Week ending Nov. 15, 2015



On Nov. 7 the Utah Department of Corrections held what we hope is a growing and ongoing initiative to bring inmates and their families together in new ways to promote healing and hope, communication and caring — especially for those inmates preparing to return to the community.

Twenty-five women, their children and the children’s caregivers were invited to the first Kids Day Harvest Hoorah at the Timpanogos Women’s Correctional Facility. For more than three hours, the women and their children spent time together with a focus on family fun. Some caregivers traveled from as far away as Colorado and St. George to enable the women’s children to participate in the event.


Nearly 125 Prison Jobs unfilled, Corrections Director ‘nervous’ by Brian Mullahy, KUTV

“Nearly 125 correctional officer positions at the Utah State Prison are empty, and Corrections Director Rollin Cook said he is “nervous every day” about staffing levels inside the aged, sprawling facility.”


Supreme Court of Ohio upholds Sex Offender Registration Rules by Ashok KM, LiveLaw

“Supreme Court of Ohio has turned down that challenge against the sex-offender-registration and address-verification requirements imposed on the persons convicted of Sex crimes. Dismissing the appeal filed by one Travis Blankenship, the court held that the Tier II registration requirements imposed upon the appellant are not so extreme as to be grossly disproportionate to the crime or shocking to a reasonable person and to the community’s sense of justice.”

OPINION: Time to finally end mandatory sentencing minimums by John Conyers Jr., Detroit Free Press

“Over most of the last 30 years, our federal and state governments have been engaged in a wrongheaded and short-sighted “war on crime,” focusing on punishment to the exclusion of prevention and rehabilitation.”

Leap of Faith: This Christian Inmate Rehab Program Boasts a Recidivism Rate of Only 10 Percent by Madaline Donnelly, The Daily Signal (Heritage Foundation)

“Ron Vaselech estimates he has spent close to 30 years in prisons across the United States. Time has taken its toll on the kind, soft-spoken man who is originally from Ohio. He wears oversized, Coke-bottle eyeglasses and a sleeveless shirt, exposing weathered tattoos. He looks older his 56 years.”

OPINION: Education beats prison at reducing future crime by Susan Olsen, DelmarvaNow

“Preventing recidivism – the tendency for criminals to commit more crimes after release from prison – is a hotly debated topic, especially now, during the political debate regarding mass incarceration. In the past, the policy was to build more prisons, enact “three strikes” legislation and adjudicate nonviolent drug offenders to lengthy prison sentences.”

Top White House Lawyer Pushes Obama Criminal Justice Agenda to Conservative Crowd by Katelyn Polantz, The National Law Journal

“President Barack Obama’s top lawyer pitched the White House’s support for the reduction of nonviolent drug offenders’ prison sentences to a conservative audience Thursday, emphasizing the bipartisan nature of the issue and the role of state and congressional legislation.”

Malloy opens prison unit for military veterans by Ken Dixon, Connecticut Post

“Continuing his Second Chance Society initiatives, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy opened a veterans’ unit in a state Department of Correctionfacility Monday morning in Enfield. Malloy joined state officials, advocates and DOC Commissioner Scott Semple in a ceremony at the Cybulski Reintegration Center.”

Alicia Keys Lends Voice to Sentencing-Reform Movement by Emma Court, The Wall Street Journal

“Singer-songwriter Alicia Keys used her voice Monday not to sell records, but to harness support for changes in the criminal justice system.”

OPINION: On parole reform, evidence says the sky won’t fall by Joe Haveman, MLive (Michigan)

“It turns out the ‘tough on crime’ movement was built on a lot of false premises: Locking up small-time drug offenders fills prisons and undermines communities but has little impact on drug dealing or use.”


Parole date set for Utah teacher who had sexual contact with student by Geoff Liesik, Deseret News

“The state parole board has set a January 2018 release date for a former Tabiona High School teacher who is serving prison time for having sexual contact with a student.”


Salt Lake police social workers reaching out to homeless, addicts by Marjorie Cortez, Deseret News

“The Salt Lake City Police Department’s new social work program is intended to “balance” stepped-up law enforcement efforts in the Rio Grande neighborhood with referrals to agencies that can help people who are homeless and those addicted to drugs.”


The US prison system needs rehabilitation by The Spectrum (St. George, Utah)

“Last month, 6,100 inmates walked out the doors of federal penitentiaries all over America – including 12 from Utah prisons — as part of President Barack Obama’s early-release program designed to begin what government officials hope will break the cycle of incarceration.”


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