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Showing posts from September, 2018
Too Big to Jail: Letting White Collar Criminals Off the Hook
"Allowing major corporate wrongdoers to escape criminal penalties by using heavy fines or deferred prosecution agreements makes it harder to deter financial crime and creates 'disturbingly high' rates of repeated white-collar fraud, according to a forthcoming paper in the Yale Law Review.

It also reduces public confidence by creating 'a popular narrative that prosecutors permit (financial) managers to buy their way out of trouble.' wrote Nick Werle of Yale Law School.

The paper, entitle 'Prosecuting Corporate Crime When Firms Are Too Big to Jail,' suggests that the belief that some firms are so critical to the economic system that 'the government cannot credibly threaten them' with criminal sanctions has given those large corporations in turn little incentive to curtail crimes such as fraud, bribery, environmental safety offenses, antitrust violations, and money laundering....

the paper c…
The Incalculable Costs of Mass Incarceration
"Every year states spend about $50 billion to lock up over 1.3 million people, or about $35,000 per prisoner per year. Although individual state averages obviously vary, statistics like these suggest that even small cuts in prison populations could yield significant fiscal returns, and big cuts something massive. The Brennan Center, for example, recently argued that releasing 576,000 low-risk inmates could save $20 billion per year (which is just $35,000 times 576,000—a calculation others make as well).
But this is the wrong way to think about prisoners and costs. Measuring costs this way both significantly overstates what we fiscally save with each person we divert from prison while simultaneously understating the social costs that such a diversion avoids. Fiscal savings don’t come from reducing inmate populations—they come from reducing staffing. And the social costs of prisons and jails have little to do with budgets and fa…
Could Yoga Save Prisoners from a Life of Crime?
"Locked up in a tiny cell in Wayland prison, in Norfolk, detoxing from heroin and methadone, Mike Smith found that bending and breathing his way through a yoga meditation could give him up to three hours without any withdrawal symptoms – even with other inmates hammering on the door yelling 'You’re mental' at him....

Smith’s certainty about the power of yoga to change his own life is backed by two Swedish studies that found it may reduce reoffending. The new study, led by Professor Nóra Kerekes at University West, Trollhätten, in Sweden, and published last week in Frontiers in Psychiatry, found that 10 weeks of regular yoga can lead to a significant reduction in obsessive-compulsive and paranoid thinking, which in turn, say researchers, can make reoffending less likely. This effect is specific to yoga, and not to exercise in general, they found. It can also lead to a decrease in 'somaticisation' (mental d…
This Tool Shows Exactly how to Reduce a State's Prison Population
"In the conversation around lowering the prison population in the United States–which incarcerates people at the highest rate in the world–one solution always floats to the top: decriminalizing drugs. In the U.S., police arrest around 1.5 million people per year on drug offenses, 80% of whom are detained for possession alone. Rolling back penalties for drug-related activities would allow the money saved on incarcerating people to instead go toward rehabilitation programs and mental health assistance, which have shown to be drastically more effective at addressing root causes of drug use than putting someone in a cage. But would drug decriminalization substantially reduce the overall prison population? The question is more complicated than it seems when accounting for the radically different ways individual states incarcerate people....

To help policymakers at the state level understand the various le…
Data on Inmates in Ontario Being Made Available to the Public
"The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services has conducted a series of point-in-time reviews which includes inmates in segregation who have possible mental health conditions. The first two reviews examined whether and when various standard procedures such as mental health screening, physician referrals, and mental health reassessments, occurred for the identified inmates. The ministry also committed to doing a further review of screening for mental health with inmates who were segregated, at six facilities chosen by the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC)."

Smart, Safe, and Fair: Strategies to Prevent Youth Violence, Heal Victims of Crime, and Reduce Racial Inequality
"The justice system treats youth charged with violent offenses in ways that are unnecessarily expensive, ineffective and unjust.  Although the research is clear that many youth convicted of a violent crime are best treated in a community-based setting, our default response to youth violence is still confinement. In Smart, Safe, and Fair, the Justice Policy Institute (JPI) and the National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC) spoke with members of the victims’ community to further examine the barriers to treating youth involved in violent crime in the community, and to gauge their support for these proposed reforms.

The crime victims we spoke with were consistent in their support for a change from a status quo they see as costly, ineffective, and damaging to youth and their families—all while failing to meet the needs of crime victims themselves. Instead, they …
Getting to Zero Juveniles in Adult Jail is Halfway Home with a Long Way to Go
"A new report finds that while juveniles housed in adult jails have dropped more than 50 percent from a recent peak of 7,600 on a single day in 2010, there are still at least 32,000 — and as many as 60,000 by some measures — youths entering adult jails each year. 

The report from UCLA Law School, 'Getting to Zero,' offers a mix of optimism and alarm: Several states have moved in the last few years to limit sharply the number of youth in adult jails, among them New York, California and North Carolina, but the risks to those who are in adult jails remain shockingly high. Youth under 18 in adult jails are 36 times more likely to commit suicide than youth in juvenile detention — and more than 400 percent more likely to be sexually abused than those in juvenile facilities"

Sharing the Costs of Cannabis in Canada
Cannabis use creates direct costs for governments, especially in the areas of health care and criminal justice. New analysis from the Mowat Centre shows that following legalization, there is a real risk that overall costs could increase. That risk will be borne disproportionately by provincial, territorial and municipal governments. The way cannabis-related tax revenues are shared between governments should reflect this reality.

Prior to legalization, provincial, territorial and municipal governments are estimated to have shouldered just over 70 per cent of the over $800 million in annual costs related to cannabis. Legalization will doubtless lead to lower costs in certain areas. Changes to possession laws alone should lead to a considerably reduced burden on the justice sector. 

At the same time, there is a real risk that overall costs to government will increase post-legalization, primarily due to the impact of cannabis-impaired driv…
It Can be Stopped: A Proven Blueprint to Stop Gang Violence in London and Beyond
"In the near-decade since Dying to Belong was published in 2009, gangs have remained a part of life in Britain. At the time, we estimated there were 50,000 gang members across Britain, today that number is estimated to be closer to 70,000.
In London, the focus of this report, the police estimate that there are up to 250 gangs and 4,500 members. While gangs are not responsible for all serious violence, they commit far more than their fair share. It is estimated that gangs are responsible for as much as half of all knife crime with injury, 60 per cent of shootings, and 29 per cent of reported child sexual exploitation....
Based on extensive polling, statistical evidence, and case studies of outstanding practice, this paper proposes a new system that would focus on both law enforcement and community support."
Link to Full Report
Here's Who Stands to Gain from a Radical Policing Approach in Canada
"A Canadian alliance of police, academics, corporations and entrepreneurs is promoting a controversial pre-crime policing model, with key players in the movement poised to gain financially from the policies they’re advocating for.

The first concerns about conflicts of interest related to the so-called "Hub model" were raised in 2016 by an RCMP commander who resigned from an organization that was established to promote it.

Now a VICE News investigation has outlined potential conflicts surrounding the people and organizations encouraging communities to adopt the Hub model — conflicts that experts in ethics and public policy say suggest a lack of accountability in the burgeoning field."

Police Militarization Fails to Protect Officers and Targets Black Communities, Study Finds
"Police militarization neither reduces rates of violent crime nor changes the number of officers assaulted or killed, according to a study of 9,000 law enforcement agencies in the U.S. The study is arguably the nation’s first systematic analysis on the use and consequences of militarized force.

In at least one state — Maryland — police are more likely to deploy militarized units in black neighborhoods, confirming a suspicion long held by critics, the study found.

The study found that merely seeing militarized units can erode public confidence in law enforcement and give off the impression that a police department is overfunded.  Many police leaders view their SWAT teams and other militarized units as a necessity for police and public safety, especially for 'high-risk' hostage situations or active shooters. Between 1997 to 2014, the Department of Defense transferred $4.3 bil…