Idaho lawmakers were challenged by Idaho Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Burdick today to consider whether they want to continue the state’s policy of having at least one magistrate judge in each county that wants one, even as the population continues to concentrate in Ada, Canyon, Kootenai, Bonneville, Bannock and Twin Falls counties; the policy’s been in place since 1969.
Last session, the justice reinvestment legislation didn’t have bicameral support at the State House; the full Senate resoundingly passed the bills while the House of Representatives didn’t vote on the bills. While it’s still unclear what the House will do this session, the six bills that were born out of a task force appointed by Governor Gina Raimondo, will at least have some level of bipartisan support.
Proposed cuts to the state’s courts and probation system aren’t prudent and would halt progress made by changes meant to improve public safety, the chief justice of the Nebraska Supreme Court told lawmakers Tuesday.
The proposal includes limiting the amount of time parole and probation violators spend locked up and where they go. The law also would make judges who divert from sentencing guidelines more subject to appeals in which they have to explain their reasoning.
A summit is underway this week to develop ways to reduce the number of mentally ill people in county jails. Sheriffs, judges, elected officials, and mental health professionals from 53 counties are in Sacramento this week.
David Safavian, deputy director of the American Conservative Union’s Center for Criminal Justice Reform, emphasized the destructive role prison time plays on family stability. Even upon release from prison, he said, a person convicted of a felony is 50 percent less likely to get a job interview and will earn 10 to 40 percent less money.
Major reforms to the state’s Criminal Justice System could be coming under a new bill filed Tuesday.
The Washington County Jail houses inmates from Madison County, Springdale and Fayetteville, along with some state and federal inmates. New legislation is set to not only decrease the number of criminals who come through the doors, but also could give repeat offenders a hand up, not a hand out.
For months, a Criminal Justice Task Force has been meeting at the Capitol trying to fix Arkansas’ overcrowded prison system. On Wednesday, the chairman of that task force, Senator Jeremy Hutchinson, submitted legislation that he said could do just that.
Top state senators are moving forward on legislation aimed at scaling back Rhode Island’s high probation rate by stressing mental health treatment instead of incarceration.