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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.

Tagged With "prison reform"

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7.25+

Zachary Dorholt ·
I have spent over a decade working at the intersection of mental health and social/criminal justice systems, but it wasn't until recently when I started collecting ACE scores with the inmates I work with in county jails. Prior to working in the jails, I worked in the state prison system, where I did mental health intake evaluations at the state prison where all offenders in Minnesota enter through. So often, in the back of my mind, was the thought that "if only these guys had the right...
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A Criminal Justice Revolution

Lisa Frederiksen ·
Newly elected Philadelphia DA, Larry Krasner, is on a mission to tear down the City's "bigoted and patently unfair systems of mass incarceration," writes Shaun King in his article for TheIntercept.com, titled: " Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner Promised a Criminal Justice Revolution. He's Exceeding Expectations ." Quoting some of the highlights of King's article: So far, having been in office less than three months, he has exceeded expectations. In his first week on the job, he fired 31...
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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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A Trauma-informed, Resiliency-based Community of Practice for Prison Educators

Sheryl Huggins Salomon ·
An article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review titled " How Philanthropy Can Create Public Systems Change " describes how Renewing Communities, a five-year, multifunder initiative aimed increasing education of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated students by California’s public colleges and universities, partnered with the NYU McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research in order to address educator burnout through a trauma-informed and resiliency-based community of practice.
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Access to civil justice in California remains elusive. It could be an opportunity (calmatters.org)

More than half of California households had problems last year that are civil legal issues, but nearly 70% of them received no legal help. That is one of the stark findings of the State Bar’s California Justice Gap Study . The study, which surveyed nearly 4,000 California adults, spotlights a harsh reality: There is an enormous gap between the need for civil legal services and most people’s ability to access legal help. Think this is only a problem for low-income Californians? Think again.
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Biggest Jailer in the World: Los Angeles (citywatchla.org)

JUSTICE THROUGH UNITY-The people of the County of Los Angeles and beyond need to understand that spending $3.5 billion on new jails instead of focusing on local services that could prevent mostly black and brown people from ending up behind bars in the first place is in the best interest of all of us—and not just black and brown people. According to historian and UCLA Professor Kelly Lytle Hernandez, LA County isn’t just the biggest jailer in the United States—it is the biggest jailer in the...
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Bill On Governor’s Desk Aims To Reduce Childhood Trauma By Diverting Parents Into Treatment, Instead Of Prison [witnessla.com]

By Taylor Walker, Witness LA, September 13, 2019 An estimated 10 million US children have parents who are currently locked up, or who have previously been incarcerated. A bill currently on Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk, SB 394, seeks to reduce the number of parents and children separated by incarceration by boosting diversion. Children arguably suffer the worst consequences of mass incarceration. In 2014, a UC Irvine study found that having a parent behind bars can be more damaging to a kid’s...
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Bryan Stevenson Wants the U.S. to Face Its History [nytimes.com]

Alicia Doktor ·
Last month, Congress passed the First Step Act, a prison-reform bill intended to reduce recidivism. Do you think this bill will actually change the realities of mass incarceration? It’s important but insufficient, in terms of the actual number of people in jails and prisons. We’ve gone from 300,000 people in jails and prisons in the 1970s to 2.2 million people today. We have to radically reorient ourselves and start talking about rehabilitation, restoration and how we end crime. And if we do...
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California's mentally ill inmate population keeps growing. And state money isn't enough to meet needs, lawmaker says (latimes.com)

Gov. Jerry Brown has earmarked $117 million in his new state budget to expand the number of treatment beds and mental health programs for more than 800 mentally ill inmates found incompetent to stand trial. State officials said they have struggled to keep up with the needs of a population that has jumped in size by 33% over the last three years, as judges are increasingly referring defendants to treatment. But one state lawmaker says additional funds are not enough. Legislators, he said,...
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Consider alternative before building a bigger jail [Bangor Daily News]

Penobscot County is planning a new, bigger jail. The argument is that the currently overcrowded facility is a risky environment. While roughly 75 new beds are needed to reduce overcrowding, the group is planning to add twice that , just in case. Now seems like a good time to re-imagine prison. Since 2005, the Corrections Alternatives Advisory Committee of Maine has been discussing the need for reform in the state justice system, citing bail reform, providing resources toward reducing...
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Crime once plagued San Joaquin County, but now its jail has empty beds. Here’s what it did right (latimes.com)

While overall crime in California increased slightly after 2011, San Joaquin County’s dropped 20% — and hit a decades-old low last year. The county’s jail, which had been under court-ordered monitoring because of dangerous overcrowding, now has empty beds. Participation in specialized drug courts has increased and recidivism among newly released offenders has dropped. It is unclear how much of the county’s success is the result of its new programs rather than other factors, such as hiring...
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Criminal Justice Reform for the Long Haul [macfound.org]

Alicia Doktor ·
It has been two eventful years since the launch of the Safety and Justice Challenge , MacArthur's ambitious effort to stimulate reform of local criminal justice systems, reduce racial and ethnic disparities, and change the way the nation thinks about and uses jails. The Challenge targets America's excessive reliance on jail incarceration, a key component and driver of mass incarceration, by supporting a diverse network of communities seeking better, fairer, and more balanced approaches to...
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Cycle of Risk: The Intersection of Poverty, Violence, and Trauma (issuelab.org)

We make the case that the conditions that foster violence and the conditions that perpetuate poverty are interconnected and reinforce each other; we further show the traumatic effects of violence -- and how trauma drives both poverty and violence. We then examine how violence has been used to enforce systems of racial oppression and how communities of color are disparately impacted by violence today. The conditions that perpetuate poverty and the conditions that foster violence often...
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Dispatches From San Quentin: Is San Quentin State Prison The Future Of Prison Reform? [witnessla.com]

By James King (WLA Guest), Witness LA, October, 20, 2019 I hear it all the time. “San Quentin is unique,” “If only we could take what’s happening here and reproduce it in other prisons,” blah, blah, blah. You know what? That was kind of overdramatic. Let me start again. I have yet to meet anyone here who doesn’t think San Quentin is the best prison in the state, and possibly on the country. As a person who has been here for nearly six years, I can confirm that the opportunities at this...
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Documentary captures how a high school in a San Francisco jail heals and reduces recidivism

Sylvia Paull ·
Believe it or not, although 70 percent of the adults incarcerated in our nation’s county jails lack a high school diploma, only one jail – San Francisco County Jail #5 in San Bruno, CA – offers inmates the opportunity to earn a high...
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New film rethinking incarceration for women in Canada

Elizabeth Perry ·
A new documentary film has recently been released called Conviction. It is self-described as A COLLABORATIVE DOCUMENTARY FILM THAT ENVISIONS ALTERNATIVES TO PRISON THROUGH THE EYES OF WOMEN BEHIND BARS I've recently seen the film and highly recommend it. The content is Canadian, but no doubt the issues the women deal with are universal.
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Nine Lessons About Criminal Justice Reform [TheMarshallProject.org]

Adapted from remarks to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, San Francisco, July 17, 2017. Since November, a kind of fatalistic cloud has settled over the campaign to reform the federal criminal justice system. With a law-and-order president, a tough-on-crime attorney general, and a Congress that has become even more polarized than it was in former President Barack Obama’s time, most reform advocates say any serious fixes to the federal system are unlikely. Reformers have been consoling...
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Nonprofit Aims to Close Modern-day Debtors’ Prisons in Texas (nonprofitquarterly.org)

Debtors’ prisons aren’t legal. Authorities are not supposed to be able to lock up individuals who can’t afford to pay their fines—unless they “willfully refuse.” This is where the gray area forms, where poor people go to jail when they can’t afford the fines for minor offenses. Thousands of people are being jailed for fines they can’t afford to pay—and at least one nonprofit organization in Texas hopes to end that. The Texas Organizing Project (TOP) is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, which means it’s...
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Now Is the Time to Transform the Criminal Justice System (aspeninstitute.org)

There is a sense of renewed urgency among criminal justice reform advocates in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. As COVID-19 cases rise in jails, prisons, and detention centers, efforts have been made to release young people, older and vulnerable adults, and undocumented migrants. Advocates have encouraged policymakers to consider clemency and approve medical furloughs for those with health challenges. Among many other recommendations, they have called for the immediate release of people...
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Oprah Looks At How California’s Infamous Pelican Bay Prison Is Leading The Way In Reforming Solitary Confinement [witnessla.com]

Alicia Doktor ·
On Sunday’s 60 Minutes broadcast Oprah Winfrey reported on the use of solitary confinement in American prisons. She talked about how California is leading the way to reform of the practice, with changes in the state’s Pelican Bay Prison, which Winfrey called the most notorious state penitentiary in America. It is a story that is very much worth watching. “Designed and built as a ‘supermax’ facility,” Oprah began, referring to the 1989-constructed prison, “it’s been used for nearly 30 years...
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Past trauma causes many women to wind up in jail [thehill.com]

Alicia Doktor ·
As a trauma psychologist and researcher, I applaud the article in "The New York Times" this morning, on how providing incarcerated mothers the opportunity to interact and play with their children during visits may reduce the trauma of separation. But, as the Senate thinks about bipartisan prison reform , I urge them to take a broader trauma-informed approach. This is necessary for effective correctional management, prisoner health and successful re-entry to our communities, particularly for...
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Presentation to Philadelphia Defenders Association

Leslie Lieberman ·
On October 17th I gave a presentation to 70 + attorneys from the Defenders Association.  Several members of this group assisted me by sending me great information about ACEs and the criminal justice system for which I am grateful.  The 3...
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Programs Help Incarcerated Moms Bond With Their Babies In Prison

Melissa L. McPheeters ·
In Daidre Kimp's room, the walls are pink and white and there are family photos on a bulletin board. A stroller sits in a corner. It's early morning. Kimp grabs a diaper, a tiny shirt and pants and lifts her smiley, 8-month-old daughter, Stella, from her crib. They are getting ready for the day at the Washington Corrections Center for Women (WCCW) in Gig Harbor, about a one hour drive from Seattle. It's their home, at least until Kimp enters a work-release program next spring. She picks up...
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Putting Their Prison Pasts Behind Them (nationswell.com)

These social entrepreneurs aren't just working to reform the criminal justice system - they're a product of it too. America's criminal justice system currently housed more than 2 million people - that's more per capita than any other nation on earth. Even worse: Many are repeat offenders who haven't been offered the support or resources to get their lives back on track once released. A new initiative, backed in part by the singer John Legend, is hoping to reverse those dire statistics.
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Real Resilience is now a PODCAST

Crystal Wyatt ·
Women who support an incarcerated loved one finally has a place to share their stories on the Real Resilience P.W.L. Podcast.
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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...
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Restoring Health and Humanity to the Recently Incarcerated

Mariel Gingrich ·
“I told [my client] you are not cattle — I don’t get paid per head. You’re an individual who deserves respect…And you now have the ability to make decisions about your health care.”
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Roc Nation Invests in Company's 'Promise' to Reform Criminal Justice System [colorlines.com]

Alicia Doktor ·
Shawn “ Jay-Z ” Carter, who has promoted criminal justice reform in prose and on screen , is putting his financial weight behind a start-up company that aims to use technology to reform bail and sentencing practices. TechCrunch reported yesterday (March 19) that Roc Nation , the MC ’s management company, invested in a first round of fundraising for Promise . The company joined venture capital groups like Kapor Capital , 8VC and First Round Capital to raise a total of $3 million for the new...
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FINLAND: Healing Through Art on Death Row (worldpulse.com)

From her home in Helsinki, Maria Jain began a correspondence with a death row inmate in the US. Now, they've co-created an art exhibit that explores the need for justice reform, the potential for personal transformation, and the intricacies of healing. We talk about our lives growing up. The era was the same, the 80’s and the 90’s; the places were very different. I grew up in Finland; he grew up in Texas. I share about my difficult teenage years when I turned to self-harming. I talk about my...
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Grassroots Organizations Are Leading the Way on Criminal Justice Reform (psmag.com)

Across the country, jails are, all too often, used as holding pens for people who can't afford to pay bail. The Workhouse in St. Louis is no exception to this phenomenon. In July of 2017, almost all of the 836 inmates were awaiting trial, with only a handful having actually been convicted. Given that, historically, criminal justice reform has only rarely come from the city's prosecuting attorney , community members have taken matters into their own hands. These local-led efforts are part of...
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How Can America Reduce Mass Incarceration? [npr.org]

Alicia Doktor ·
Julian Adler, co-author of Start Here, and Judge Victoria Pratt discuss alternatives to jail, including community service, social services and even personal essays. TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. My guest Judge Victoria Pratt is known for having done her best to avoid sending people to jail by offering alternatives such as community service, social services and even writing a personal essay. She served as chief judge of Newark's municipal court and presided over...
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How solitary confinement drove a young inmate to the brink of insanity (chicagotribune.org)

With his mental state deteriorating as he sat in the crushing isolation of solitary confinement, a desperate inmate named Anthony Gay saw a temporary way out. Sometimes it came in the form of a contraband razor blade. Occasionally it was a staple from a legal document or a small shard of something he had broken. Each time he harmed himself, he knew that, at least for a little while, the extreme step would bring contact with other human beings. Therapists would rush to calm him. Nurses would...
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How The Juvenile Justice System is Failing Girls [yr.media]

By Susie Armitage, YR Media, October 16, 2019 When Bree was booked into a juvenile detention center as a teen, they were subject to a strip search. “The staff had to take off my clothes and started patting me down, touching me, and making me feel uncomfortable,” said Bree, who asked that their last name not be used for privacy reasons. As a youth advocate with the Philadelphia-based Juvenile Law Center, Bree recounted their experience of incarceration in a report. “I felt violated, like I...
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In California, Criminal Justice Reform Offers a Lesson for the Nation [nytimes.com]

Alicia Doktor ·
LOS ANGELES — A police officer is shot dead in Whittier by a gang member . A mentally ill homeless man walks into a steakhouse in Ventura and stabs a man to death in front of his family. In Bakersfield, a man angry over his divorce goes on a shooting rampage , killing his ex-wife and four others. In the aftermath of these high-profile killings, some police officers, district attorneys and politicians were quick to use them as examples to show that criminal justice reform had let dangerous...
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Inmates can't afford to communicate with their children or families - Another example of an unjust justice system

Leisa Irwin ·
In an oddly placed story, the Arts and Entertainment section of the Star Tribune in Minnesota covered the cost of phone calls for inmates after the FCC decided that it would not support caps on cost for inmates to make calls. The article starts out talking about the Netflix series, Orange is the New Black, but this issue isn't fiction, it's impacting families all over the United States. In criminal justice reform this issue could easily get lost when larger issues like mental health are so...
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Jeff Sessions Is Throwing the Brakes on Criminal Justice Reform [PSMag.com]

This summer marks nearly three years not only since the deaths of Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York, and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, but also since a major transformation began in the American criminal justice system. Police departments are increasingly implementing training regimens to combat racial bias and requiring officers to wear body cameras, with some 95 committing to do so in the future in January of 2016; district attorneys are increasingly prosecuting police officers...
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Juvenile Justice Resources

Joanna Weill ·
7 Common Characteristics of Juvenile Mental Health Courts Source: Gains Center, SAMHSA Description: Identifies seven common characteristics of Juvenile Mental Health Courts (JMHCs) as part of a National Institute of Justice – funded study,...
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Kamala Harris Unveils Justice Reform Plan Focused on Youth and Families [chronicleofsocialchange.org]

By Sara Tiano, The Chronicle of Social Change, September 9, 2019 Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris rolled out a criminal justice reform plan Monday that focused heavily on youth justice and child welfare issues. Harris’s plans aligns with several fellow Democrats on proposing reforms to the juvenile justice system, but she is the first in the crowded Democratic primary field to talk about addressing some child welfare issues. A key tenet of Harris’s plan is the creation of a...
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Kamala Harris Went to Prison So Others Won’t Have To [MotherJones.com]

Democratic up-and-comer Kamala Harris visited just about every corner of California during her successful 2016 campaign to take over Barbara Boxer’s seat in the US Senate, and she’s kept it up somewhat since taking office. But on a recent, sweltering July afternoon, I accompanied Harris to a place where no senator has set foot for at least a decade. The Central California Women’s Facility, which houses nearly 3,000 inmates, is tucked amid the farmlands of Chowchilla, about three hours from...
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Kentucky Eyed as Model for Reforming California’s Costly Bail System (timesofsandiego.com)

It's rare that a California lawmaker seeking a policy model to follow would turn to Kentucky. But with the Legislature on summer recess, that's precisely what Sen. Bob Hertzberg is doing. The mission: travel to the Bluegrass state to investigate how Kentucky gets its defendants awaiting trial to show up for court dates and keep them from committing crimes - all without locking them up. Civil rights advocates point to Kentucky as a shining example of reform, and Hertzberg, a Democrat who...
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L.A. County Considers Letting More Arrestees Go Free (laweekly.com)

It costs the taxpayers of L.A. County $177 a day to keep someone in the "largest and most costly local jail system in the United States," according to a motion by county supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Hilda Solis. About half the people in those cells are presumed innocent and awaiting trial, and according to Sheriff Jim McDonnell, most in that group can't afford bail. The proposal is similar to legislation at state and national levels that seeks to address the injustice of bail. State Sen. Bob...
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LA County opens review of bail system that hurts the poor (scpr.org)

In a move long sought by civil rights activists, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Wednesday ordered a comprehensive review of the county’s bail system. In a move long sought by civil rights activists, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Wednesday ordered a comprehensive review of the county’s bail system. “Getting out on bail correlates much more to a person’s ability to pay, than to any likelihood of appearing in court or relative risk to the safety of the public,”...
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Law Enforcement & Corrections Resources

Joanna Weill ·
Cops, Kids, and Domestic Violence Source: National Child Traumatic Stress Network Description: Law enforcement training DVD and support documents (which can be used independently). Link: Video – ...
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Lessons from Five Years of Accelerating Change [ModelsforChange.net]

National Campaign to Reform State Juvenile Justice Systems After two decades of funding cutting-edge research on adolescent behavioral and brain development and pioneering new juvenile justice practice models, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation decided to reinforce those successes with a more direct approach to promoting systemic policy reforms. The Foundation launched the National Campaign to Reform State Juvenile Justice Systems (National Campaign) in in November 2010. This...
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Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2018 [prisonpolicy.org]

Alicia Doktor ·
Can it really be true that most people in jail are being held before trial? And how much of mass incarceration is a result of the war on drugs? These questions are harder to answer than you might think, because our country’s systems of confinement are so fragmented. The various government agencies involved in the justice system collect a lot of critical data, but it is not designed to help policymakers or the public understand what’s going on. Meaningful criminal justice reform that reduces...
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Suicides in California Prisons Rise Despite Decades of Demands for Reform [sfchronicle.com]

By Jason Fagone and Megan Cassidy, San Francisco Chronicle, September 29, 2019 The suicide rate inside California prisons, long one of the highest among the nation’s largest prison systems, jumped to a new peak in 2018 and remains elevated in 2019, despite decades of effort by federal courts and psychiatric experts to fix a system they say is broken and putting lives at risk, a Chronicle investigation has found. Last year, an average of three California inmates killed themselves each month...
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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...
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Top Trends in State Criminal Justice Reform, 2019 [sentencingproject.org]

From The Sentencing Project, January 2020 The United States is a world leader in incarceration and keeps nearly 7 million persons under criminal justice supervision. More than 2.2 million are in prison or jail, while 4.6 million are monitored in the community on probation or parole. More punitive sentencing laws and policies, not increases in crime rates, have produced this high rate of incarceration. Ending mass incarceration will require changing sentencing policies and practices, scaling...
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Top Trends in State Criminal Justice Reform, 2019 [sentencingproject.org]

From The Sentencing Project, January 2020 The United States is a world leader in incarceration and keeps nearly 7 million persons under criminal justice supervision. More than 2.2 million are in prison or jail, while 4.6 million are monitored in the community on probation or parole. More punitive sentencing laws and policies, not increases in crime rates, have produced this high rate of incarceration. Ending mass incarceration will require changing sentencing policies and practices, scaling...
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Treat Historic Trauma to Rehabilitate Prisoners, Psychologists Say [belfasttelegraph.co.uk]

By Tess de la Mare, Belfast Telegraph Digital, January 2, 2020 The traumatic histories of offenders stuck in the prison system should be treated as a public health issue to break cycles of offending, psychologists working with inmates have said. But despite the often complex histories of violent offenders, in the UK’s squeezed prison system there are limited resources available for rehabilitation. Forensic psychologist Dr Naomi Murphy runs a five-year intensive psychotherapy programme for...
 
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