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Congressional Staff Briefing: Can Probation and Parole Supervision Reduce Recidivism?

The International Community Corrections Association (ICCA), The Sentencing Project, and the ACLU's Washington Legislative Office and National Prison Project, in collaboration with the Justice Roundtable Reentry Coalition invite you to a Congressional Staff Briefing: "Can Probation and Parole Supervision Reduce Recidivism?" hosted by Representative Bobby Scott, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security. Speakers include: Stefan LoBuglio -- Chief, Pre-Release and Reentry, Montgomery County Department of Correction and Rehabilition Pre-Release Center Cedric Hendricks, Esq. -- Associate Director, Office of Legislative, Intergovernmental and Public Affairs, Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency for the District of Columbia (CSOSA) Phil Fornaci -- Director, D.C. Prisoners' Project, Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs Speakers will discuss how well-structured probation and parole supervision programs, coupled with pre-release planning, can address the challenges and barriers to reentry faced by previously incarcerated persons. Each year 650,000 people leave prison and return to communities, many in need of comprehensive mental health care, drug treatment, welfare benefits, public housing, employment and educational training. Programs that prepare people for their life after prison and link aftercare programs and supervision can ease the reentry process and lead to reduced rates of recidivism. Programs across the country can serve as models for federal policymakers. For more information, contact Ms. Abeo F. Anderson at [email protected].
Date: 
Wed, 05/16/2007 - 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Location: 
Room 2226
Washington, DC
United States

Interfaith Drug Policy Initiative Update April 26, 2007

In this update: 1. IDPI helps attain a sentencing reform victory in Maryland 2. IDPI mobilizes 50 clergy to support a medical marijuana bill in Illinois and generates substantial media coverage 3. Troy Dayton moves on, Tyler Smith is promoted to associate director 4. You can raise $$$ for IDPI while you search the Internet! 5. Stay tuned for a forthcoming action alert about important federal legislation --------------------- IDPI helps attain a sentencing reform victory in Maryland IDPI played a crucial role in the recent passage of HB 992, establishing parole eligibility for second-time non-violent drug offenders serving mandatory minimum sentences in Maryland. Mandatory minimum sentencing laws force judges to hand out harsh sentences for drug offenders, with no option to issue a lesser sentence based on the unique circumstances of the case, such as the defendant's role in the offense, likelihood of committing a future offense, or the role of drug addiction. Offenders sentenced to a mandatory minimum are not eligible for parole. These laws have resulted in large numbers of low-level, non-violent drug offenders clogging up the court and prison systems, racially disproportionate incarceration rates, and no appreciable decline in drug problems. (See http://www.idpi.us/resources/factsheets/mm_factsheet.htm for more information.) With nearly 5,000 drug offenders in prison in Maryland, the new law will result in an unanticipated opportunity for early release for some. Working with the Partnership for Treatment Not Incarceration, an alliance of organizations concerned with criminal justice reform in Maryland, IDPI Associate Director Tyler Smith recruited and prepared the pastor of Ebenezer A.M.E. church of Fort Washington (with 15,000 members), the Rev. Dr. Grainger Browning, to testify before both the Legislative Black Caucus and the judiciary committee of the House of Delegates. IDPI also reached out to dozens of clergy and hundreds of our members in Maryland to persuade them to contact key legislators. We even got the priest of a Catholic church that the House Judiciary Committee chair sometimes attends to urge support of the bill! In the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, former prosecutor Reverend Jonathan Newton, also of Ebenezer A.M.E., testified in favor of the bill on behalf of Rev. Dr. Browning and IDPI. Under the old state law, people convicted of a second offense of selling drugs faced a mandatory minimum 10 years in prison. The new law, expected to be signed by the governor in May, will allow all but those also convicted of violent crimes to seek parole. The coalition has been working for a few years to repeal mandatory minimum drug sentencing laws in Maryland. While the new law still doesn't go far enough, it is a compromise that will help many drug offenders. We are delighted to have played an important role in getting this bill passed. Click here to see the testimony delivered to the House of Delegates. http://www.idpi.us/dpr/writings/writings_speech.htm -------------------------- 2. IDPI mobilizes 50 clergy to support a medical marijuana bill in Illinois and generates substantial media coverage IDPI did an outreach mailing to clergy in Illinois, signed by Presbyterian minister Bob Hillenbrand, asking them to sign the resolution: "Licensed medical practitioners should not be punished for recommending the medical use of marijuana to seriously ill patients, and seriously ill patients should not be subject to criminal sanctions for using marijuana if the patients' medical practitioners have told them that such use is likely to be beneficial." IDPI activist and Illinois resident Allen Penticoff was instrumental in recruiting Pastor Hillenbrand to this effort. He showed tremendous resourcefulness and initiative responding to our call for help finding a member of the clergy willing to be the original signer of our letter. Fifty religious leaders from eleven denominations responded to the mailing, urging the Illinois senate to pass SB 650 to allow seriously ill patients to use medical marijuana. We subsequently sent a letter featuring the statement signed by fifty Illinois religious leaders to all members of the state senate. Many of the clergypersons followed up by making phone calls to their senators. Then we distributed a news release and called dozens of reporters. This coalition of clergy urging compassion for medical marijuana patients has made big news in Illinois and even resulted in an article in the Los Angeles Times! Click on the link below to see the stories on our website (and the list of clergy). http://idpi.us/inthenews/inthenews_ILbig_news.htm So far, five newspaper articles have been published and one radio segment aired (on Chicago NPR) that feature or mentioned religious support for medical marijuana. The senate is expected to vote on the bill within the next few weeks. -------------------------- 3. Troy Dayton moves on to other work, Tyler Smith is promoted to associate director Troy Dayton, IDPI's associate director since November of 2003, has moved on to work as senior development officer for two allied drug policy reform groups. Troy did a magnificent job at IDPI mobilizing faith leaders to support drug policy reform and raising money for our efforts. In fact, he did such a good job at the latter that the other two organizations made him offers he couldn't refuse. We will miss Troy's presence, but we're delighted for our allies that now employ Troy. Tyler was hired as IDPI's field director in July of 2006, and now he’s the new associate director. He looks forward to strengthening and expanding IDPI's work in the religious community. --------------------------- 4. You can raise $$$ for IDPI while you search the Internet! We depend on and appreciate the financial support that you give us. Here's a way to contribute to our work that won't cost you anything! GoodSearch is a search engine which donates 50-percent of its revenue to the charities and schools designated by its users. It's a simple and compelling concept. You use GoodSearch exactly as you would any other search engine. Because it's powered by Yahoo!, you get proven search results. The money GoodSearch donates to your cause comes from its advertisers -- the users and the organizations do not spend a dime! The Goodsearch website has two bars on it, the top one is your search bar, the bottom one is where you just type in "IDPI" which tells Goodsearch which charity gets the donation. Every time you do, we get a few pennies. With thousands of our supporters and friends participating, this will add up! We urge all of our supporters to use Goodsearch as their primary web-searching site. http://www.goodsearch.com And, of course, please remember that we need regular donations, too! Please visit http://www.idpi.us and click on the "donate" button to make a contribution. --------------------------- 5. We know that you're busy and probably don't have time to read all of our messages, but if you happen to be reading this one, we urge you to be sure to read the action alert that we'll be sending in a few days. We've been calling on state and local supporters and friends in recent months to help on important projects, but now there are a couple of federal developments on which we need everyone's help. Stay tuned! All the best, Charles Thomas, executive director Interfaith Drug Policy Initiative P.O. Box 6299 Washington, DC 20015 301-270-4473 [email protected] http://www.idpi.us
Location: 
United States

LAPD skid row searches found unconstitutional

Location: 
Los Angeles, CA
United States
Publication/Source: 
Los Angeles Times
URL: 
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-downtown25apr25,0,2444457.story?coll=la-home-local

Advocates say Rockefeller drug laws remain too harsh

Location: 
Albany, NY
United States
Publication/Source: 
The Ithaca Journal (NY)
URL: 
http://www.theithacajournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070419/NEWS01/704190373/1002

The Sentencing Project Releases New Report: Changing Direction? State Sentencing Reforms 2004-2006

[Courtesy of the Sentencing Project] Dear Friend: The Sentencing Project has released a new study reporting growing momentum for sentencing reform designed to limit prison population growth and reduce ballooning corrections budgets in the United States. Changing Direction? State Sentencing Reforms 2004-2006 finds that at least 22 states have enacted sentencing reforms in the past three years. The report further identifies that the most popular approach for reducing prison crowding -- implemented by 13 states -- was the diversion of low-level drug offenders from prison to drug treatment programs. Additional policy changes included: -Expansion of alternatives to incarceration for non-violent offenders. -Parole and probation reforms designed either to reduce time served in prison or to provide supervision options to reduce the number of revocations to prison. -Broader sentencing reform, such as modifying controversial mandatory minimum sentencing laws. Changing Direction? State Sentencing Reforms 2004-2006 argues that in order to build on these positive legislative developments, lawmakers must continue to enact evidence-based criminal justice policies. Recommendations of The Sentencing Project urge that policymakers: -Expand the use of drug treatment as a sentencing option. -Utilize intermediate sanctions for technical violations of parole and probation. -Repeal mandatory minimum sentences. -Reconsider sentence lengths. Follow this link to download a copy of the report, http://sentencingproject.org/Admin/Documents/publications/sentencingrefo... The Sentencing Project 514 10th St, NW Suite 1000 Washington, DC 20004
Location: 
Washington, DC
United States

Seven Million -- and Counting

The Bureau of Justice Statistics annual report on use of the criminal justice system has come out, and there is landmark grim news: There are now seven million people under criminal justice control -- in prison or jail, on probation, or or parole -- in the United States. I am having trouble finding a link to the report -- maybe it's not posted yet -- but Phil will be covering this in Drug War Chronicle tonight. So check back for more details on the bad news...
Location: 
United States

The new Congress has huge implications for FedCURE and its two legislative initiatives

The new Congress has huge implications for FedCURE and its two legislative initiatives: H.R. 3072 (Federal Parole) and H.R. 1704/S.1934 (The Second Chance Act). As you may know, FedCURE authored H.R. 3072 and its predecessor H.R 4036. H.R. 3072 is a bill to revive the system of parole for Federal prisoners and is our champion cause. The bill has been stuck in committee in the 109th Congress and we anticipate having to reintroduce the bill in the 110th Congress. However, H.R. 1704/S. 1934, a bill we also strongly advocate in favor of, has bipartisan support and has already cleared the House Judiciary committee and the likelihood of the Second Chance Act’s passage during the upcoming "lame-duck" session remains promising in the Senate. But even if does fail, its broad bipartisan support will likely continue in the 110th Congress, hopefully carrying it towards final passage. FedCURE works closely with Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-Ill), who is the key-sponsor of both of these bills. Many Democratic members of Congress who sponsor FedCURE and with whom FedCURE works with were re-elected and will assume powerful leadership positions when Congress reconvenes in January. For example: Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) a FedCURE sponsor and cosponsor of H.R. 3072 and H.R. 1704, will become Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, replacing sentencing reform foe Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), who opposed reinstating federal parole and orchestrated attacks on judicial discretion and sponsored the egregious "Booker-fix" bill, among many other costly and punitive sentencing bills. You can bet when the federal parole bill is reintroduced to the 110th Congress that he will mark it up for hearings. Rep. Robert "Bobby" Scott (D-Va.), another FedCURE sponsor and cosponsor of H.R. 3072 and H.R. 1704 will become Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, which is the committee where sentencing bills begin. The positive relationships FedCURE has built with Republican lawmakers like Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.) and Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who were re-elected, will also continue. And, of course, we will keep reaching out to more Republicans to build a broad consensus for sentencing reform, which is still necessary to win reforms. In a resolution dated 16 August 2006, the American Correctional Association strongly urged Congress to reinstate and fully fund a system of parole for Federal prisoners: ACA Resolution on the Reinstatement of a System of Parole For Federal Prisoners. FedCURE's lifetime member and PBS film producer and Soros Justice Media Fellowship candidate, Allan Mason and BNN (Broadcast News Network), is documenting these activities for inclusion in the production of a one-hour special news documentary film titled, The CURE: America's ailing federal criminal justice system (suitable for Frontline, NOW, or an independent special report for the Public Broadcasting System and their affiliates), examining the ailing federal criminal justice system in the United States and the impact of two pieces of proposed federal legislation that would reduce federal prisons sentences and provide for tax payer relief by enacting smart legislation that would revive the system of parole for federal prisoners; and reduce run-a-way recidivism rates by enacting smart legislation such as "The Second Chance Act," reauthorizing the grant program of the Department of Justice for re-entry of offenders into the community, to establish a task force on Federal programs and activities relating to the re-entry of offenders into the community, and for other purposes. See H.R. 3072, H.R. 1704 and S. 1934, respectively. FedCURE needs your support and for you to be informed in these matters. The 110th Congress could mean big changes for federal criminal justice. We need you to be engaged in this process with us. Please Donate and Join Now: http://www.fedcure.org/join.shtml. FedCURE P.O. Box 15667 Plantation, Florida 33318-5667 USA
Location: 
United States

Rhode Islanders Endorse Post-Prison Voting Rights

November 8, 2006 Rhode Islanders Endorse Post-Prison Voting Rights On Election Day, voters in Rhode Island approved Question 2, a measure that removes the ban on voting for people under felony probation and parole supervision. The referendum had been placed on the ballot by the state legislature and received broad support in the state, including from the Providence police chief, the secretary of state, and a host of civil rights and community-based organizations. Rhode Island now joins New England states such as Massachusetts and New Hampshire in automatically restoring voting rights upon release from prison. Sol Rodriguez, executive director of the Family Life Center, which led the campaign, commented that “Voters have spoken for a stronger democracy in Rhode Island, one that includes the voices of all people who are living in our communities, working, paying taxes and supporting their families.” Contact Information: [email protected] web: http://www.sentencingproject.org
Location: 
United States

Dwight Gooden is Released From Prison After Seven Months

Location: 
Gainesville, FL
United States
Publication/Source: 
Bloomberg News
URL: 
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601079&sid=aOFpK9qjIY64&refer=home

Canada: Supreme Court Rejects Random Drug Tests of Probationers

In a ruling last week, the Canadian Supreme Court held that the country's Criminal Code does not allow judges to require offenders on probation to submit to drug tests or other demands for a sample of bodily substances. The ruling came in the case of Harjit Singh Shoker, who in 2003 climbed naked into bed with an RCMP officer's wife with rape on his mind in the midst of a methamphetamine binge.

Shoker was convicted of breaking and entering with the intent to commit sexual assault and was sentenced to 20 months in prison and two years probation. His sentencing judge including as conditions of his probation that he must undergo drug treatment, abstain from using alcohol and drugs, and undergo drug tests on demand. He appealed those conditions of his sentence.

In 2004, the British Columbia Court of Appeals ruled that the trial judge had no authority to order Shoker into treatment without his consent, nor did he have the authority to demand that Shoker submit to drug tests. Since then BC judges have continued to order probationers to avoid drugs and alcohol, but have foregone what had been an almost automatic companion order to submit to drug testing.

The BC Crown Prosecutors Office did not challenge the drug treatment ruling, but did appeal the ruling on drug testing -- even though the province had eliminated funding for the drug testing program in 2003. But BC prosecutors got no solace from the Supreme Court.

Justice Louise Charron, who authored the ruling, called drug testing so "highly intrusive" that it required "stringent standards and safeguards to meet constitutional requirements." Parliament could craft such standards, making a drug testing requirement legal, she noted. "There is no question that a probationer has a lowered expectation of privacy," Charron wrote. "However, it is up to Parliament, not the courts, to balance the probationers' charter rights as against society's interest in effectively monitoring their conduct."

If Parliament wants judges to be able to impose drug testing as a condition of probation, it must address the issue and not leave it to the whim of individual judges. "The establishment of these standards and safeguards cannot be left to the discretion of the sentencing judge in individual cases," Charron wrote. "Those are precisely the kinds of policy decisions for Parliament to make having regard to the limitations contained in the charter."

What a difference a border makes! On the US side, coerced drug treatment and drug testing is the norm. On the Canadian side, it's unconstitutional, at least the way they tried it.

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