Week ending Dec. 13, 2015

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UTAH DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS

Christmas time behind bars at the Utah State Prison by Scott Bigger, KTVX Good4Utah

“We take you behind the walls at the Utah state prison for something you wouldn’t expect. It’s a Christmas concert put on by about 30 inmates at the Wasatch facility at the prison. Its part of the music education program that started back in 2006 with 7 inmates. Now they have 160 inmates in the program and it’s making a big difference.”

Listen: Utah inmates sing carols, debut music at prison’s annual Christmas recital by Emma Penrod, The Salt Lake Tribune

“The month of December is filled with music. Seasonal music dominates the radio, community choirs offer free concerts and music students prepare for what is often their first-ever recital. The Wasatch Music Education Program had no intention of missing out on that latter tradition — or initiation, whichever way you look at it. But the atmosphere is a little different at this music school, where the students and most of the teachers are inmates at the Utah State Prison.”

SENTENCING

Utah man sentenced to prison for storage shed murder by Jessica Miller, The Salt Lake Tribune

“When Shawn Gerrald Boehme shot and killed Elgie Ray Mills Jr. inside an Ogden storage shed last year, he taught a little girl about evil, Mills’ daughter told an Ogden judge Wednesday.”

STORIES OF INTEREST

Parents Behind Bars: What Happens to Their Children by Child Trends

Use of Restrictive Housing in U.S. Prisons and Jails, 2011-12 by the Bureau of Justice Statistics

Nearly 20% of prison inmates and 18% of jail inmates had spent time in restrictive housing, including disciplinary or administrative segregation or solitary con nement, in the past 12 months or since coming to their current facility, if shorter.

OPINION: Raise juvenile age in Michigan by The Detroit News

“Legislators are studying a package of more than 20 bills that would raise the age of juveniles who are treated as adults when they commit certain crimes. This is an important step in the quest to reform Michigan’s criminal justice system.”

A Conversation with Scott Budnick, Anti-Recidivism Coalition Founder by Seth Ferranti, The Huffington Post

“Scott Budnick is very well known in Hollywood circles for producing the Hangover series and working on movies with director Todd Phillips. The films they make tend to be humorous and raunchy comedies but besides making big budget Hollywood movies Scott has another passion which drives him.”

Studies Cast Doubt on Effectiveness of Prisoner Reentry Programs by David Muhlhausen, Heritage Foundation

“To date, we do not know enough about what works in helping former inmates safely and successfully reintegrate into society. In fact, the scientifically rigorous evaluations of prisoner reentry programs that use random assignment—the gold standard of evaluation designs—have found, at best, mixed evidence of success.”

DeschutesSafe to look at recidivism; Focus will be on reducing the rate of reoffending by Claire Withycombe, The Bulletin (Oregon)

“DeschutesSafe, the community crime-prevention effort initiated by Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel, is narrowing its focus from crime at large to recidivism.”

State embraces new justice report with prison reform specifics by Anne Hillman, Alaska Public Media

“Unless the state reforms its criminal justice system, all of the prisons will be full by 2017. A new report from the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission details solutions to that problem and could reduce the prison population and save the state money.”

Randall program fights recidivism by Aaron Davis, Amarillo Globe-News

“Methamphetamine put Eric Bates in jail, but he’s hoping a steady job will help keep him out.”

New Officers Add to Hope for Reform at Rikers Island by Michael Schwirtz, The New York Times

“Why would someone want to work at Rikers Island? For some of the 592 new correction officers sworn in on Friday, the answer was simple. The good pay and solid pension that come with the badge, these recruits said, far outweighed the regular reports about violence and criminal behavior at the troubled New York City jail complex.”

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