Texas Jail System ‘Defective’ Says Report

The flaws in the state’s justice system cycle thousands of people through jails with little effort to address the roots of their behavior, says the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition. “The most important thing we can do is divert people charged with low level offenses from jail and connect them with recovery support as soon as possible,” said the co-author of a new study.

The Texas jail system is “defective,” according to the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition (TCJC).

In a report, entitled  “A Failure in the Fourth Degree: Reforming the State Jail Felony System in Texas,”  TCJC said inmates in state jails generally have high rates of substance use and mental illness, and low education and employment levels (an average of a seventh grade education).

The report “demonstrates through data and personal interviews with 140 incarcerated individuals the defective nature of Texas’ state jail system,” the TCJC said in a statement accompanying the report.

Researchers interviewed incarcerated individuals in the Texas jail system, as well as district attorneys, judges, probation officers, and formerly incarcerated peopleThe data showed

Significantly, people in state jails are the most poorly educated of any population in the state, the report said.

Texas in particular has the third-lowest ratio of substance use disorder providers in the country, the study noted. Low-income people must wait more than two weeks for intensive residential treatment, four weeks for outpatient treatment, and almost five weeks for Medication-Assisted Treatment, according to the data.

Texans with drug use disorders are far more likely to be arrested than to receive treatment in Texas, said the report authors. 

“Over the past five years, nearly every category of serious and violent offense has declined significantly, whereas drug possession cases have increased nearly 25 percent.”

According to the report, “the most important thing we can do is divert people charged with low level offenses from jail and connect them with recovery support as soon as possible instead of having them cycle in and out of the system.”

TCJC made the following policy and legislative recommendations:

  • A public health response to behavioral health issues that are too often driving people into the justice system, specifically through pre-arrest diversion that helps people access treatment in the community
  • Changes in pretrial practices to prevent lengthy terms of detention that can lead to harsher terms, and to eliminate racial disparities in justice system involvement
  • Improvements in the states probation system that will reduce revocations and accommodate people with prior offenses
  • Funding for a legislatively approved pilot program intended to improve employment prospects among people leaving state jails
  • Strengthened pre- and post-release reentry supports for people reentering the community.

“These recommendations will help address the myriad challenges facing people who continue to cycle through state jails, at great expense to families, communities, and taxpayers,” said the report.

The study was written by Doug Smith, Senior Policy Analyst at the TCJC; and  William R. Kelly, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Criminology and Criminal Justice.

It’s the latest in a series of reports by the TCJC on the state’s justice system. To see earlier reports, click here.

In the TCJC statement, Smith said: “The most important thing we can do is divert people charged with low-level offenses from jail and connect them with recovery supports as soon as possible instead of having them cycle in and out of the system.”

A full copy of the report can be found here. 

This summary was prepared by TCR staff writer Megan Hadley.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Trump Justice Policies Dehumanize Young People of Color: Study

The Trump Administration has been unrelenting in its return to frameworks and failed policies proven to criminalize and dehumanize communities of color, argues a new report by the The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP).

The Trump Administration has been unrelenting in its return to failed policies that have  criminalized and dehumanized young people of color, argues a new report by The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP).

The rhetoric in tweets, speeches, and press statements has made the political climate ripe for advancing policies that roll back recent criminal justice reforms in favor of a “law-and-order” agenda, Kisha Bird, Duy Pham and Justin Edwards argued in the report , entitled “Unjustice: Overcoming Trump’s Rollbacks on Youth Justice.”

These failed policies echo a modern-day political playbook ripped from the 1960s that vilified communities of color and further systematized racial inequities in the criminal justice system, claims the study by CLASP, a nonpartisan advocacy group .

The study examined the following decision-making points that can affect young people of color: promising police reform strategies under threat; reversing progress in strategic prosecutorial choices; and criminalizing youth culture and youth of color.

Notably, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) under the leadership of Attorney General Jeff Sessions repeatedly paints people of color as dangerous, uses misleading crime data, and makes false links between immigration and crime to incite fear, they said.

“The Department of Justice claimed that “the violent crime rate increased by 3.4 percent nationwide in 2016, the largest single-year increase in 25 years.

“However, while violent crime and murder did increase in 2015 and 2016, these trends warrant more investigation and are much more nuanced than the administration’s rhetoric leads the public to believe.”

Trump reinforces this rhetoric, stirring fear that violent crime has reached unprecedented levels, despite steadily decreasing over the last 25 years with minor one- or two year fluctuations, the authors wrote.

More, Sessions voiced concern over police oversight investigations during his confirmation hearing, testifying that federal lawsuits against local law enforcement could “undermine the respect for police officers and create an impression that the entire department is not doing their work consistent with fidelity to law and fairness.”

Bird, Pham and Edwards recalled that in a March 2017 memo, Sessions ordered a sweeping review of consent decrees with law enforcement agencies about police conduct. Soon after that, he announced the department’s withdrawal from consent decrees and DOJ investigations into city police departments.

Then, the withdrawal of the DOJ from supporting consent decrees rolls back progress in community-police relations and civil rights in many communities. It also puts young people—particularly young men of color—at greater risk of unconstitutional discrimination by law enforcement, according to the report.

Sessions’ rescission of the Obama-era guidance to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for low-level, nonviolent drug offenses returns us to an era of excessive punishments that has exacerbated mass incarceration and the unjust racial profiling and discrimination that persist in our justice system, they added.

“Mandatory minimums worsened punishments for youth and young adults of color without providing solutions or addressing root causes, especially following the series of reforms in the 1994 Crime Bill and “tough-on-crime” policies.”

Yet many of the most threatening and transparent actions of the Trump Administration directly target immigrant communities, CLASP argued.

“What started in the campaign as racist attacks on immigrants has translated into the administration actively pushing a false theory that immigration causes crime and painting immigrant youth as dangerous gang members.”

The administration has criminalized immigrant youth as a part of its strategy to push nationalist immigration policies that are devastating youth and young adults of color, regardless of immigration status, authors continued.

The study recalled that the president refers to gang members as “animals” and repeatedly mentions gang violence when talking about immigration to advance his agenda.

Jeff Sessions also says the administration is working “to examine the unaccompanied minors issue and the exploitation of that program by gang members who come to this country as wolves in sheep clothing.”

The authors concluded that the devastating effects of the administration’s dehumanizing rhetoric on immigrant youth of color are “immoral.”

They made the following policy recommendations:

  • Examine the commitment of law enforcement and state and local policymakers to researching, implementing, and investing in 21st century policing strategies.
  • Assess and document public statements and policies of chief law enforcement officials that address mass incarceration and reduce mandatory minimums.
  • Review and analyze existing and newly proposed state gang enhancement laws.
  • Establish accountability safeguards and standards to reduce and eliminate racial disparities in the juvenile and criminal justice system.
  • Build partnerships across agencies and stakeholders to make criminal justice reform and reinvestment a priority, as demonstrated by state, county, and city budgets, as well as the state and local legislative agenda.

A full copy of the report can be found here.

Megan Hadley is Associated Editor of The Crime Report. Readers’ comments are welcomed.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Survivors of Sexual Assault Still Don’t Report It, Says Harvard Research Review

Most people who experience unwanted sexual contact do not report it—for reasons such as the victim does not view the encounter as ‘rape,’ even when it fits the legal definition—according to a new report for students, journalists and researchers by the Journalist’s Resource at Harvard University. 

Most people who experience unwanted sexual contact do not report it—for reasons such as the victim does not view the encounter as ‘rape,’ even when it fits the legal definition— according to a new report for students, journalists and researchers by the Journalist’s Resource at the Harvard University Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy. 

“Over the past year, as the #MeToo movement has grown and national figures such as Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and movie mogul Harvey Weinstein have faced allegations of sexual misconduct from women they knew years ago, one question has continued to surface: Why would someone claiming abuse wait so long to come forward?” author Denise-Marie Ordway writes.

Research indicates the answer is complicated, she continues.

“There are a wide range of reasons people don’t report their experiences with sexual harassment and assault to authorities and, oftentimes, even hide them from friends and family members.”

One reason is self-blame, said Karen G. Weiss, an associate professor of sociology at West Virginia University whose research focuses on sexual violence, the roundup report notes.

The report gathered and summarized a sampling of peer-reviewed research — including two academic articles from Weiss — that investigates why many people don’t report sex crimes.

The following list includes studies that look at factors that discourage or prevent reporting among specific groups, including teenagers, college students, prison inmates and women serving in the military.

“Meta-Analysis of the Prevalence of Unacknowledged Rape” Wilson, Laura C.; Miller, Katherine E. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, April 2016.

Laura C. Wilson, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Mary Washington, led this review of 28 academic studies to estimate how often women who’ve been sexually assaulted do not label their experience as rape.  The 28 studies focused on the experiences of a total of 5,917 women who had been raped at some point in their lives after age 14.

Across the studies, the researchers find that 60.4 percent of women, on average, did not recognize their experience as rape even though it fit the definition — an unwanted sexual experience obtained through force or the threat of force or a sexual experience they did not consent to because they were incapacitated.

“This finding has important implications because it suggests that our awareness of the scope of the problem may underestimate its true occurrence rate, depending on the type of measurement,” the authors write.

“This impacts policy reform, allocations of mental health services, survivors’ perceptions of their experiences, and society’s attitudes toward survivors.”

“’You Just Don’t Report That Kind of Stuff’: Investigating Teens’ Ambivalence Toward Peer-Perpetrated, Unwanted Sexual Incidents” Weiss, Karen G. Violence and Victims, 2013. 

In this study, Weiss investigates why many teenagers who experience unwanted sexual contact from other teens trivialize those experiences as unimportant or normal. She relies on data from the National Crime Victimization Survey, administered each year to tens of thousands of individuals aged 12 years and older.

According to survey data, 92 percent of teens who say they experienced some form of unwanted sexual contact are girls, 81 percent are white and 13 percent are Hispanic.

Just over half of these incidents — 53 percent — involved sexual coercion such as rape and attempted rape while 47 percent involved other contact such as groping. Almost half of teenagers — 44 percent — said the perpetrators were other youth between the ages of 12 and 17.

A key finding: Teens who experience unwanted contact rarely report it. Five percent of incidents were reported to police and 25 percent were reported to other authorities such as school officials or employers.

“Too Ashamed to Report: Deconstructing the Shame of Sexual Victimization” Weiss, Karen G. Feminist Criminology, July 2010. 

In another study from Weiss, she “deconstructs shame as both a culturally imbued response to sexual victimization and as a much taken-for-granted reason for why victims don’t report incidents to the police.”

Weiss analyzed statements made by men and women as part of the annual National Crime Victimization Survey. She examined their responses to a survey question asking them to describe what happened to them. She also examined structured responses to questions about sex-related incidents.

What Weiss found was that many respondents expressed shame as part of their description of what happened and why they didn’t go to the police. Thirteen percent of incidents made some reference to shame. For example, a 19-year-old women stated that she was ashamed and felt partly to blame for a male acquaintance raping her because she couldn’t stop him.

“Barriers to Reporting Sexual Assault for Women and Men: Perspectives of College Students” Sable, Marjorie R.; Danis, Fran; Mauzy, Denise L.; Gallagher, Sarah K. Journal of American College Health, 2006. 

For this study, a research team from the University of Missouri-Columbia surveyed students at a large, Midwestern university to better understand what they perceive as the biggest barriers to reporting rape and sexual assault for men and women.

Students rated “shame, guilt and embarrassment,” “confidentiality concerns” and “fear of not being believed” as the top three perceived barriers to reporting rape among both men and women. However, students rated shame, guilt and embarrassment as a much larger barrier for men than women. Another major barrier to reporting for men, according to students, is the fear they could be judged as being gay.

“Compared with women, men may fail to report because reporting is perceived to jeopardize their masculine self-identity,” the authors write.

“The high score that being judged as gay received by the respondents may acknowledge society’s consideration that male rape occurs in the gay, not the general, community.”

“Reporting Sexual Assault in the Military: Who Reports and Why Most Servicewomen Don’t” Mengeling, Michelle A.; Booth, Brenda M.; Torner, James C.; Sadler, Anne G. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, July 2014. 

For this study, researchers interviewed women who had served in the U.S. Army or Air Force and acknowledged at least one attempted or completed sexual assault while they were in the military. Of the 1,339 women interviewed, 18 percent said they had experienced sexual assault while serving on full-time active duty.

Meanwhile, 12 percent said they had experienced sexual assault while serving in the Reserves or National Guard.

Among the key findings: Three-fourths of servicewomen did not report their assaults. Eighty percent of women who said they’d been assaulted identified the perpetrator as U.S. military personnel.

The researchers found that sexual assaults were more likely to be reported if they occurred on base or while on duty or if they resulted in a physical injury.

They also found that enlisted women who had never gone to college were most likely to report. The most common reasons women gave for not officially reporting their assault were embarrassment and not knowing how to report.

“The Darkest Figure of Crime: Perceptions of Reasons for Male Inmates to Not Report Sexual Assault” Miller, Kristine Levan. Justice Quartely, 2010. 

Kristine Levan, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Idaho, surveyed a random sample of 890 inmates from eight state-run prisons in Texas to understand why a male prisoner might not report sexual assault.

Inmates said the three most common reasons prisoners may not report sexual assault are embarrassment, retaliation from other inmates and a fear of harassment and abuse from other inmates.

“The male prison environment thrives on exerting one’s own masculinity,” Levan writes.

“Although the assailant of a sexual assault gains respect and status, the victim is ultimately emasculated … Heralding back to the tenets of the convict code, inmates are expected to not show signs of weakness, especially to other inmates, and admission to sexual victimization may be an indication to other inmates that they are indeed weak.”

“Would They Officially Report an In-Prison Sexual Assault? An Examination of Inmate Perceptions” Fowler, Shannon K.; Blackburn, Ashley G.; Marquart, James W.; Mullings, Janet L. The Prison Journal, 2010. 

A research team led by Shannon K. Fowler, an associate professor at the University of Houston, examines whether prisoners would report sexual violence or recommend that other prisoners report violence they had experienced. The team surveyed 935 male and female inmates from a large Southern prison system.

Here’s what they found: Most inmates said they would report their sexual assault. However, those who already had experienced assault while incarcerated were less likely to say they would. “

This finding tends to support the bulk of work dedicated to prison culture and sexual assault, where inmate reports to staff could add additional consequences, like retaliation or additional labels of being ‘weak,’ which could lead to increased harassment by other inmates,” the authors write.

Other resources that may be helpful to journalists and researchers:

A full copy of the report by the Journalist’s Resource at Harvard University can be found from https://thecrimereport.org

Federal Juvenile Justice Agency Makes ‘Punitive’ Language Shift- Report

The U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), has altered messaging on its website in ways that indicate a shift toward a more punitive approach to juvenile justice under the Trump administration, according to a new report by the Sunlight Foundation’s Web Integrity Project (WIP).

The U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) has altered messaging on its website in ways that indicate a shift toward a more punitive approach to juvenile justice under the Trump administration, according to a new report by the Sunlight Foundation’s Web Integrity Project (WIP).

Changes have been made to the terminology used to describe juveniles that come into contact with the justice system and the types of programs and services OJJDP supports and provides, noted Jon Campbell, the senior investigator at the Web Integrity Project.

See also: In Feds’ Juvenile Justice Agency, ‘Reform’ is a Four-Letter Word.

Information related to girls in the juvenile justice system and the use of solitary confinement among youthful offenders were among the materials removed from its website without notice, he said.

The changes come as the office, part of the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), has taken a distinct turn toward more punitive policies under the new administration, the report found.

“The office has toughened its rhetoric as its current director has announced that she intends to “rebalance” its approach to direct more focus on victim’s rights and community safety, and away from therapeutic interventions for youth.”

Significantly, the drift in policy at OJJDP has been reflected in language shifts on the website.

On the site’s “About” page, for example, the term “justice-involved youth,” widely used to describe young people in the criminal justice system, has been replaced with the term “offenders,” which advocates regard as stigmatizing.

Similarly, the office’s “Vision Statement” on the “Vision and Mission” page used to declare that it “envisions a nation where our children are healthy, educated, and free from crime and violence.”

The newest version has excised the phrase “healthy and educated.”

More, removals of pages about still-active programs and policy guidance, previously linked from the website’s “OJJDP In Focus” and “Programs and Initiatives” pages, also reflect the apparent shift in priorities at OJJDP, the report contended.

Among those removed was the “Eliminating Solitary Confinement for Youth” page, which stated OJJDP’s commitment “to ending the use of solitary confinement for youth” and included training materials for understanding the unhealthy impact of isolation and best practices for ending its use.

Two of the removed pages — “Girls and the Juvenile Justice System” and “Engaging Families and Youth in the Juvenile Justice System Policy Guidance” — contained policy guidance that have not been rescinded and are apparently still in effect.

Notably, the DOJ’s rescinding of other policy documents in recent months has been made through a formal process and was announced in press releases.

However, there has been no such formal process with regard to these two policy documents, which can lead to confusion about the status of the guidance, said Campbell.

See also: OJJDP Cuts Oversight of Minorities in Justice System

Another notable removal was the “Girls at Risk” page, which detailed the still-active National Girls Initiative (NGI), a program funded by OJJDP and run for years by National Crittenton, a nonprofit based in Portland, OR.

That program, aimed at helping local agencies better serve at-risk youth, takes a decidedly non-punitive approach to girls in the juvenile system, according to its director, Jeannette Pai-Espinosa.

The broad changes in policy approach at OJJDP have been stark enough that at least one grantee, the W. Haywood Burns Institute for Justice Fairness and Equity, has decided to stop working with the office, the Web Integrity Project reports.

James Bell, the organization’s director, told the WIP that the DOJ as a whole, and OJJDP in particular, has seemed uninterested in their priorities, which are the reduction of racial and ethnic disparities in the criminal justice system.

After conversations with the office early in the Trump administration, Bell said the organization had decided not to seek funds from OJJDP in the future.

A full copy of the report can be found here.

This summary was prepared by TCR senior staff reporter Megan Hadley.

from https://thecrimereport.org

As States Emphasize Addiction Treatment, Prison Populations Will Drop: Study

At least five states have reclassified simple drug possession from a felony to misdemeanor since 2014 in an effort to reduce prison populations—and it seems to be working, according to a new report released by the Urban Institute. The study says the results support a growing body of evidence that shows treatment, not incarceration, is the most effective way to address drug addiction, as the country continues to grapple with the opioid crisis.

At least five states have reclassified all simple drug possession from a felony to misdemeanor since 2014 in an effort to reduce prison populations—and it seems to be working—according to a new report released by the Justice Policy Center at the Urban Institute. 

As the country continues to grapple with the opioid crisis, a growing body of evidence shows treatment, not incarceration, is the most effective way to address drug addiction, say report c0-authors Julia Durnan, a policy analyst at the Justice Policy Institute, and Brian Elderboom, an affiliated scholar.

Currently, there are more than 20 million people in the U.S. with a current or prior felony conviction, about four times more than in 1980.

Much of the growth in felony convictions can be attributed to our nation’s drug laws, the study noted.

“Changing drug convictions is an important policy change that states can adopt to reduce incarceration for drug possession cases, and invest in more effective treatment interventions,” the authors said.

California was the first state in 2014 to reclassify drug possession, as part of voter-approved Proposition 47 in 2014, and similar reforms have been signed into law by governors in Utah (2015), Connecticut (2015), and Alaska (2016) and reclassification was approved at the ballot in Oklahoma in 2016.

Early indicators on the impact of this reclassification show promise, the report said.

  • The Utah prison population has declined nine percent since Gov. Gary Herbert signed House Bill (H.B.) 348, fueled in part by a 74 percent decline in new court commitments for drug possession. The legislation also directs the state to invest more than $10 million in behavioral health programs and training for treatment staff.
  • In Connecticut, as of December 2017, the population in prison for drug possession had declined 74 percent to only 134 people, including an 80 percent decline in the pretrial population. Budget experts estimate that reclassification of drug possession will save the Department of Corrections $5.3 million in FY 2016 and $9.8 million in FY 2017.
  • In California, reclassifying drug possession has helped lead to a decline in both state prison and local jail populations.  As a result, California awarded more than $100 million in grants to local governments for mental health treatment, victims’ services, and crime prevention programs.

A full copy of the report can be found here.

This summary was prepared by senior TCR staff writer Megan Hadley.

from https://thecrimereport.org

NYC Moves Teens from Rikers Island: ‘Kids Will Be Treated Like Kids,’ says Mayor

The city Correction Department has completed the move of 16- and 17-year-olds off Rikers Island to juvenile facilities in what Mayor Bill de Blasio called “an historic day for criminal justice reform.” The long-awaited move comes as a new “Raise the Age” state law approved by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the legislature that treats 16-year-olds accused of crimes as juveniles instead of adults took effect Monday.

The city Correction Department has completed the move of 16- and 17-year-olds from Rikers Island to juvenile facilities in what Mayor de Blasio on Monday called “an historic day for criminal justice reform,” according to The New York Post. 

“Beginning today, no one under 18 will go to Rikers Island,” De Blasio said on twitter. “Kids will be treated like kids instead of adults,” 

“This is an historic moment for criminal justice reform and another step toward replacing Rikers Island with smaller, safer, more humane facilities that are closer to communities and loved ones.”

A new “Raise the Age” state law approved by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the  state legislature took effect Monday that treats 16-year-olds accused of crimes as juveniles instead of adults.

The law extends to 17-year-olds on Oct. 1, 2019.

All of the nearly 100 teenagers under the age of 18 on Rikers were transferred to the Horizon Juvenile Detention Center in the South Bronx, according to the Legal Aid Society and a release from the City, reports the Gothamist. 

In the future, 16- and 17-year-olds charged with serious crimes will be sent to Horizon, while those charged with less serious crimes will be sent to Crossroads Juvenile Center in Brownsville, Brooklyn.

Both facilities are operated by the City’s Administration for Children’s Services, (ACS), but Horizon will continue to be staffed and run jointly with the City’s Department of Correction; unions for the Correction Officers had sued to prevent this from happening, but last month a judge ruled that the 300 Correction Officers and 200 ACS employees had to show up to work.

Significantly, children jailed with adults are more likely to be beaten, raped, or commit suicide, and they’re also more likely to be arrested again than those who go through the juvenile jail system, writes Christopher Robbins in the Gothamist.

Now, teens under 18 charged with misdemeanors and non-violent felonies (barring “extraordinary circumstances”) will be referred to family court as juveniles; those charged with violent felonies will also be referred to family court, unless their case involves a weapon, serious injuries, or a sex offense, in which case they will be tried in a “youth part” of regular criminal court.

“While Raise the Age is a critical reform for New York’s criminal justice system, I have serious concerns that the city’s use of DOC staff in juvenile correction facilities will fundamentally undermine [the] goals and spirit of this landmark legislation,” Queens Councilmember Rory Lancman said in a statement.

“Officers trained in adult jails should not be supervising kids.”

This summary was prepared by TCR staff reporter Megan Hadley.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Do White Men Still Have a Singular Claim to Power in Politics?

In a new podcast, titled “The Dream Was Not Mine,” on The United States of Anxiety, produced by WNYC studios, Amanda Aronczyk and Nancy Solomon explore how midterm elections could be affected by the rise of women pushing back against sexual and domestic abuse in politics and in the White House.

In a new podcast, titled “The Dream Was Not Mine,” on The United States of Anxiety, produced by WNYC studios, Amanda Aronczyk and Nancy Solomon explore how midterm elections could be affected by the rise of women pushing back against sexual and domestic abuse in politics and in the White House.

“This election cannot be separated from the #MeToo movement that has erupted over the past year,” said host Kai Wright.

“We have to consider the private, personal way male power has operated in lives of thousands of women and what it means for women not challenge that power.”

Jennifer Willoughby

Jennifer Willoughby. Photo by Howard Kurtz from Fox New’s Media Buzz.

Jennifer Willoughby, Rob Porter’s ex wife (who was the former White House Staff Secretary) challenged that power when she spoke out against her husband’s physical, mental and emotional abuse.

“I wanted the white, middle-class life… until I didn’t. The marriage was a mess,” Willoughby described in the podcast.  According to Willoughby, the only way to survive, and not commit suicide, was to leave the abusive marriage. And in 2013, she did.

When the FBI was combing through Porter’s file during a background check, they reached out to Willoughby and she told them, in detail, about the domestic violence in her marriage. Shortly afterwards, the media got hold of the story, and Porter’s abuse became public.

However, not many in the White House believed the allegations, and actively rejected Willoughby’s claim.

The White House demonstrated they didn’t care,  said Wright. They called Rob Porter a man of dignity and honor.

But Willoughby stood her ground and rejected a man’s assertion of power in her life, Wright continued.

“She began to question the very nature of power and privilege. She realized truly challenging power means re imagining it all together,” the podcast said.

Now, women have developed a different idea about what they want from our democracy and how they can get it, according to the podcast.

A  record number of women running for office, including Stacey Abrams, an African-American woman running for governor in Georgia, and  Christine Hallquist, a transgender woman running for governor in Vermont, the podcast noted.

“Many of them are women who looked up after 2016 election and said something has got to change.”

A full copy of the show can be found here.

Amanda Aronczyk of WNYC public radio in New York is a 2018 John Jay Justice Reporting Fellow. This podcast was produced for her domestic violence reporting fellowship project.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Removing Youth from Adult Jails: A ‘Jail-by-Jail’ Approach

According to a new report released by the Jail Removal Project at UCLA School of Law, a state-by-state, county-by-county, and jail-by-jail approach is needed to remove all youth from adult prisons. The number is steadily declining, but researchers contend that it should be “zero.”

Removing all youth from adult jails will take a state-by-state, county-by-county and jail-by jail-approach, says a new report from by the Jail Removal Project at UCLA School of Law.

Using data from the the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ (BJS) Census of Jails, the Annual Survey of Jails and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Census of Juvenile Residential Placements, the study found that no single approach will work for every jurisdiction or every jail.

Instead, a multi-faceted approach that focuses on youth in state, county and local facilities is needed, the report says.

Significantly, the number of youth (ages 17 and younger) housed in adult jails is declining.

There were 3,700 youth held in adult jails in 2016, down more than 50 percent from a peak of 7,600 youth at midyear 2010, and down 60 percent from a peak of 9,458 in 1999, the report said.

However, researchers say that number should be “zero” due to the detrimental affects adult jails have on children.

“Incarceration has iatrogenic effects on youth, with additional research showing that adult environments increase recidivism beyond that of youth held in juvenile facilities,” the report says.

Economists have also found that youth incarceration results in substantially lower high school completion rates and higher adult incarceration rates, including for violent crimes.

One way to remove youth from adult prisons, according to the report, is to pass “raise the age” legislation in every state.

As of 2007, 14 states had excluded 16 or 17-year-olds from juvenile court jurisdiction simply because of their age.

Ten years later, only four states continue to exclude 17-year-olds from juvenile court jurisdiction based solely on their age – Georgia, Michigan, Texas, and Wisconsin.

“The question is no longer whether states should stop automatically treating all 16-or 17-year-olds as adults, but when and how to raise the age,” the report says.

The report suggested changing state laws on transferring youths between juvenile and adult courts.

“The presence of youth in adult jails appears to be driven largely by states which predominantly rely on transfer laws which have youth start in adult criminal court… with the greatest numbers in states where the jail law requires housing youth in adult jails,” the report says.

Researchers also suggested modifying state jail laws to prohibit placement of youth in adult jails and pressuring city and county officials to pass policies to remove youth from adult facilities.

A full list of their policy recommendations include the following:

  • Federal policymakers should strengthen, reauthorize, and adequately fund the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act to remove youth from adult jails, promote alternatives to youth incarceration, and support critical juvenile justice system improvements.
  • State policymakers should update their laws to limit the number of youth housed in adult jails by raising the age of juvenile court jurisdiction, using judicial waiver instead of automatic or prosecutorial discretion mechanisms, and modifying their state jail laws or regulations to make juvenile facilities the default placement for youth.
  • County and city policymakers should immediately designate a local juvenile facility as the default placement for all youth who would otherwise be housed in an adult jail.
  • Sheriffs and jailers should work to identify a local juvenile facility to house youth who would otherwise be housed in their adult facility.
  • Juvenile detention and corrections officials should prepare to receive youth who are prosecuted in the adult system and evaluate existing policies and programming to determine whether any modifications are needed to accommodate a population with longer lengths of stay within their facility.
  • Prosecutor and public defender offices should actively support efforts to update state laws to make juvenile facilities the default placement for youth. Further, public defenders should help educate prosecutors and judges about the dangers of housing youth in adult jails and vigorously advocate to remove their youth clients from jails to more developmentally appropriate settings.

A full copy of the report can be found here.

This summary was prepared by TCR senior staff reporter Megan Hadley.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Police Officer Numbers Fail to Keep Up With Growing US Population: Report

A report released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) found that although the number of full-time sworn officers has increased from 1997 to 2016, the rate per 1,000 residents decreased by 11 percent, as the general population in the U.S. increased by 21 percent over the same period.

The number of law enforcement officers has failed to keep up with the increase in U.S. population, decreased over the past decade, according to a new report released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) at the U.S. Department of Justice.

Although the numbers of sworn officers increased by 52,000 (up by 8 percent), the report found that from 1997 to 2016, the rate of full-time sworn officers per 1,o00 decreased by 11 percent. During the same period, the general population in the U.S. increased by 21 percent.

Author Shelley Hyland, Ph.D., a BJS statistician, collected survey data from the Law Enforcement Agency Roster (LEAR) database, which includes a census of 15,810 general-purpose law enforcement agencies, including 12,695 local and county police departments, 3,066 sheriffs’ offices, and 49 primary state police departments.

Noting a steady decrease in police officers from 2000 to 2016, the report found the the 2016 rate of full-time sworn officers per 1,000 residents was also lower than the rates in 2000 (down seven percent), 2003 (down eight percent), and 2007 (down seven percent).

Other findings include the following:

  • The number of full-time employees in general-purpose law enforcement agencies increased by about 174,000 (up 20 percent from 1997 to 2016.
  • From 1997 to 2016, the number of full-time sworn ofcers in local police departments increased by about 48,000 (up 11 percent).
  • The number of full-time sworn officers in primary state police agencies increased by about 5,000 (up 10 percent) from 1997 to 2016.
  • From 1997 to 2016, the number of full-time civilians in general-purpose law enforcement agencies increased by about 121,000 (up 53 percent).
  • From 1997 to 2016, the number of full-time civilians in sherifs’ officers increased 110 percent, or by about 98,000.

A full copy of the report can be found here. 

This summary was prepared b y TCR staff reporter Megan Hadley.

from https://thecrimereport.org

How Criminal Justice Reform Can Move Forward in the Trump Era

Criminal justice reforms are under attack in the Trump era and require immediate attention from state and local governments,  as well as action from the formerly incarcerated, according to a Yale Law professor. 

Criminal justice reforms are under attack in the Trump era and require immediate attention from state and local governments, as well as action from the formerly incarcerated, according to a Yale Law professor.

Author Miriam Gohara, writing in the Stanford Journal of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, said that progressive criminal justice reformers must remain vigilant to threats against rollbacks of mass incarceration, particularly when Attorney General Jeff Sessions “has redoubled his commitment to policies designed to put more people behind bars.”

Gohara cited Sessions’s May 2017 memorandum to U.S. Attorneys requiring federal line prosecutors to pursue the most serious provable charges against defendants as one rollback to criminal justice reform.

The memo rescinded then-Attorney General Eric Holder’s 2013 directive that federal prosecutors should avoid charges to which mandatory minimum sentences would apply to certain low-level non-violent drug offenders.

Aside from “executive branch policy,” she also noted Sessions has remained staunchly opposed to legislative sentencing reform, even when his stance puts him at odds with congressional Republicans and other conservatives.

For instance, during President Trump’s first year in office, Republican Senator Charles Grassley introduced a criminal justice reform bill that included provisions curtailing the applicability of mandatory minimums and reducing enhanced penalties for previous drug crimes.

Sessions, citing concerns about rising violent crime rates, called the bill a “grave error.”

Gohara proposed that justice reform should be left to local governments and formerly incarcerated.

More, she suggested that they focus on reforms that address non-violent crime.

First, she he advised local policymakers reward, replicate, and expand local reforms because the building blocks of mass incarceration were laid by countless state and federal politicians, policymakers, prosecutors, and judges for the past four decades.

But local governments also have the power to unravel mass incarceration, if they so choose.

“The good news is new initiatives have begun in many places, and federal policy will have little, if any, detrimental effect on most state and local reforms,” Gohara wrote.

Non-violent should be at the heart of criminal justice reform, she continued.

Notably, most Americans are sitting in prison for non-violent offenses, which is why “any meaningful dismantling of mass incarceration will need to reckon with punishment for violent offenses.”

Last, Gohara argued formerly incarcerated people have a large role to play in justice reform. They should be “co architects” of a new framework for justice.

In reality, imprisoned people are also disproportionately victimized by crime.

So, by bringing together the formerly incarcerated population and victims of crime, both parties can work together to reform the system.

This “creates a powerful opportunity for crime survivors who have served time in prison to join forces with those who have not to identify a reform agenda that treats everyone swept into the criminal justice system with humanity,” the law professor concluded.

A full copy of the report can be found here.

Megan Hadley is a staff reporter for The Crime Report. Readers’ comments are welcome.

from https://thecrimereport.org