Local response to crime

 Sept. 19, 2013

Telegram (St. John’s, NF)  Bonnie Belec
Thinking outside the box

 Faced with what is judged a prosperity driven increase in criminal activity, and a city council election, a slate of candidates is offering a variety of policies in their platforms.  29 of the 30 candidates answered a Telegram on-line query around their positions.  http://www.thetelegram.com/News/Local/2013-09-18/article-3393850/Thinking-outside-the-box/1 

 Guardian (UK) – Paul Jenkins
How charities can help courts address the root causes of crime

Voluntary bodies can play a vital role in the criminal justice system by connecting up defendants with community resourcesA single mom with three children is convicted and given three months for fraud.  She has had a history of known struggles and mental illness.  Charities in England are beginning to shape their community programming to the needs of such individuals.  There are also some new charities showing up.  http://www.theguardian.com/voluntary-sector-network/2013/sep/18/voluntary-sector-courts-mental-illness 

 Seattle Times – Lornet Turnbull
Judge rules local cops’ queries of immigrants unconstitutional 

 A Superior Court Judge in Washington State has ruled that the practice of holding prisoners in prolonged detention to accommodate federal immigration authorities is unconstitutional.  http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2021844665_detainimmigrantsxml.html   Related article:  Jurist (US) – Sung Un Kim   Washington judge finds detention to question immigration status unconstitutional    http://jurist.org/paperchase/2013/09/washington-judge-finds-detention-to-question-immigration-status-unconstitutional.php# 

 CBC News – Amber Hildebrandt
U.S. gun homicides, the gap between perception and reality – Killings by gun falling, but rate still higher than most other industrialized countries 

 Prompted by the Washington Navy Yard mass shootings, this CBC report suggest that though deaths by firearms are declining – mass shootings up marginally – the US still has the highest rate of the industrial world.  The problem is somewhat compounded by public perception.  http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/u-s-gun-homicides-the-gap-between-perception-and-reality-1.1858107 

 KERA News (Texas) – Eric Aasen
How Does Criminal Justice System Address Mental Illness? 

 Author and 30 year journalist Pete Earley has written extensively on crime and mental health but always, as he says, from the outside looking in, until, that is, his son Mike was declared mentally ill.  The link includes a number of KERA programs around the issues.   http://keranews.org/post/think-how-does-criminal-justice-system-address-mental-illness  

 The Sentencing Project (US)

 This report is a soul searing, eye opener for the destruction of person brought on through mandatory sentencing in the US.  Violent crime has gone down but life sentences have quadrupled.  In 2012, 159,000 are serving life, almost 50,000 life without parole (LWOP), declared a violation of human rights by the European Courts.  LWOP has increased by 22% since 2008.  Approximately 10,000 lifers are serving sentences for non-violent crime.   Press release:  http://org2.salsalabs.com/o/5269/blastContent.jsp?email_blast_KEY=1262812  Full 31 page pdf downloadable report:     http://sentencingproject.org/doc/publications/inc_Life%20Goes%20On%202013.pdf  

 Market Watch
FAMM: Reform Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Laws, Witnesses Tell Senate Committee

 A former federal prosecutor and the chair of a conservative sentencing reform group with dozens of members of Families against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) appeared before the US Senate Justice Committee claiming that mandatory sentences did more harm than good.  The number of offences with mandatory minimums has almost doubled between 1991 and 2011.  http://www.marketwatch.com/story/famm-reform-mandatory-minimum-sentencing-laws-witnesses-tell-senate-committee-2013-09-18  

 The Atlantic – Andrew Cohen
A Handwritten Letter the Prison System Doesn’t Want You to See 

 The number of suicides by prison inmates even in super maximum security or SHU is alarming civil rights and the law profession.  This particular suicide was first publicly reported by another inmate in the next cell  where Robert Gerald Knott was found hanging on Sept. 7.  The failure to keep inmates safe from themselves is a growing problem.  http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/09/a-handwritten-letter-the-prison-system-doesnt-want-you-to-see/279751/   Related article:  Huffington Post – Susan Green   Suicide At Supermax: Questions Swirl About Death Of Inmate Robert Knott   http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/18/robert-knott-suicide_n_3949893.html  Related article:  Colorado Independent – Susan Greene  Suicide at ADX: The quietest death  http://www.coloradoindependent.com/144016/suicide-at-adx-the-quietest-death