Murder Rates Dropping in 2018: A Preliminary Analysis

The NYU’s Brennan Center calculates that murder rates in America’s 29 largest cities will drop by 7.6 percent over the previous year; falling off to levels approximately equal to 2015 rates. Notably, the report projects a 35 percent decline in homicides in San Francisco, 23.2 percent in Chicago, and 20.9 percent in Baltimore.

Leann Bertsch

North Dakota Changes the Rules on Solitary

In a response to the growing consensus that the practice of solitary confinement  is cruel and ineffective, North Dakota has reduced the number of infractions that sends prisoners into isolation—and has changed how inmates are treated if they are sent into “administrative segregation.” The reforms came after a visit by Leann Bertsch, the state’s prison chief, to Norway.


U.S. Prison Agency Wasted $1.7M in Construction, IG Says

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons spent more than $1.7 million to construct an entry building at the Danbury federal prison in Connecticut that was no longer necessary, the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General says. The watchdog unit said the spending was part of a $28 million contract to Sealaska Constructors LLC for construction at Danbury.

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MN Task Force to Propose Reforms in Sex Assault Probes

A task force of law officers, public health officials and victim advocates vowed to scrutinize the way sexual assaults are investigated in Minnesota, with the goal of recommending reforms to the legislature. The Minneapolis Star Tribune is publishing a series that has documented pervasive breakdowns in rape investigations.


Rights Group Plans Mass Bailout at NYC’s Rikers Island

More than 500 women and teenagers will be bailed out from New York City’s Rikers Island jail as part of a national campaign to dismantle a bail system that activists say discriminates against minorities and the poor. The effort is being spearheaded by the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights group, which plans to raise $5 million to fund the releases.