Corrections reform needs to begin by acknowledging that an individual’s humanity is not diminished by incarceration. As we talk about prison population reduction and recidivism reduction, we need to talk in terms of people – an investment in the people in our custody, in our corrections systems and in our communities.
The Arkansas Parole Board ended the fiscal year with the highest number of parole application reviews in the agency’s history, according to an annual report. The increase shown in the report illustrates a problem facing policymakers: how to handle the workload on the state’s penal system, including parole supervising agencies.
“The city will continue to lead the way by expanding existing programs and furthering our reach,” said Birmingham (AL) Mayor William Bell. “There is no such thing as a disposable person. We must take the time and make the effort to offer second chances to the thousands of people impacted by these statistics.”
Law enforcement officials, civil rights organizations and business leaders say giving former inmates a better shot at employment is good for business and society. More than 65 million people in the US have a criminal record, from low-level property crimes to violent felonies. More than 600,000 are released from prison every year. Excluding such a large group of people from the employment pool, they say, is impractical and bad for the economy, costing tens of billions of dollars annually.
Ryan said that bills reported out of the House Judiciary Committee—all of which he says he supports—are expected to get floor time this year. But he did not offer a specific time frame, saying that would be up to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who manages the schedule.
Massachusetts public and charter schools suspended kindergarten and pre-kindergarten students 603 times in the 2014-15 school year, a WBUR analysis of state data shows. Students in their first year of school were sent home for offenses that included hitting, disrupting, disrespecting, throwing things and fighting.
Conventional Senate wisdom says similar bills should be paired together for the best chance of receiving floor time. But lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have decided the country’s criminal justice system needs repair quickly. So to avoid creating an ominously large political target, elected officials are disentangling the massive topic into three separate, and highly overlapping, threads: sentencing reform, mental health and opioid addiction.
With its jails and prisons overcrowded and incarceration costs on rise, North Dakota launched an effort with a national partner aimed at curbing spending on corrections and reinvesting the savings in ways that curb recidivism and boost public safety.
After two decades of “tough on crime” policies, many states are taking a hard look at the way people are charged, how much time they serve, and what happens when they are released from prison.
“Nothing combats employment discrimination against returning citizens more than actually giving them a job and a chance to prove themselves on the job,” said Terrell Bagby, the head of reentry services for Philadelphia.