Thursday, August 21, 2014

Group asks for more prison reforms : Beaver Dam Daily Citizen

Group asks for more prison reforms : Beaver Dam Daily Citizen



MILWAUKEE (AP) — A coalition of church congregations demanding reforms within the Wisconsin Department of Corrections launched the second phase of its campaign Wednesday, calling on state officials to provide more services and options for offenders on parole.
WISDOM, an umbrella organization, began its “Reform Now” campaign last month in Madison. Its demands at the time included letting more prisoners out on parole and ending solitary confinement. The group expanded its focus Wednesday to include revocation, the process through which offenders who have been released on extended supervision are re-imprisoned for violating the terms of their release.
Coalition members held a news conference outside the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility, where they argued that revocation makes it harder for offenders to put their lives back together, leading to a dysfunctional community and angry citizens.
WISDOM Vice President Willie Brisco said he didn’t want the anger to boil over in Wisconsin and lead to the sort of civil unrest that erupted in a St. Louis-area suburb in recent weeks after a white police officer shot and killed an unarmed black teen.
“We will not become a Ferguson, Missouri, where we let all of these things go about unanswered until they blow up in our faces,” Brisco said. “This is a proactive method we are using to address these situations.”
WISDOM speakers said offenders out on release should face revocation only if they break a new law.
Currently, an offender can be revoked for missing a scheduled parole meeting, being more than 15 minutes past curfew or crossing county lines without permission. The speakers acknowledged that those who break rules should be punished, but they said the level of discipline should match the severity of the offense.
The Rev. Joseph Jackson of the Friendship Baptist Church held Minnesota up as an example. Offenders there who violate minor rules of supervision may be given the chance to participate in a sanctions conference, in which the agent, offender and others discuss the violation and determine an appropriate course of action.
Wisconsin Department of Corrections spokeswoman Joy Staab said about 40 percent of revoked offenders were classified as violent offenders last year.
“An administrative law judge makes the final revocation decision at a revocation hearing,” she said in an email. “Public safety is the primary consideration in any revocation decision.”
At the WISDOM news conference, Charlotte Mertins talked about how the system thwarted the rehabilitation of her fiancé, Hector Cubero.
He was part of a group that robbed and killed a person in 1981. He served more than 27 years before being paroled in 2008, but the budding tattoo artist had to go back to prison two years ago for tattooing a minor who falsely claimed he was 18, Mertins said.
“My family and I live day to day feeling helpless toward Hector’s situation,” she said.
WISDOM plans to hold a monthly news conference through October to draw attention to aging inmates, overcrowding and solitary confinement, which the group likens to torture.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Policing and Wrongful Convictions

Policing and Wrongful Convictions



Executive Session on Policing and Public Safety

This is one in a series of papers that will be published as a result of the Executive Session on Policing and Public Safety.



Harvard’s Executive Sessions are a convening of individuals of independent standing who take joint responsibility for rethinking and improving society’s responses to an issue. Members are selected based on their experiences, their reputation for thoughtfulness and their potential for helping to disseminate the work of the Session.



In the early 1980s, an Executive Session on Policing helped resolve many law enforcement issues of the day. It produced a number of papers and concepts that revolutionized policing. Thirty years later, law enforcement has changed and NIJ and the Harvard Kennedy School are again collaborating to help resolve law enforcement issues of the day.

Wrongful Convictions and Postconviction Testing Postconviction Testing and Wrongful Convictions

Wrongful Convictions and Postconviction Testing Postconviction Testing and Wrongful Convictions



Overview of Wrongful Convictions

The strength of our criminal justice system depends on its accuracy — its ability to convict the guilty and to clear the innocent. But we know that wrongful convictions happen. Identifying and understanding the causes of wrongful convictions is critical to maintaining the integrity of our justice system.
A conviction may be classified as wrongful for two reasons:
  1. The person convicted is factually innocent of the charges.
  2. There were procedural errors that violated the convicted person's rights.
A wrongful conviction based on possible factual innocence can sometimes be detected using postconviction DNA testing.

Papers From the Harvard Executive Session on Policing and Public Safety | National Institute of Justice

Papers From the Harvard Executive Session on Policing and Public Safety | National Institute of Justice



Papers From the Harvard Executive Session on Policing and Public Safety

Following are the papers from the second Executive Session on Policing and Public Safety, sponsored by NIJ and the Harvard Kennedy School's Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management.
The papers from the first executive session have become become a foundation for police executive training across the nation and we hope that these new papers have a similar impact.