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ACEs in the Criminal Justice System

Discussion and sharing of resources in working with clients involved in the criminal justice system and how screening for and treating ACEs will lead to successful re-entry of prisoners into the community and reduced recidivism for former offenders.

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NFL Athlete Lawrence Phillips: The Broken Kid

http://blitzweekly.com/lawrence-phillips-the-broken-kid/ http://www.thenation.com/article/who-killed-lawrence-phillips/ Today NFL athlete Lawrence Phillips' death was ruled a suicide by the coroner. His ACEs score (Adverse Childhood Experiences) was by all accounts extremely high. By all accounts, he did not receive treatment for this unrelenting childhood trauma and attachment disruption. Abandoned by his father, abused by his stepfather, removed from his mother, placed in group homes, and...

WHY IT’S NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE FOR PRISONERS TO SUE PRISONS [NewYorker.com]

On June 21, 2007, two guards at a jail in Baltimore assaulted an inmate named Shaidon Blake, a gang leader who had been convicted of second-degree murder, earlier that year. The guards, James Madigan and Michael Ross, had been ordered to move Blake to solitary after a supervising officer complained that he was starting trouble—“commandeering” the television and using the phone out of turn. According to court documents, Madigan and Ross walked Blake from his cell to a nearby corridor, where...

Paying (and Paying and Paying) a Debt to Society [TheAtlantic.com]

Last week, a federal judge in Brooklyn issued a ruling that sent a small shockwave through the criminal-justice world. Rather than sentencing a woman who had been convicted of smuggling more than a pound of cocaine into the United States to a few years in prison, Judge Frederic Block opted for extraordinary leniency and gave her probation. Block’s rationale was simple enough: The “collateral consequences” of being a convicted felon are punishment enough. Quoting experts on American...

Toxic Stress, Toxic Streets (4 minute video)

This video is about 2 years old, but I just came across it last week and wanted to share with you all. It is a powerful statement by the students at Leadership High School in San Francisco, CA. They speak about the ongoing adversity and toxic stress in their daily lives and in their community, all through the power of music. The youth voice is so important as we work to bring trauma-informed and resilience building practices to communities. Link to video: Toxic Stress, Toxic Streets

Offender reentry program fits national initiative (ocregister.com)

The importance of reentry services for offenders has gained public prominence. The Department of Justice and Attorney General Loretta Lynch recently underscored this by announcing National Reentry Week April 24-30. During this week, the Bureau of Prisons, the U.S. attorney’s offices and others will coordinate and promote various reentry events, such as job fairs, mentorship programs and other community activities like the ones we organize frequently from this center. The Santa Ana BI Day...

"5 myths about putting people in prison and what actually works." (upworthy.com)

When people commit crimes, we send them away from their families and communities to become better by locking them in cells. That idea really starts to fall apart when you consider the number of people who abuse drugs , people with mental illness, and people of color in the prison system. Sometimes society's most egregious myths are right in front of our faces. Thankfully, as a society, starting to take a second look at the parts of our criminal justice system, especially prisons, that might...

'I'm looking for a fresh start,' say ex-cons attending job, resource fair in Anaheim (ocregister.com)

Austin Barry stood outside of the Honda Center on Tuesday looking for a little redemption and a job. Just eight days out of prison for a robbery conviction, the 24-year-old Mission Viejo resident was among 200 former offenders who attended the Orange County Re-entry Resource Fair, which connected felons with employment opportunities, legal advice and drug-treatment programs. “I’m looking for a fresh start, which is kind of hard for any person with a record,” said Barry, who served a 2...

These prison inmates are saving the Earth as they serve their time (upworthy.com)

Efforts like this are possible through Washington's Sustainability in Prisons programs. It began in 2003 as a pilot project between Cedar Creek Corrections Center and Evergreen State College . Cedar Creek was looking to go green, and had already launched gardening, compost, and recycling projects. Around the same time, a professor at Evergreen, Dr. Nalini Nadkarni, was looking to work with inmates to study forest mosses, which desperately needed to be replenished. The two projects crossed...

Reject more jail expansion and invest in prevention, re-entry (sacbee.com)

Recently, when Gov. Jerry Brown warned of impending deficits and the perils of committing to new spending in his revised budget proposal, he failed to mention the one area in which he has been consistently profligate: his aggressive expansion of the state’s already vast system of imprisonment. The governor is proposing $250 million for county jail construction, on top of the $2.2 billion he has already poured into expanding county jails since 2008. More than 40 counties are already building...

Young Adult Court: Ending Mass Incarceration with Trauma Informed Criminal Justice

The last two decades have given rise to a body of research establishing that young adults are fundamentally different from both juveniles and older adults in how they process information and make decisions. The prefrontal cortex of the brain — responsible for our cognitive processing and impulse control — does not fully develop until the early to mid-20s. At the same time that young adults are going through this critical developmental phase, many find themselves facing adulthood without...

Early, Individualized Interventions Key to Reentry Success, Report Says [JJIE.org]

Former offenders need timely, individualized reentry paths that focus on career development, a new report by ICF International says. Too often, the hundreds of thousands of people returning from prison each year are unable to find employment, a situation compounded by trouble securing housing, health care and transportation — all factors that increase the likelihood of recidivism. “All they’ve got is a criminal record. That’s all anyone can see,” said Brent Orrell, a family and economic...

Restorative Justice conference focuses on 'energy of healing' (thecalifornian.com)

With crime and its aftermath often rippling through Monterey County , more than a hundred residents gathered at Hartnell College on Saturday to talk about how victims, offenders and the community can transform the negative effects of crime into positive solutions. Restorative justice is a system of criminal justice that focuses on rehabilitation of offenders through reconciliation with victims and the community at large. The “ Restorative Justice Conference: Justice that Heals ” was hosted...

Ella Baker Truth and Reinvestment Justice Teams underway in 8 CA Counties

There are various forms of emergency preparedness for natural disasters. From an early age, one learns how to put out a fire, board up their home if a hurricane or tornado is coming, or drop under a desk if an earthquake hits—but low-income communities of color have little to no response to more frequent incidences of state violence in the streets and inside of jails. The Justice Teams for Truth and Reinvestment will be the local rapid response networks inside of eight different counties...

Rep. Kennedy Calls Juvenile Justice the Next Civil Rights Issue [JJIE.org]

Rep. Joseph Kennedy III drew on the spirit of his grandfather Robert F. Kennedy this morning, casting juvenile justice as an urgent civil rights issue in a rousing and eloquent keynote address at the inaugural Probation System Reform Symposium . He applauded the 200-plus symposium attendees, many of them people who work with children in the system, for being on the front lines of this movement and putting reforms into place that de-emphasize punishment and throwing children deeper into the...

A Prosecutor's Vision for a Better Justice System (dailygood.org)

I am a prosecutor. I believe in law and order. I am the adopted son of a police officer, a Marine and a hairdresser. I believe in accountability and that we should all be safe in our communities. I love my job and the people that do it. I just think that it's our responsibility to do it better. The staggering inefficiency is what drove me to criminal justice work. The unfairness of it all made me want to be a defender. The power dynamic that I came to understand made me become a prosecutor.

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