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Prosecution and Public Defense: The Prosecutor's Role in Securing a Meaningful Right to an Attorney

Prosecution and Public Defense: The Prosecutor's Role in Securing a Meaningful Right to an Attorney
"Public defenders have faced mounting caseloads and declining budgets for years. While well documented in court cases and research reports, this crisis has yet to be remedied through adequate funding or policy and practice change. The insufficient time and resources that public defenders have undermines representation for, and the life and liberty of, their clients.

All legal stakeholders should be concerned with the state of indigent defense and its implications for constitutional protections, equality under the law, and justice. In our adversarial system, prosecutors, in particular, have a role to play in securing a meaningful right to an attorney.

Today there is unprecedented focus on the power of the prosecutor. With discretion to charge, recommend bail, and condition pleas, prosecutors are amongst the most powerful stakeholders in the
criminal justice system. As communitie…
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Report on Algorithmic Risk Assessment Tools in the U.S. Criminal Justice System

Report on Algorithmic Risk Assessment Tools in the U.S. Criminal Justice System
"This report documents the serious shortcomings of risk assessment tools in the U.S. criminal justice system, most particularly in the context of pretrial detentions, though many of our observations also apply to their uses for other purposes such as probation and sentencing. Several jurisdictions have already passed legislation mandating the use of these tools, despite numerous deeply concerning problems and limitations. Gathering the views of the artificial intelligence and machine learning research community, PAI has outlined ten largely unfulfilled requirements that jurisdictions should weigh heavily and address before further use of risk assessment tools in the criminal justice system."

Do Minimum Wage Increases Raise Crime Rates?

Do Minimum Wage Increases Raise Crime Rates?
"They do for younger workers and property crimes, finds a new paper by Zachary S. Fone, Joseph J. Sabia and Resul Cesur.

Back in 2016, President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) claimed raising the minimum wage to $12 per hour could prevent up to half a million crimes annually. The basic idea was simple: there is good evidence criminal behavior is negatively related to wages. The CEA thought raising the minimum wage would raise the opportunity cost of low-paid workers engaging in crime.

Implicitly they were saying this crime-reduction effect would dominate any impact of job losses or hour reductions leading to more property crime, for economic reasons, or violent crime, for despair-related reasons. But this new paper suggests the CEA’s intuition on the balance of the effects was wrong, for younger workers especially."

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Income-Based Fines Could Reduce Justice Debts for the Poor: Study

Income-Based Fines Could Reduce Justice Debts for the Poor: Study
"Some 300,000 Americans owed nearly $136 billion in criminal debt in 2017, the last year for which data is available, according to a study sponsored by the Brookings Institute.

An astonishing 90 percent of that debt is categorized as unrecoverable by the federal government, said the study authored by Prof. Beth A. Colgan of the UCLA School of Law.

But in the process, the escalating court fees and fines often end up locking low-income individuals behind bars in the modern equivalent of “debtors’ prisons” when they can’t pay, Colgan wrote.

In her study, sponsored by the Hamilton Project of Brookings, Colgan proposed a system of “graduated sanctions” that would be levied according to a person’s ability to pay."

Link to Full Report

New Report: Postsecondary Education In Prison Increases Employment Among Formerly Incarcerated, Cuts Costs & Benefits Businesses

New Report: Postsecondary Education In Prison Increases Employment Among Formerly Incarcerated, Cuts Costs & Benefits Businesses
"The Vera Institute of Justice and the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality today released a new report, “Investing in Futures: Economic and Fiscal Benefits of Postsecondary Education in Prison.” The first of its kind report found that removing the federal ban on Pell Grants for people in prison would:

Increase employment rates among formerly incarcerated students by 10 percent, on average; combined earnings among all formerly incarcerated people would increase by $45.3 million during the first year of release alone; Provide employers with a larger pool of skilled workers to hire; and Reduce recidivism rates among participating students, saving states a combined $365.8 million in decreased prison costs per year.Link to Full Report