Probation or Parole

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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.

Sentencing: California Governor Signs Bill To Shorten Parole for Offenders Who Take Drug Treatment

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) quietly signed a bill Saturday that will allow nonviolent offenders to get off parole early if they complete an intensive drug treatment program. Under the new law, parolees who wish to participate will be sent directly to a five-month residential treatment program. Upon graduation, they will get off parole.

The new law will take effect in January. Only nonviolent offenders will be eligible, and they must have completed at least six months of drug treatment while in prison.

Post-release parole has proven onerous for many offenders. According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, 47% of parolees are returned to prison as parole violators. These are people who committed administrative infractions -- failing to notify the parole officer of a new address or new job, coming up positive on a drug test -- not new criminal offenses. An additional 15% of parolees are returned to prison on new criminal charges. There are currently more than 116,000 people on parole in California.

Sponsored by state Sen. Jackie Speier (D-Hillsborough), the bill won the support of a variety of groups, including the powerful prison guards union. "Parolees who demonstrate that level of commitment to treatment deserve recognition for their effort, union spokesman Lance Corcoran told the Los Angeles Times Wednesday. "It's a concept worth supporting," he said. "The only question is how they are going to come up with enough drug treatment beds for everybody who qualifies.

Sen. Speier told the Times she sponsored the measure because about three-quarters of the state's 172,000 inmates have drug or alcohol issues. "If we can help them conquer their addictions and get them off this treadmill of returning to prison, we'll save the taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars," Speier said.

Now the question is where the money is going to come from. The state will save $4,340 per year for each ex-convict it doesn't have to supervise. The bill signed this week does not earmark any funds for expanded treatment, but Speier suggested the savings on parole costs could pay for new beds.

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