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JPI Daily News Digest 11/15/2012

LA: 'A straight-up racket': Sheriffs, prison firms gouge inmates on phone charges, regulator says (Town Talk)
“It’s a moral injustice” what people locked in Louisiana jails and prisons are being charged to make phone calls, says Public Service Commission Chairman Foster Campbell.

LA: New Orleans pretrial services program's future in doubt after City Council hearing (Times-Picayune)
A pretrial services program that began this year at Criminal District Court has drawn praise from all quarters of the criminal justice system, but its future was in doubt after a New Orleans City Council budget hearing Tuesday. The Landrieu administration has proposed giving the program only $184,000 in 2013, less than a third of what supporters say is needed, and several speakers urged the council to end all support for the program.

CT: Rethinking Prison Terms For Juveniles (Hartford Courant)
Recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions and new developments in psychology and brain science are prompting Connecticut to reconsider prison sentences for juveniles.The courts allow for a sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole for juvenile offenders, but juveniles in Connecticut can still receive mandatory sentences of life without parole in adult court.

National: Prison video visits threaten to put profit before public safety (The Guardian)
Virtual visiting has become the latest craze in prisons, with at least 20 states now having some kind of video conferencing system in place. As most prisoners tend to get housed in facilities at least 100 – and often up to 500 – miles from home, frequent visits are impossible for families; so video calls at least offer the opportunity for some virtual face time.

CA: Richmond inmate program bridging gap between prisoners and the outside (KALW)
With one of the highest crime rates in the country, Richmond, California, is a regular on the evening news. Zoom out to just California and that crime rate looks even higher: the city’s murder rate is seven times that of neighboring San Francisco, and more than twice as high as Oakland’s. Only nine miles west of Richmond is San Quentin State Prison.

OK: Limiting governor role Oklahoma parole process could save millions (Tulsa World)
Despite pushback from state prosecutors and a sudden position change by Gov. Mary Fallin, voters on Tuesday approved a constitutional amendment reducing the governor's role in paroles of nonviolent offenders.

TX: Reform needed in immigrant detentions, report says  (Dallas Morning News)
A new report calls for changes in the nation’s growing immigration detention system, where Texas provides more than a quarter of beds for those charged with violating civil immigration laws. Detention Watch Network, a coalition of advocacy groups, said changes didn’t go far enough or weren’t implemented after a critical

MA: Former police officer: War on Drugs failed (Daily Collegian)
Jack Cole spends his days speaking out against current American drug policy, traveling around and talking to any group interested in hearing what he has to say about what he calls drug policy “failure” in the United States.

KS: Audit: Juvenile prison's drug programs lacking (SFGate)
Auditors say drug treatment programs offered at the Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex in Topeka are not adequately helping the offenders.The auditors noted that between 70 and 85 percent of offenders in the state's juvenile programs need help with substance abuse.

International News
Australia: Drugs a public health issue: Kerlikowske (Nine MSN)
US President Barack Obama's director of drugs policy says drug use in the community is a public health problem and not an issue of law and order.

Posted in JPI Daily News Digest