December 5, 2013 (The Sentencing Project)
Race & Justice News
Research: Prosecutors Primary Cause of Persistent, But Stable, Post-Booker Racial Disparity in Federal Sentencing
Foreign-Born Adjudicated Youth Desist at Higher Rates Than Children of Immigrants and the Native-Born
Law Enforcement: Marijuana Arrests and Their Racial Disparity Increased Nationwide Between 2001-2010
School Discipline: School-to-Prison Pipeline Intact in North Carolina and New York, Curbed in South Florida and Los Angeles
International: Non-Whites in UK More Likely to be Incarcerated and to Serve Longer Sentences Than Whites
December 5, 2013 (The Washington Times)
America's for-profit prisons: Greed over justice
Today, in the U.S., there are privately owned for-profit prisons that contractually require states to maintain a certain number of prisoners. If prison populations fall below the agreed upon quota, there are fines the states have to pay to these prison corporations.
There is something terribly wrong with America.
You can even invest in for-profit prison corporations, or the partnership corrections industry, as they prefer to be called.
One such company is Corrections Corporation of America, or CCA for short, which is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol CXW. Started in 1983, the Corrections Corporation of America was the first for-profit prison company.
The more prisoners a facility holds, the more profitable the corporation is. That is good for stockholders, but not for the rest of the citizens of America
December 5, 2013 (The Daily Free Press)
Zero-tolerance means zero productivity
An editorial states: “People send their children to schools to learn, not to be subject to rough societal punishments. When a person trusts a school with the well being of his or her child, it is understood that educators and administrators in middle and high schools will act in the best interest of the student. Zero-tolerance policies are counterintuitive to the development of a functioning member of society, and they should be eradicated before more young people are prematurely introduced to the incarceration system.
“Any zero-tolerance policy against non-violent crime breeds criminals. When a student is in possession of an illegal substance or spray paints a wall on a campus, administrators should take the responsibility to discipline. Guidance counselors and school security should be held more accountable for discovering and assessing a child’s actions and administering constructive discipline rather than punishing the student to the fullest extent.
“Disruptive students should not be contained to jail cells, juvenile detention or simple detention in a cafeteria. If a social problem warrants possible incarceration, parents and school officials should be more than capable of avoiding such harsh consequences. How is society going to advance if young people are left to fend for their rights in a courtroom?
December 4, 2013 (DesMoinesRegister.com)
Dying woman’s release is first of its kind in Iowa
Iowa’s parole board in the past has granted compassionate releases to inmates suffering from illnesses, board Chairman Jason Carlstrom said Tuesday.
However, Kristina Fetters’ case —she was convicted of first-degree murder as a juvenile now scheduled for release after a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling — is the first of its kind in Iowa. Nationwide, such releases remain rare 1½ years after the ruling, an expert said.
The court made life sentences for juveniles illegal in its ruling in Miller v. Alabama in June 2012. In August, the Iowa Supreme Court in State v. Ragland determined that the Miller ruling applies “retroactively” to give young offenders currently serving life sentences a chance at parole.
Iowa currently has 38 young offenders serving life sentences.
Many state courts have not been as progressive as Iowa’s in determining that the Miller ruling applies retroactively, said Ashley Nellis, a senior research analyst with The Sentencing Project. The Washington, D.C., group researches and advocates for reforms to sentencing laws.
“There’s been a lot of resistance across the country to complying with the Miller ruling,” she said. “It’s terrible that it takes terminal cancer to get anyone’s attention when it should really just take the Miller ruling.”
December 3, 2013 (Womensenews.org)
Faith-Based Housing Helps Women Leave Prison
Missy Denard prayed for six years before she rented the first home for New Beginnings in Abilene, Texas, for women who have nowhere to go.
That was in 2011. Since then the two-bedroom house with an attached apartment has been housing up to six women and Denard has acquired another house and an apartment building to rent to approximately 65 more women, all with children.
The female population in prisons in the United States continues to grow at an alarming rate. From 2000 through 2009, the number of women incarcerated in state or federal prisons rose by 21.6 percent, compared to a 15.6 percent increase for men. A total of 205,000 women were in U.S. prisons or jail in 2010, with the families and communities being torn apart as a result, according to a report released earlier this year by The Sentencing Project.
As the need grows, some members of religious communities are creating new ways to respond to women leaving prison, including teaching them that Christ loves and forgives them.