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Study: Crime Drops When Neighborhoods Get a Makeover

A combination of hot-spot policing and a redevelopment project resulted in crime reduction by as much as 49 percent in one at-risk community. The study of Pittsburgh’s East Liberty neighborhood underlines the link between community participation, improved real estate and public safety.

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gavel

Federal Study: Race Gap in Sentencing Persists

African-American male offenders receive sentences averaging 19.1 percent longer than white males—a gap that has largely remained unchanged since the U.S. Sentencing Commission began studying the issue in 2010. In its third report on the demographic factors affecting sentencing outcomes, the USSC also said females received shorter prison sentences than males.

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Karol Mason

Justice Reform Means ‘Thinking Outside Silos,’ Says New John Jay President

Many people trapped in the justice system today were victims themselves of trauma or addiction, says Karol Mason, who was appointed the fifth president of the country’s leading justice university this year. In an interview on the “Criminal Justice Matters” CUNY-TV program, she argued that innovative programs already underway demonstrate how social service providers, courts and police can successfully cooperate to reduce America’s justice-involved population.

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opioid

Drug-Induced Homicide Charges Ineffective and Inhumane: Report

Prosecutors around the country have intensified their pursuit of homicide charges–hoping to send a clear warning to drug dealers in response to the epidemic of drug deaths in the U.S. But the Drug Policy Alliance says there is “not a shred of evidence” to indicate that these charges result in fewer overdose deaths.

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scales of justice

Legal Aid for Capital Punishment Cases Depends on Where You Live: Study

A pro-death penalty “punitive culture” in some federal jurisdictions ensures that poor defendants in capital punishment cases never get the quality of public defense they are entitled to, argues a study published in the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology. The authors say their findings help explain the stark racial disparities in the application of death sentences across the U.S.

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mind

The ‘Double-Edged Sword’ of the Insanity Defense

A Vanderbilt Law School professor says evidence of mental impairment could be a useful tool in a reformed justice system that focused on rehabilitation rather than blame. But, he argues in a recent study, under the current system, neuroscience can be used by both prosecutors and defense, and has only limited value in assessing guilt.

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