteeing funding for his plan to cut California's prison population.  This could mean presenting California voters with a ballot initiative.   Click here to read more: http://www.mercurynews.com/california/ci_18949547

 

SEPTEMBER, 2011: HIGH VOLUNTEERISM CAN MEAN LOWER UNEMPLOYMENT RATES, STUDY SAYS (Source: Philanthropy.com and NCOC)

“States in which a big share of people volunteer, vote, and participate in other civic events tended to suffer the least-drastic increases in joblessness during the downturn, according to a new report. The study mined federal labor statistics and Census data. It found that states that did well based on five measures—helping neighbors, volunteering, registering to vote, voting, and attending meetings—in 2006 did not face big rises in unemployment from 2006 to 2010. States in which a high proportion of people helped their neighbors did best, followed by those with strong volunteering rates.”  Click here to read more: http://www.ncoc.net/unemployment-release

 

SEPTEMBER, 2011: ADULT FRIENDS AND RELATIVES MUST NOW PAY TO VISIT INCARCERATED LOVED ONES IN ARIZONA (Source: NY Times)

Family and friends must now pay $25 for a background check to visit inmates in Arizona.  Click here to read the full story: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/05/us/05prison.html

 

May, 2011: NC4RSO was a community partner for a May, 2011 “Prisons, Peace, and Compassion” conference hosted by the UNESCO Chair for Transcultural Studies, Interreligious Dialogue, and Peace (University of Oregon).  See: http://unesco.uoregon.edu/programs/ppc_may2011.html .

 

 

AUGUST, 2011: STATE SPENDING ON CORRECTIONS HAS EXPONENTIATED IN RECENT YEARS, NOW UNDER REVIEW

We reported last month (below) that multiple state are currently reducing incarceration levels on an intentional basis.  To put that in perspective, the Council of State Governments Justice Center reports that "Nationwide, state spending on corrections has risen faster in the 20 years from 1988 to 2008 than spending on nearly any other state budget item—increasing from about $12 billion to $52 billion a year."   Click here to read more: http://www.justicereinvestment.org/facts_and_trends

 

 

AUGUST, 2011: CHILDREN AS YOUNG AS FIVE CHARGED WITH CRIME IN KENTUCKY (Source: Kentucky.com )

On at least four occasions in 2010, 5-year-old children in Kentucky faced criminal charges for alleged criminal mischief, harassment, abuse of a teacher and criminal trespassing. In all, 2,117 criminal charges have been filed against children 10 and younger in Kentucky since 2006.  State legislative hearings are now underway, thanks to a shocked lawmaker in the state.  Click here to read the full story: http://www.kentucky.com/2011/08/14/1845047/kentucky-kids-age-10-and-younger.html#ixzz1VDCDlNKm

 

 

AUGUST, 2011: CHANGES AFOOT IN TEXAS' CORRECTIONS SYSTEM (Source: Austin Statesman)

Budget woes have led to Texas to do something unexpected - close a prison.  "From where Texas was just a few short years ago, this is huge. There were those who said this day would never come," said House Corrections Committee Chairman Jerry Madden, R-Richardson.  Further, the state’s policies are moving toward rehabilitation efforts.  To read the full article, click here: http://www.statesman.com/opinion/welcome-change-to-prison-system-1708625.html

 

JULY, 2011: FROM LOCKED IN TO LOCKED OUT OF PUBLIC HOUSING (Source: Houston Chronicle)

People coming out of prison ready to get back to life, but banned from public housing.

In June, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development asked local public housing agencies to exercise discretion in considering housing for individuals with criminal records. The letter urges consideration of circumstances such as completion of a drug rehabilitation program. The HUD Secretary states, "Research shows that ex-offenders who do not find stable housing in the community are more likely to recidivate than those who do, yet people returning to their communities from prison often face significant barriers to obtaining housing."  To read the full article, click here: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/7660707.html

 

 

JULY, 2011: INTENTIONAL REDUCTION IN INCARCERATION LEVELS.

Multiple states are intentionally reducing incarceration levels – such as California, Ohio, and Arkansas.  Here’s a news story about what’s happening in Arkansas: HTUhttp://arkansasnews.com/2011/07/14/overcrowding-easing-as-prison-reforms-set-to-become-law/UTH  .  West Virginia is also discussing their incarceration levels – see: HTUhttp://www.wvnstv.com/story.cfm?func=viewstory&storyid=103275UTH .  Pennsylvania may adopt incarceration reduction plans as well.  Articles for Ohio and Pennsylvania are previously noted in our news section.

 

 

JULY, 2011: LOCAL SHERIFF SHOWS THAT INCARCERATION CAN BE USED FOR REHABILITATION (Source: Salem News)

Hampton County jail in Massachusetts is actively used as a rehabilitation environment with committed leadership at the top.  To read the full story, click here: http://www.salemnews.com/lifestyle/x1692750911/Brian-T-Watson-Sheriff-shows-prison-can-be-place-for-rehabilitation-as-well-as-incarceration

 

JULY, 2011: OKLAHOMA COUNTY PROGRAM AIDS JUVENILE OFFENDERS WITH RE-ENTRY (Source: NewsOK)

Oklahoma County's juvenile re-entry program works at preventing new criminal activity after youth leave jail.  To read the full story, click here: http://newsok.com/oklahoma-county-program-aids-juvenile-offenders-with-re-entry/article/3582849#ixzz1RFVCTpyl

 

JUNE, 2011: OHIO SENTENCING REFORM LAW FAVORING REHAB OVER PRISON FOR NON-VIOLENT FELONS TO BECOME LAW IN 90 DAYS (The Plain Dealer)

Ohio Governor Kasich signed a sentencing reform bill that will allow some felons to skip prison and others to get out early.  Under the law, judges will have the discretion to send non-violent felons to halfway-houses instead of prison. It increases earned credits allowing inmates can shave time off of sentences. It allows some felons who have already served 80% of their time to be released.  The law will require more rehabilitation services rather than prison for some. It also will help the state's wallet by lowering the prison population.  To read the full article, click here: http://www.cleveland.com/open/index.ssf/2011/06/ohio_gov_john_kasich_signs_sen.html

 

JUNE, 2011: THE CONFERENCE OF MAYORS SUPPORTS CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM LEGISLATION (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

The National Criminal Justice Commission Act, proposed by Senator Jim Webb (D-Va) would create a bipartisan commission to conduct an 18-month review of each facet of the nation's criminal justice system with a goal of reshaping and reforming it completely.  In a resolution citing the U.S.'s high incarceration rate and calling the war on drugs a failure, the Conference of Mayors urged the legislation's passage and is supported by various organizations ranging from police groups to the ACLU.  To read the full article, click here: http://www2.timesdispatch.com/news/virginia-politics/2011/jun/23/tdmet03-mayors-back-webbs-criminal-justice-reform--ar-1127407/

 

JUNE, 2011: OHIO SENATE PASSES LEGISLATION TO REDUCE PRISON SENTENCES, GOES TO HOUSE (Source: Middletown Journal and Columbus Dispatch)

Thousands of nonviolent state inmates would have sentences reduced in an effort to save the state nearly $1 billion in prison costs.  The bill now goes to the state House for a vote.  See two articles:

Middletown Journal article: http://www.middletownjournal.com/news/ohio-news/prison-sentence-reductions-may-save-1prison-sentence-reductions-may-save-1b-1191462.html

Columbus Dispatch Article: http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2011/06/23/senate-passes-bill-that-sends-fewer-to-prison.html?sid=101

 

JUNE, 2011: EDITORIAL: WHEN INMATES LEAVE, HELP THEM STAY OUT (The Desert Sun Editorial Board)

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision ordering California to release several thousand inmates due to deplorable health conditions in state prisons underscores the importance of reducing how many parolees who return to prison. California has one the highest recidivism rates in the country. On the other hand, a Pew Center on the States report released in April, shows several states have taken steps to reduce recidivism and some have been successful. To read the full editorial, click here: http://www.mydesert.com/article/20110605/OPINION01/106040345/When-inmates-leave-help-them-stay-out?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|Frontpage|p

 

MAY, 2011: NEW SECRETARY OF CORRECTIONS IN PENNSYLVANIA WANTS TO CHANGE HOW THAT STATE DEALS WITH PRISONS AND INCARCERATION (Source: The Patriot News)

Pennsylvania's new Secretary of Corrections is shaking up Pennsylvania's prison system.  He's canceling development of a new prison and focusing on rehabilitation-type approaches to keep people from returning to prison after release as ways to reduce the nearly $2B that the state spends annually on prisons.  To read the full story, click here: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2011/05/john_wetzel_pa_secretary_of_co.html

 

MAY, 2011: OFFENDER MAKES USE OF "CRIME U" REHABILITATION PROGRAM TO GET SECOND CHANCE (Lancaster Eagle Gazette)

Woman discusses prison and re-entering the community - both with and without resources.  With rehabilitation and housing, a second chance becomes possible.  To read the full story, click here: http://www.lancastereaglegazette.com/article/20110508/NEWS01/105080308/After-stint-Crime-U-repeat-offender-makes-most-second-chance

 

 

MAY, 2011: PARENTING CLUB FOR INMATE FATHERS (Farm and Dairy News)

Fit 2B Fathers classes are held at the Eastern Ohio Correctional Facility and at correctional facilities in several other states. Fit 2B Fathers was created as a Master’s student project in the late 1990s. It has been cast it as a more of a club than a course, primarily to reduce any stigma the inmates might have about attending traditional parenting classes.  “Incarcerating a person is really expensive,” said the founder, Majorano. “For whatever it costs for the curriculum and someone to teach it, the investment is going to pay off.” To read the full story, click here:

http://www.farmanddairy.com/news/class-for-inmates-can-lead-to-a-better-life-for-parent-and-child/24777.html

 

 

MAY, 2011: OHIO CONSIDERING INCREASED USE OF COMMUNITY-BASED CORRECTIONS TO REDUCE INCARCERATION COSTS.  WHO WOULD PAY FOR IT COMMUNITY-BASED MEASURES? (WKBN news)

Ohio may enact House Bill 96, which has already passed the house and is going to the senate, which would overhaul criminal sentencing to save millions of dollars in prison costs. Some question: "....when they talk about putting these individuals into community-based programs, treatment or training....who pays for that?"  To read the full story, click here: http://www.wkbn.com/content/news/local/story/Sentencing-Reform-Bill-Raises-Funding-Concerns/SnJg9aLR10iWZzaDNKV_bg.cspx 

 

MAY, 2011: AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION OFFERS WAY TO SAVE STATES MONEY WHILE IMPROVING CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM (source: ABA)

The ABA recognize that state governments need to increase fiscal savings.  To that end, the ABA has developed proposed criminal justice policy reforms that will save states money improve the criminal justice system and help keep the public safe.  The ABA has created five key reform issues: pre-trial release reform, decriminalization of minor offenses, effective re-entry programs, increase the use of parole/probation, and community corrections programs.  To see the full article, click here: http://www2.americanbar.org/sections/criminaljustice/CR203800/Pages/statepolicyproject.aspx

 

APRIL, 2011: THE U.S.'s ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL TOLLS OF OVER-INCARCERATION (Justice Policy Institute)

The U.S. has 5% of the World's population and 25% of the world's prison population.  The Justice Policy Institute has published reports on how other countries protect public safety with less use of expensive and socially disruptive incarceration policies.  To access these reports, click here: http://www.justicepolicy.org/research/2322

 

APRIL, 2011: COALITION OF LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES CALL FOR REDUCTION OF PRISON POPULATIONS IN RESPONSE TO BUDGET SHORTFALLS (Washington Post)

A coalition of liberal and conservative groups - including Prison Fellowship Ministries, the NAACP, the American Conservative Union and the American Civil Liberties Union - are pushing states to reduce prison populations to help reduce state budget shortfalls.  The NAACP is to release a study indicating that spending on prisons has grown 6 times the rate of spending on higher education in the last twenty years and that it's time to reverse that trend.  A number of states are already responding to the idea of reducing corrections spending.   To read the full news article, click here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/prison-reform-advocates-press-states-to-shift-money-out-of-corrections-system/2011/04/04/AFeCXolC_story.html

 

APRIL, 2011: MANY STATES ARE RETHINKING SENTENCING LAWS (Associated Press)

Many states are pushing to reduce prison populations to save money while also cutting services meant to keep them from committing new crimes - including probation monitoring, mental health care and drug counseling. Those clashing policies - more offenders out, less supervision at home - raise the possibility of saving now but paying more later, both in money and crime.  To read the full news article, click here:  http://www.thereporter.com/wirenews/ci_17763233

 

MARCH, 2011: BILLS TO CHANGE ALABAMA PRISONS COULD SAVE STATE $106 M OVER FIVE YEARS (Al.com)

Sentencing and corrections reform bills aims to reduce the state prison population, then use the savings to bolster supervision of convicted felons and improve public safety, said Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb.  To read the full news article, click here: http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2011/03/alabama_prison_bills_may_save.html

 

MARCH, 2011: MUNCIE, INDIANA EMPLOYERS INVITED TO LEARN ABOUT HIRING EX-PRISONERS (The Star Press)

The U.S. Department of Justice is sending two consultants to Muncie to help the community with its prisoner re-entry program. About 300 people return to Muncie every year from state prison. Local employers and anyone else interested in the issue are invited to a two-day conference.  To read the full news article, click here: http://www.thestarpress.com/article/20110326/NEWS01/103260324

 

MARCH, 2011:OREGON'S BUDGET CUTS COULD MEAN YOUTH OFFENDERS WOULD GET LESS PREVENTATIVE ATTENTION (Oregon Live)

Oregon's youth offenders would get less help and less hope of escaping future trouble under reductions facing state and county operations. The system is intended to keep the 15,600 kids a year referred to juvenile departments from ever seeing the inside of an adult prison. But Gov. John Kitzhaber proposes to take millions of dollars from youth programs to keep the adult prisons running.  That, executives at state and county juvenile agencies say, would hurt kids in the short term and be self-defeating in the long run.  To read the full news article, click here: http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2011/03/proposed_cuts_to_oregon_juveni.html 

 

MARCH, 2011: ARKANSAS HOUSE OKAY'S PRISON REFORM PLAN (Arkansas News Bureau)

The Arkansas House endorsed Gov. Mike Beebe’s plan to rein in prison costs and ease chronic inmate overcrowding.  Arkansas’ prison system routinely holds thousands more prisoners than it was built to house, with hundreds more state convicts backed up in county jails awaiting bed space among the burgeoning prison population.  SB 750 would lessen sentences for some nonviolent offenses, expand alternative-sentencing programs such as drug courts and allow the state Department of Community Correction to restore 49 positions for parole and probation officers.  To read the full news article, click here: http://arkansasnews.com/2011/03/16/house-oks-beebe-prison-reform-plan/

 

 

FEBRUARY, 2011: OKLAHOMA PROGRAM OFFERS WOMEN A SECOND CHANCE

A program in Oklahoma City is helping women stay out of prison by teaching them behavioral skills and ways to address their trauma.  Read news story here:

lahoma-program-offers-women-a-second-chance/article/3544345#ixzz1fbqzwlfp

 

 

FEBRUARY, 2011: NEW REPORT ON BIPARTISAN APPROACHES TO REDUCE CRIME, RECIDIVISM AND CORRECTIONS COSTS ( justicereinvestment.org )

Washington, D.C.    Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA) was joined by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) today to highlight the challenges facing the nation's corrections and criminal justice system and to unveil a new report from the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center offering proven strategies to increase public safety, reduce recidivism and save taxpayer dollars. As states are forced to bring spending in line with revenue, spending on corrections - one of the fastest growing line items in state budgets, totaling more than $50 billion annually - is also being scaled back. Many have cautioned that these fiscal pressures could spur haphazard policy decisions that negatively impact public safety.   "Quick fixes can have dangerous consequences," Chairman Wolf warned. "To increase public safety in this austere budget environment, we must support cost-effective efforts by states that are grounded in the 'best practices' and draw on the latest innovations from public corrections and the faith-based community."  Source:  http://www.justicereinvestment.org/press_room

 

FEBRUARY, 2011: PROGRAM THAT GETS CARE TO MENTALLY ILL OFFENDERS CUTS COSTS OF JUSTICE SYSTEM (Denver Post)

Getting arrested for robbery may have been the best thing that ever happened to Dale Edgin. Facing a long jail term, Edgin got something else: a diagnosis, medication and treatment — for the first time — for the mental illness that by then had made a mess of his life. In a rare stroke of luck, Edgin's arrest came just as a newly assembled team of mental health and criminal justice professionals were starting a project that they were calling Mental Health Court.

Source: http://www.denverpost.com/search/ci_17314536

 

JANUARY, 2011: CONSERVATIVES LATCH ONTO PRISON REFORM (LA Times)

Reduced sentences and rehabilitation programs once were branded as liberal. But now, states such as Republican-dominated Texas are seeing success after adopting the approach.  Source: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-conservative-crime-20110129,0,627861,full.story

 

JANUARY, 2011: STATES HELP EX-PRISONERS FIND JOBS (NY Times)

Budget gaps and high unemployment are leading several states to attack both problems by helping former offenders find jobs to help them avoid the tax-payer-funded expense of returning to state-funded prisons.  Read story: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/25/business/25offender.html/pagewanted=1&hp

 

JANUARY, 2011: PROSTITUTION COURT OPENS IN COOK COUNTY (Chicago Tribune)

New program aims to get women off the street.  Read story:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/elections/ct-met-prostitution-court-20110117,0,6571046.story

 

JANUARY 3, 2011: NEW VIRGINIA PRISON SITS EMPTY (Hampton Roads, Virginia)

Four months after a $105M Virginia was completed, it sits empty as a result of the state's declining prison population and the state's declining budget.  Click here to read a news article about this: http://hamptonroads.com/2011/01/new-105m-va-prison-remains-empty?cid=ltst

 

DECEMBER 19, 2010: CALIFORNIA'S NEW ATTORNEY GENERAL ON PRISON REFORM

Click here to read about California's new Attorney General, Kamala Harris, and her take on prison reform: http://readersupportednews.org/off-site-opinion-section/72-72/4319-the-time-may-be-right-for-kamala-harris

 

NOVEMBER, 2010: TIGHT STATE BUDGETS AND THE STATE OF CORRECTIONS

Tight state budgets are forcing some states to review their corrections budgets.  These reviews bring the possibility of positive change as well as the possibility of making tough decisions to cut programs that affect rehabilitation and/or public safety.  We encourage you to find out about any pending budget cuts in your state and how that may affect correctional programming in your state.

 

 

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