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JPI Daily News Digest 11/8/2012

CO, WA: Marijuana legalization in 2 states challenges U.S. drug regulations (The Reporter)
First came marijuana as medicine. Now comes legal pot for the people. Those who have argued for decades that legalizing and taxing weed would be better than a costly, failed U.S. drug war have their chance to prove it, as Colorado and Washington became the first states to allow pot for recreational use.

TN: Youth Villages pushes for expansion (Tennessean)
Tennessee tries to take care of former foster youth in ways that few other states do, yet only half of teens who age out of custody have access to services.

CA: Proposition 34: Death penalty repeal fails (Mercury News)
California voters on Tuesday rejected a ballot measure that would have repealed the state's death penalty. Proposition 34 lost by about 6 percentage points, dimming the hopes of death penalty opponents who were trying to abolish the death penalty in California and clear the largest death row in the nation.

CA: Proposition 36: Voters overwhelmingly ease Three Strikes law (Mercury News)
Eighteen years after Californians overwhelmingly approved the country's toughest Three Strikes law, they did an about-face Tuesday, easing the habitual-offender statute in a vote likely to influence criminal justice policies nationwide."Tonight's vote on Proposition 36 sends a powerful message to policymakers in California and across the country that taxpayers are ready for a new direction in criminal justice,'' said Adam Gelb, director of the Pew Center on the States' Public Safety Performance Project. "States that have already made some changes to their sentencing laws may be inspired to take a second look, and states that haven't made significant changes yet may start.

MO: Criminal justice reform requires facts, not misinformation (STL Today)
In 1963, the U.S. Supreme Court determined that, because governments “quite properly spend vast sums of money to establish machinery to try defendants,” a poor person charged with crime cannot get a fair trial unless a lawyer is provided at state expense. For the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys to suggest that Missouri State Public Defender system is not in a crisis because “individual prosecutors routinely handle two to three times more cases than public defenders” conveniently neglects the fact that the workload of public defenders and prosecutors are simply not comparable (“Fixing Missouri’s broken public defender system,” Oct. 30).

OH: Privately owned prison in Ohio gets 2nd chance to show it's safe, secure and healthy  (The Republic)
State prison officials in Ohio began a two-day inspection Wednesday of the lakeshore prison that became the nation's first privately owned state prison last year, checking on whether dozens of safety, health and security issues uncovered in a recent audit have been fixed.

National: Former Prisoners Can Vote!  (Huffington Post)
The right to vote is an important part of being an American citizen. Despite this fact, several state legislatures have introduced bills that would make it harder for you to exercise your right to vote. This effort is unprecedented in scope, well-coordinated, and carefully targeted. African-Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, Native Americans, students, working women, seniors, and immigrants of all colors will be disproportionately affected. What we're facing is the most aggressive attempt to roll back voting rights in over a century.

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