The piece has the subtitle "Attorneys on the front lines of the criminal-justice system should be pressing for a drastically different model of incarceration. My years of prosecuting violent street crime and working with crime survivors and their families had deeply sensitized me to the devastating impact of violent crime on individuals and communities. In fact, not so long ago, it was crime victims who were the forgotten ones in the criminal-justice system.
I had focused on crime, but had I thought enough about punishment? I was myself the mother of two young children. If a mother could find compassion for the men who killed her son, then surely I could too While the criminal-justice system, nationally and locally, has undergone significant reforms in recent years, the system requires far more extensive change. Reform-minded prosecutors in jurisdictions across the country are working to tailor responses to crime to address its underlying causes and reduce our reliance on prisons while still encouraging accountability for those who cause harm.
They are looking to public-health and harm-reduction models as they try to keep many people out of prison and to identify ways to carefully tailor the appropriate amount of prison time for others. It is not enough, though, for prosecutors to decline prosecution of low-level offenses and to create alternatives to incarceration for appropriate cases. These work-arounds are important, but the majority of incarcerated Americans are imprisoned for crimes of violence.
Simply diverting nonviolent offenders and reducing sentence lengths will not solve mass incarceration.
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And the use of these increasingly politically popular strategies for shrinking the footprint of the criminal-justice system ought not delay addressing the unconscionable state of American prisons Such units should focus on the development and maintenance of humane prison conditions, including advocating for the prisons on which they rely to implement trauma-informed training borrowed from medical and social work institutions, designed to encourage prison staff to treat residents with dignity and to create a culture of mutual respect.
Such units would serve as liaisons with departments of corrections, state attorneys general, and other relevant agencies to break down the silos that have enabled modern American prisons to damage their residents and employees alike for far too long, and thereby perpetuated the cycles of violence in our communities. These units could lobby state legislatures to reform conditions, assist in allocating resources to prison programs and education, and communicate with parole and probation departments.
And finally, they could do the important work of educating prosecutors about the realities of the prison system, so that every time a prosecutor recommends a jail or prison sentence, she does so with full knowledge of what that sentence is likely to entail.
Prosecutors are, of course, neither solely responsible for, nor alone capable of solving the civil-rights crisis of mass incarceration.
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Judges, police officers, defense attorneys, corrections officers, community advocates, and others have all contributed to the steep increase in people incarcerated and under correctional supervision in the United States during the latter part of the 20th century. Each of these groups must step up to identify solutions. And there will always be some people who cannot appropriately and safely remain in the community after committing an offense.
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But prison must not inflict undue suffering District attorneys can profoundly transform the criminal-justice system if they recognize their own role in perpetuating the harms of prison and commit to fixing American prisons. Prosecutors should proactively employ their considerable power to investigate and prosecute abuse, other criminal conduct, and civil-rights violations behind bars, and use their bully pulpits to speak out loudly in favor of a drastically different prison model. Prosecutors can promote long-term public safety and accountability, while also manifesting the empathy that has been too long absent in our system.
The integrity of the system depends on it. Sean Pica has this new commentary headlined "The First Step is just the beginning. As more and more prisoners are being freed, some are skeptical that the incarcerated and those with criminal records are worthy of a second chance. They ask: is rehabilitation possible?
But to do that, the formerly incarcerated and those with a criminal record need a helping hand. For me, it was being the beneficiary of bold thinking from the New York State Department of Corrections. The nonprofit, which I now lead, provides a college education and reentry support services to incarcerated men and women in five New York correctional facilities.
The program boasts a recidivism rate of less than 2 percent. Thanks to partners like the nonprofit Stand Together Foundation and inspiring correctional leaders like Sing Sing Superintendent Michael Capra, Hudson Link is helping put an end to the vicious cycle of recidivism and inter-generational incarceration by breaking down barriers that prevent people from realizing their full potential.raiwritbothobo.tk
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This week, classes begin at Cornell University for some 20, students, including me. Yet I hope my presence here — and my future success in pursuing a law degree — sends a powerful message that former prisoners can not only contribute to society, but can do important things The Crime Bill, signed into law 25 years ago, ended Pell Grants for folks in prison, eventually drying up funding and causing many colleges to withdraw from prisons altogether.
That was a terrible mistake. Today, federal lawmakers debate the language and scope of the Restoring Education and Learning Act — a measure that would give thousands of prisoners the chance to get some tuition help. They must think big.
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August 25, in Prisons and prisoners , Reentry and community supervision Permalink Comments 2. As reported here , this week started with Attorney General William Barr announcing the appointment Dr. Thomas R. Kane as the Deputy Director. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this development has prompted some folks to share advice on how federal prison system could be better run. Here is some of the discussion I have noticed:. The Article makes two conceptual contributions. First, it tells a story about the Thirteenth Amendment forbidding one form of slavery while legitimating and preserving others. Of course, the text does not operate absent important actors: legislatures and courts.
Sentencing Law and Policy: Prisons and prisoners
The Article argues that this preservation of the practice of slavery through its transformation into prison labor means only that socially, legislatively, and judicially, we have come to reject one form of discrimination: antebellum slavery, while distinguishing it from marginally remunerated and totally unremunerated prison labor, which courts legitimate.
The Article tells the story of post-slavery convict leasing; fraud and debt peonage; as well as the heinous practices imposed on children through coercive apprenticeship laws throughout the American south.
The Article then addresses modern slavery's transformations, including federal and state prison labor and the rise of private prisons. It concludes by offering pathways forward. A high-profile controversy in the criminal justice can have lots of ripples, and those ripples made it to the head of the federal Bureau of Prisons as detailed in this official press release from the US Department of Justice. Attorney General William P. Barr today announced he will appoint Dr.
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Under Dr. Kane served in the Bureau for over thirty years under four Attorneys General and is known for his expertise and proficiency in prison management and organization. During this critical juncture, I am confident Dr. Hawk Sawyer and Dr. Kane will lead BOP with the competence, skill, and resourcefulness they have embodied throughout their government careers. I have asked Mr. Although these efforts have made modest gains, there has been little discussion of whether their ultimate goal is feasible-reducing incarceration levels to a point where "mass" incarceration is no longer an apt description.
This article explores the likelihood of a meaningful, sustained reduction in incarceration rates. In particular, it highlights the difficulty of reducing incarceration rates without addressing the problems created by those convicted of violent crimes, something few reforms have been willing or able to do. It also argues that those who believe prison reform will lead to economic savings-a primary motivation in virtually every state-are misguided, and that illusion of economic savings might ultimately derail the reform efforts.
To date, reform efforts have routinely targeted everyone in the process except prosecutors, and this article offers both suggestions on why this is so and an argument for why prosecutors are an indispensable part of any change. Last month the folks at FAMM started the VisitAPrison challenge which calls on lawmakers to visit a prison or jail and which rightly highlights that many legislators who make and change laws governing incarceration often have no direct or personal experiences with prisons or persons incarcerated therein.
I consider the FAMM campaign very valuable and important, and this interesting new piece by Daniel Nichanian at The Appeal Political Report prompted the follow-up question that serves as the title of this post. Here are excerpts:. Albans prison, also known as the Northwest State Correctional Facility. I talked to George on Wednesday about her initiative, and how it could change practices in her office.
Maybe thirty days can be enough time, maybe no jail. George said this perspective should fuel shorter sentences, but also restrain prosecutors from seeking incarceration in the first place. Albans as part of her initiative. Is there a way that we can avoid that entirely, and not risk them coming out a more violent person or with some type of trauma having been in jail?
Can we find another way?
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