JPI Daily News Digest for 10/30/12
National: Marijuana Arrests Account for Half of All Drug Arrests (Opposing Views)
Police made 757,969 arrests in 2011 for marijuana-related offenses, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s annual Uniform Crime Report, released today. The total is a decrease from past years. During the years 2006 to 2010, police annually made over 800,000 arrests for cannabis violations. According to the report, marijuana arrests now comprise one-half of all illicit drug arrests in the United States. Approximately 43 percent of all drug violations are for cannabis possession.
National: How Mandatory Minimums Forced Me to Send More Than 1,000 Nonviolent Drug Offenders to Federal Prison (The Nation)
Growing up in blue collar Circle Pines, Minnesota, in the 1950s, raised by parents from the “Greatest Generation,” I dreamed only of becoming a civil rights lawyer. My passion for justice was hard-wired into my DNA. Never could I have imagined that by the end of my 50s, after nineteen years as one of 678 federal district court judges in the nation, I would have sent 1,092 of my fellow citizens to federal prison for mandatory minimum sentences ranging from sixty months to life without the possibility of release. The majority of these women, men and young adults are nonviolent drug addicts. Methamphetamine is their drug of choice. Crack cocaine is a distant second. Drug kingpins? Oh yes, I’ve sentenced them, too. But I can count them on one hand. While I’m extremely proud of my father’s service in World War II, I am greatly conflicted about my role in the “war on drugs.”
CA: [Photos] Bursting at the seams: Uncompromising pictures from inside America's overcrowded prison system show the cramped lives lived by more than two million inmates (Daily Mail, UK)
These revealing pictures illustrate America's prison system at breaking point - with overcrowding in the nation's jails at its highest for eight years. Correctional institutions across the U.S are bursting at the seams with more than two million Americans behind bars. The worst hit state, California, houses 140,000 inmates when its 33 adult prisons are only designed to hold a maximum of 80,000.
IL: Ruling: Ill. prisons may close; issue not settled (San Francisco Chronicle)
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn's administration and the union representing correctional workers filed dueling court pleas Monday over a ruling allowing the state to proceed with prison closures, actions that promise to prolong the struggle over whether penitentiaries can shut their doors to save money while keeping a crowded penal system safe.
CA: State gets more control of inmate health care (San Francisco Chronicle)
California prison officials regained oversight of some aspects of inmate health care Friday, more than six years after a federal court stripped the state of control. Since 2006, a court-appointed receiver has overseen health care in all state prisons, after the court found that substandard medical care was leading to the preventable deaths of about 50 inmates a year - an issue largely attributed to overcrowding.
IL: Joliet detention-center talks include private prison firm (WBEZ 91.5)
A top Joliet official says his talks exploring possibilities for an immigrant detention center in the city have included the nation’s largest private prison operator.
South Africa: Public must help with prisoners' rehab (News 24)
Communities must take some responsibility for the rehabilitation of offenders, Correctional Services Minister Sibusiso Ndebele said in a statement on Sunday. "We want to create opportunities where various stakeholders... will assemble together with offenders with a single purpose to rebuild our communities ravaged by crime," he said.
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