Tag Archives: sentencing

Dramatic Shift In U.S. Prison Populations

From the article: ““For the first time in nearly 40 years, we saw a sharp decline in the number of African Americans in prison – particularly women. We saw a steep rise in the number of white women going to prison, and among Hispanics we saw we saw a rise among women and a slight decline among men. Given the past 40 years of the exploding prison population, this is the first time we’ve seen a shift like this.”

Read more here.

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Oregon prison puzzle: Cut costs but keep public safe

From the article: “State forecasters say a growing population and tougher sentencing measures will add 2,300 people to Oregon’s inmate count in the next decade. Changing that, the data suggest, will require backing off on sentences, sparing more people from prison, and spending more to keep offenders from committing new crimes.”  Read more here.

Well, Oregonians, sounds like you’re gearing up to follow CA and OH’s lead to pass legislation to keep nonviolent felons out of prison, just be prepared for the judicial backlash.

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CA: State’s prison overhaul changes sentencing structures but leaves judges with little discretion

This is very similar to the situation in Ohio.  The prisons are overcrowded, after years of dickering the legislature passes legislation to keep lower level offenders out of prison, and then there is backlash due to the infringement on judicial discretion.  Read more on CA here.

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California may lead prison-reform trend, ease ‘3 strikes’

Similar to other states, budget crunches and the high cost of corrections are leading legislators and voters to reconsider tough sentencing structures that have packed CA’s prisons beyond capacity.

Read the article here.

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Fewer Ohio inmates, but judges want law fixed

It took years to get the criminal sentencing reform law passed in Ohio, but a year after its enactment, judges are complaining that they do not have sufficient discretion in sentencing.  HB 86, Ohio’s sentencing reform or prison reform bill, as it is alternatively called, essentially attempted to keep lower level non-violent felons out of prisons and retained in communities.  It also provided mechanisms for early release if an inmate was involved in evidence-based programming.  The bill passed after years of partisan bickering and only after the Council of State Governments came in to study Ohio’s system and provide research-based recommendations.

The bill has had its intended effect in that the prison population has been dropping – down to its lowest level since 2007.  Yet the legislation has faced pushback since it passed, as the judicial community has felt that the bill has tied its hands in giving prison time where a judge may feel it is warranted, regardless of community alternatives or a first time offense.

Read more here.

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Justice Secretary ditches Ken Clarke’s plan to cut jail numbers

From the article: “In his first appearance before MPs as Justice Secretary, Mr Grayling took a far harder line on law and order than his predecessor.”

“He told the Commons: ‘The only changes I want to see to the prison population will come through returning more foreign national prisoners to their countries of origin.’”

Read more here.

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Tenn. prison stays shorter than most states

From the article: “Tennessee prisoners serve some of the shortest terms in the nation, according to a new study.

A report by the Pew Center on the States found that on average a Tennessee prison sentence lasts 1.9 years. That’s about a year shorter than the national average.”

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Felons not getting treatment, despite prison overhaul

“The overhaul of California’s criminal justice system last year was billed as a way to get more felons into treatment and out of the vicious cycle of crime, prison and more crime.

So far, this has hardly been the case.”

Read more here.
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Texas may reconsider sending prostitutes to prison

“Texas may be forced to reconsider a state law that allows prosecutors to charge prostitutes with a felony and send them to prison after three misdemeanor convictions.”

Read more here.
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Federal Prisons Busting at the Seams: Sentencing Commission Should Prioritize Growing Prison Population

“The U.S. Sentencing Commission is in the process of determining the issues that it will prioritize 2013. The commission embarks on this process every year and invites the public to suggest what it thinks the commission should concentrate its efforts on for the upcoming year.”

Read more: http://www.aclu.org/blog/criminal-law-reform/federal-prisons-busting-seams-sentencing-commission-should-prioritize

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