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The Future of Prison Reform in Florida

Republican State Senator Jeff Brandes of St. Petersburg recently filed Senate Bill 642, the “Florida First Step Act,” which would allow judges to depart from mandatory minimums for drug trafficking charges. It also calls for allowing inmates to earn more time off of their sentences if they earn a diploma or participate in an entrepreneurship program.

Cummings and Other Lawmakers Press to Eliminate Job Discrimination against Former Felons

Formerly incarcerated people could have more success securing employment under bipartisan legislation that would bar federal employers from asking for applicants’ criminal histories before conditional job offers. Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-Baltimore) and Doug Collins (R-Georgia) joined with Sens. Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) and Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) to propose the Fair Chance Act, an attempt to decrease rates of recidivism by helping people secure jobs.

For the Mentally Troubled, a Pennsylvania Jail Offers ‘High-Visibility’ Cells

Ashley Adams, the nursing director for Pennsylvania’s Butler County jail, hopes that ultimately people with serious mental health problems have some place other to go other than jails, noting that she is part of a countywide committee involved in “Stepping Up,” a national organization devoted to reducing the number of mentally ill people being put in jail.

Lafayette Parish Receives $750,000 Mental Health Grant

The grant continues established partnerships among the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office, Lafayette Police Department, Acadiana Area Human Services District, Beacon Community Connections Inc., and 232-HELP.