Tuesday, September 19, 2006

News of the Day 9-19-06

Who said prisons weren't good for anything but warehousing? A joint Geo Washington U.-U of VA study found that US prisons are "major breeding grounds for Islamic terrorists," with state and jail folks too broke to stop it. Lack of well-trained Muslim chaplins is the main reason, leaving inmates, contractors, and volunteers to pick up the holy task. . . . Yet another Fed report on increasing violent crime (up 1.3% in 2005), although rape fell 2.2%. Unclear yet if aberration or trend, but we've talked before about how ominous this is for corrections and sentencing policy if history is a guide. . . . End of an era? MADD is apparently closing operations in several states, including AK, as contributions go other places, like Katrina relief. . . . In FL, the state supreme court hammered a judge with 14 admitted ethics violations, including ordering a probationer to church, jailing a woman who forgot her address, getting hunting trips from lawyers, and telling a woman in open court that she "need to close her legs and stop having babies." Living in OK right now, we suspect this judge was in OR last weekend reffing college football. . . . The redoubtable Kevin Pranis from Justice Strategies has released a report through the Justice Policy Institute finding slow progress in MD in implementing the governor's non-violent offender reentry program. Not to say MD isn't trying. Admissions to court-referred treatment 2000-2004? Up 28%. Sentences to prison? Down 7%. As always happens, though, the economic turndown took out funding for intermediate punishments first. Kevin recommends $30 m. more for FY2008 to catch the program back up. . . . In MI, local residents in two mainly African-American communities have forced closure of DOC rental homes used for offenders in the state's Prisoner ReEntry Initiative. . . . CO's prisons are so backed up, they're sending 1000 more inmates out of state, mainly to OK, which appreciates the revenue, believe me. Time for a sentencing commission? Is CO the next CA? . . . We'll close on that cheery, and scary, thought.

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