Week ending Feb. 14, 2016

UTAH LEGISLATURE

Lawmakers already looking at development of Utah State Prison site by Lisa Riley Roche, Deseret News

“Even though the Utah State Prison won’t be relocated until after a new facility expected to be completed by mid-2020 is ready, legislation was introduced Tuesday related to developing the current site in Draper.”

UTAH DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS

Utah Corrections officials reviewing all halfway houses in wake of recent absconsions by Bob Mils, The Salt Lake Tribune

“In the wake of two recent cases in which parolees walked away from a Salt Lake City treatment center and committed crimes — including the fatal shooting of a police officer in December — the Utah Department of Corrections announced Wednesday it is “engaged in immediate action to review all of its community correctional centers.”

 

New task force created to round up walkaways from prison halfway houses by Pat Reavy, Deseret News/KSL.com

“As law enforcement officers continued Wednesday to look for a man who allegedly rammed a police patrol car while attempting to avoid arrest, questions were again being raised about a halfway house he walked away from.”

Department of Corrections announces arrest of 12 fugitives by Mark Green, Fox13

“The Utah Department of Corrections says it’s cracking down on parolees on the run, and Friday they announced 12 arrests from the last 24 hours.”

2 corrections officials resign in wake of crimes by halfway house walkaways by Lisa Riley Roche and McKenzie Romero, Deseret News

“Two Utah Department of Corrections administrators have resigned amid criticism and calls for scrutiny after parolees who walked away from a halfway house were involved in violent crimes, including the shooting death of a police officer.”

UTAH BOARD OF PARDONS AND PAROLE

No parole for killer serving life term after 1977 submachine gun attack by Mark Shenefelt, Standard-Examiner

“A Utah man who attacked a woman and killed a would-be rescuer with a submachine gun in 1977 has been told he will spend the rest of his life in prison.”

FEDERAL SENTENCING REFORM

Utah’s Republican Sen. Mike Lee: Criminal justice reform legislation has momentum by Sari Horwitz, The Washington Post

“The co-sponsor of bipartisan legislation to reduce some mandatory minimum drug and gun sentences said Wednesday that he is hopeful Congress can still pass the bill despite recent setbacks.”

STORIES OF INTEREST

Prison Yoga: Is Meditation the Cure for Recidivism? by Amelia Pang, Epoch Times

“After serving 17 years for armed robbery, Adam Verdoux, 45, moved into transitional housing. Not long after his release, a burly housemate challenged him to a fight. Feelings of masculinity, pride, survival, rose then dissipated. Verdoux knows how to disengage from heated situations: He meditates three times a week.”

Visions of a School-to-Prison-Back-to-School Pipeline at TFA/s 25th Anniversary by Carolyn Phenicie, The74Million

“The United States must embrace radical reforms not only to end the school-to-prison pipeline but also to help young people already in the prison system re-enter schools after incarceration, acting Education Secretary John King and other policy leaders said this weekend.”

Prison Break: Start ups keep felons from going back to jail by J. Israel Balderas, CBS12.com

“Americans spend billions of dollars to keep families safe. That’s because criminal rehabilitation is expensive. And for the most part – statistics prove – it doesn’t work. But now, there may be a solution.”

Education for convicts could reduce recidivism by Tulsa World

“America spends $80 billion a year keeping criminals behind bars, but research has shown that cost could be reduced by making one thing more accessible to inmates — education.”

Maine Voices: Building new prison solves nothing by Jan Collins and Irving Faunce, Portland Press Herald

“The proposal to borrow $175 million to build a new prison in Windham would not address the real problem in Maine corrections – the lack of inmate rehabilitation services.”

OPINION: State lawmakers must reform parole system, retain prison staff by Jon Ozmint, The Post and Courier (South Carolina)

“Over the past six years, we have made significant progress in improving our criminal justice system. The Sentencing Reform Act of 2010, coupled with national population trends, has reduced our inmate population, allowing Gov. Nikki Haley and Corrections Director Bryan Stirling to shutter several small prisons.”

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