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JPI Spring 2013 Newsletter: First Quarter Successes, Transitions

In this issue:

Peter Leone, Ph.D., Acting Director

New Year, New Research

JPI at Forefront of School Police Debate

Stanford University Students Spend Spring Break with JPI

Maryland Gains, Child Support Forum

Mistakes Kids Make: Join the Campaign

Peter Leone, Ph.D., Acting Director

As JPI nears welcoming a new executive director to its staff, our Board of Directors' Chair, Dr. Peter Leone joined the staff as acting executive director in February while on sabbatical from the University of Maryland, College Park. He has been a member of JPI's Board for eight years and served as Chair for two years. As Acting Director, he oversees JPI's operations and provides oversight, as well as leadership and stability. Along with his duties with JPI, Dr. Leone is a professor in the Department of Counseling, Higher Education and Special Education in the College of Education. He has been involved with juvenile and adults corrections through research, evaluation, and monitoring activities in more than 25 states.

 

When in his office, JPI staff often get an earful of Simon and Garfunkel or a humorous tale about Peter's Iowa roots and travels around the globe

New Year, New Research
2013 is another exciting year for JPI.

A Blueprint for Juvenile Justice in Washington, D.C. 
JPI's "A Blueprint for Juvenile Justice
in Washington, D.C."
We have released our fourth and final brief in our D.C. youth public safety series examining how investments in D.C.'s child welfare system can help improve public safety and positive life outcomes for the District's youth. Read Fostering Change: How Investing in D.C.'s Youth Can Keep Kids Out of the Prison Pipeline. The report caught the eye of the Washington, DC City Council where co-author of the report, Paul D. Ashton offered testimony last week and was featured on Washington's WPFW 89.3 FM.
JPI at Forefront of School Police Debate
In the wake of the Newtown, CT, shootings, JPI has remained a source of information regarding school safety, particularly around the issue of efforts to deploy more police in schools. With such an emotionally charged topic, we recognize the need for rational and data-driven research. On December 22, 2012 we released Measured Responses: Why increasing law enforcement in schools is not an effective public safety response to the Newtown tragedy, a fact sheet that referenced our previous research, reemphasizing why increased police presence in schools has more pitfalls than benefits. We have also released collateral pieces to this story, including blogs on popular progressive site, www.christweigant.com, and a letter to the editor in the Washington Post, penned by Acting Executive Director, Dr. Peter Leone. Additionally, we continue to keep abreast of this issue and developments within the juvenile justice field, in part through participation in the National Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Coalition's Newtown Response Group meetings and listserv.
Stanford University Students Spend Spring Break with JPI
For 10 weeks, about 15 Stanford have studied injustice in the criminal justice system in preparation for their alternative spring break trip to the nation's capital to meet with numerous criminal justice reform organizations, including the Justice Policy Institute. The students met with Grants and Research Coordinator Paul D. Ashton and Director of Communications Zerline Hughes at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church for a robust discussion on U.S. criminal justice policies and procedures that have led to over incarceration over the last 20 years including the confluence of education and poverty. 
Maryland Gains, Child Support Forum
Victory in Maryland

One of our defining issues through the Greater Baltimore Grassroots Criminal Justice Network in Maryland has been to work on policy reforms that remove barriers to reentry for returning citizens; particularly as they pertain to employment and housing. Last year, JPI lead a huge victory in Baltimore by working with the mayor's office to have an extremely damaging provision removed that would have prohibited individuals with criminal records from working under city awarded contracts. Not only did the city work with us to have the language removed, but they included new language to encourage contractors who bid on those contracts to actively consider individuals with criminal records. 

 

This year, JPI and the Job Opportunity Task Force scored another big victory for returning citizens as the governor just signed into law legislation to "Ban the Box" on state job applications in Maryland.  

The law gives individuals with records a chance to get their foot in the door and be judged on their merit rather than automatically having their application dismissed because of a check box signifying that they had a felony conviction. Prospective employers, however, may still ask for felony disclosure during the interview phase.    

 

Legislative Efforts in Annapolis  

During this quarter, JPI has supported legislative efforts in Annapolis to remove barriers to employment and housing for individuals with criminal records. JPI supported HB1006/SB 701 to shield criminal records of Marylanders with nonviolent convictions. As research has shown that recidivism declines steadily over time, the proposed legislation would make certain nonviolent convictions eligible for shielding after a certain amount of time while still allowing law enforcement access to the records. 

JPI also supported SB 282/HB 1053, a casino hiring bill aimed at ensuring Maryland residents have job opportunities at planned casino centers. The issue is that current law prohibits the hiring of any prospective employee who has in the past been convicted of a crime of moral turpitude. The proposed legislation would prohibit the Maryland gaming commission from not hiring someone charged with moral turpitude conviction after five years of their conviction. 

 

Child Support Forum May 22, 2013
JPI is leading the Greater Baltimore Grassroots Criminal Justice Network in hosting a child support forum aimed at assisting returning individuals who owe arrearages. The forum will be held at Coppin State University on May 22, and is designed to help educate returning citizens on Maryland child support laws and provide resources from agencies and organizations with child support enforcement jurisdiction. 

Child support is one of the most debilitating collateral consequences of involvement in the Maryland justice system creating a situation that forces many returning noncustodial parents into an underground workforce that puts them back on course with the justice system.
Mistakes Kids Make: Join the Campaign
JPI is part of the Mistakes Kids Make national campaign to help increase public awareness about the need for more comprehensive policy that supports better outcomes for justice-involved youth. The campaign uses video, storytelling and public surveying to make the point that mistakes we make as kids should not ruin our lives or that of our families.

All Kids Make Mistakes
All Kids Make Mistakes


One goal of the campaign is to further the understanding that children are developmentally different from adults. Children who commit crimes still need and deserve the support and services to help them make better decisions in the future and addresses the root cause(s) of their transgression.Take the pledge to take a stand for better local and state level support for kids involved in our justice systems.
Incarceration Generation: Author Spotlight
In the designer's hands as you read this, "Incarceration Generation," our look at two decades of criminal justice reform work is set to come out soon with a forward by author Michelle Alexander.

With your tax-deductible donation of $50 or more, you will receive a copy of this book of essays written by and highlighting the work of organizations including the Open Society Foundations,
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, and the Detention Watch Network.

Emily Tucker, director of Policy and Advocacy for Detention Watch Network contributed an essay on immigration. She felt called to work on issues of social justice after her first career as a professional dancer. She has seen many friends and loved ones hurt by harsh immigration and criminal justice policies. For two and a half years, Emily has helped bring the voices of the coalition's 200 members to the national policy conversation. She is particularly concerned about the way the criminal justice system is being used to pull immigrants into detention and deportation. She most appreciates being part of a community of inspiring people who strive for a better world.

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