Week ending Jan. 3, 2016

JUSTICE REINVESTMENT

Trimming Prison Populations Catches On by Joe Palazzolo, The Wall Street Journal

“Two years ago, Utah was considering whether to knock down its largest prison and build a bigger one. Instead, it decided to knock down the laws that were filling it up.”

UTAH BOARD OF PARDONS AND PAROLE

Gov. Herbert names new member to Board of Pardons and Parole by Deseret News

“Gov. Gary Herbert has appointed Denise Porter to the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole.”

STORIES OF INTEREST

The Utah homicides of 2015 by The Salt Lake Tribune

Massive Criminal Justice Reform Coalition Seeks To Triple Its Number of Target States by Matt Vespa, TownHall.com

“Right before Christmas, the Coalition for Public Safety’s (CPS) action arm, the U.S. Justice Action Network, held a conference call, where they noted the tremendous success they’ve had this year, and look to build on those successes this year.”

Opinion: Philanthropists should spend more on criminal-justice reform by Aaron Dorfman in the Miami Herald

“The sexual, physical and emotional violence perpetrated by Department of Corrections staff at the nation’s largest women’s prison, Ocala’s Lowell Correctional Institution — and facilitated by the corrupt officials who covered it up — revealed that Florida’s penal system is rotten to its core. It’s evident that change won’t come from within the system.”

Coding Behind Bars: Fighting Crime and Recidivism With Web Development by Marcos Martinez and Alison Vayne, KQED

“James Houston got out of prison three years ago after serving 18 years for second-degree murder. This month he returned to San Quentin State Prison — as a guest. Houston was back at the prison to try to convince Silicon Valley venture capitalists to invest in an after-school program he designed called Teen Tech Hub, which aims to teach technology skills to youths in Richmond.”

Minn. Sentencing Guidelines Commission signs off on drug sentencing reform by Abby Simons, Star Tribune

“State leaders have signed off on a plan, years in the making, to reduce the time spent behind bars for first-time drug offenders and better distinguish addicts from potentially violent drug dealers.”

Despite Bipartisan Effort, Window To Pass Sentencing Reform May Be Closing by Carrie Johnson, NPR

“It’s not every day the White House and Republican leaders in Congress have a meeting of the minds. But before he left for the holidays, the president singled out an issue he considers ripe for compromise next year. ‘I still want to work with Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, to reform our criminal justice system,’ President Obama said.”

Advocates See Hope for California Criminal Sentencing Reform in 2016 by Marisa Lagos, KQED

“It’s been a dramatic few years for California’s criminal justice system — voters and lawmakers have approved a slew of changes since 2011, including measures that softened the state’s harsh three strikes law and shrunk penalties for nonviolent crimes.”

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