Week ending Jan. 17, 2016

IN COURT

Utah appeals court finds ‘measurable amount’ drug statute unconstitutional by The Salt Lake Tribune

“A law making it a second-degree felony to cause death or serious injury while driving with a measurable amount of drugs in one’s system is unconstitutional, the Utah Court of Appeals has ruled, because the punishment is harsher than DUI and auto homicide statutes, where drivers are deemed to be incapacitated.”

Morgan man sentenced 25 years to life in prison for sexually abusing children by Andreas Rivera, Standard Examiner

“At a sentencing hearing for a Morgan man found guilty of sexually abusing two children, a district judge tried to reassure the victims that what happened to them was not their fault.”

STORIES OF INTEREST

New Review of Mass. Criminal Justice System Prompts Deeper Look into Recidivism by Deborah Becker, WBUR

“The rate of incarceration in Massachusetts is down, but by how much varies widely depending on which county of the state you’re looking at. That was one of the initial findings of an independent review of the state’s criminal justice system commissioned by Gov. Charlie Baker.”

Sentencing among top priorities for Ducey by Howard Fischer, Arizona Daily Star

“Gov. Doug Ducey is going to ask lawmakers to do something that generally sends most Republicans scurrying for cover: consider whether everyone the state is sending to prison actually belongs there.”

OPINION: With Support, Opportunity Can Be the Cure for Prison Recidivism by Sam Schaeffer, Ebony

“Daequan* came to the New York City-based Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) only 11 days after leaving prison. He was 19 years old, had spent nearly a year incarcerated, and there were few people in his corner when he returned home. He grew up in the Bronx and Harlem. “There was a lot of negative influence for me — gangs, street gangs. It’s the streets. That’s how you get caught up — it’s only trouble.”

Criminal Justice Reform Could Stall Over This Dispute by Clare Foran, The Atlantic

“The stars seem to have aligned. An unlikely coalition of liberals and conservatives has coalesced around criminal-justice reform, as the public appears to be paying more attention to fatal police shootings and mass incarceration.”

OPINION: Food Movements’ Connection to Prison Privatization, Forced Labor and Recidivism by Jeremiah Lowery, The Huffington Post

“When examining America’s prisons, it’s easy to see how the food system plays a major role in an institution that is ripe with dysfunction and systemic problems.”

OPINION: Comprehensive and common sense justice reform in Md. by Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., The Baltimore Sun

“During the 2015 Legislative Session, Gov. Larry Hogan signed into law a bill establishing a ‘Justice Reinvestment Coordinating Council,’ that was to develop policies to “further reduce the state’s incarcerated population, reduce spending on corrections, and reinvest in strategies to increase public safety and reduce recidivism.”

Support builds in Iowa Legislature for tackling justice reform by James Q. Lynch, The Gazette

“It wasn’t lost on Iowa lawmakers that Gov. Terry Branstad and Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady doubled up on a call for criminal justice reform in their annual messages to the Legislature.”

Commission presents 14 proposals for Illinois prison reform by Kevin Hoffman, Reboot Illinois

“A commission created last year by way of executive order by Gov. Bruce Rauner released its first set of recommendations that aim to reduce the prison population in the Illinois Department of Corrections by 25 percent over the next decade.”

Opinion: We can create a smarter criminal-justice system by Melba Pearson, Miami Herald

“In his final State of the Union Address, President Obama called for criminal-justice reform — one of the most important issues facing the country. The cornerstones of the criminal-justice system have been punishment, deterrence and rehabilitation.”

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