Two of the nation’s largest jails — Rikers Island in New York and the county jail in Los Angeles — have agreed to operate under federal oversight, in part because of mistreatment of the mentally ill. Cook County Jail here in Chicago is already under such oversight and has become a model of sorts for other troubled institutions in how to deal with the mentally ill. It recently hosted delegations from Rikers Island and Los Angeles County.
Appearing in this episode of Smart Talk are Patriot-News/PennLive reporter Daniel Simmons-Ritchie, and Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Corrections John Wetzel.
Three state agencies in Ohio are aggressively pushing to get the majority of the roughly 21,000 people who are released from prison every year enrolled in Medicaid up to 90 days before they walk out the door. Services don’t begin until they are released, unless they are hospitalized.
How to best discipline children in school so they behave has become heated debate in Oklahoma City. In an effort to reduce suspensions, Superintendent Rob Neu thinks OKC public schools needs a new student code of conduct policy; one that may include interventions for students.
The grim reality is that jails have high suicide rates — higher than prisons. Part of the reason, says corrections expert and consultant Steve J. Martin, is what he calls the “shock of confinement.” Jails often house people who’ve never been in serious legal trouble before, and it can have a traumatic effect on them.
Decades of runaway prison costs and an entrenched cycle of recidivism have forced a nationwide shift—particularly in states like Texas and Alabama—from a “tough-on-crime” era to data-driven “smart-on-crime” approaches.
Rhode Island has the nation’s third-highest probation rate. And in Providence, 1 out of every 11 men is on probation. Meanwhile, two-thirds of prison sentences are for “low-severity crimes” (drug or property crimes, as opposed to violent or sex crimes). And unless something is done, the state prison population is expected to grow by 12 percent over the next decade.
Following the release of a report ranking Tennessee 36th in overall child well-being, Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris called on his legislative colleagues and the Haslam Administration to focus more effectively on the needs of the state’s youth.
Based on an analysis of data from county and state prisons, PennLive estimates that nearly a third of Pennsylvania’s 87,756 inmates had a mental illness on an average day last year.It begs the question: Why are so many of the state’s mentally ill being locked up?
One in five students in the Rochester City School District was suspended in 2012 – sometimes for petty behavior, according to the District. But changes to the code of conduct could be on the way, and could change what sends children home.