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NY, AL Police Chiefs Suspended for Drug, Sex Offenses

The police chief of Kenmore, N.Y., was placed on administrative leave after he was arrested and accused of stealing pain pills. He admitted an addiction. In a separate case, a police chief from Alabama was suspended last week after he was accused of masturbating several times in front of guests, including children and teenage girls, at a beachfront resort in Florida.

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NY Prison Nursery Allows Bonding for Infants, Inmates

Bedford Hills, a maximum security women’s prison in suburban New York City, has for more than century operated a nursery for inmates who give birth behind bars. One of just eight prison nurseries in the U.S., the facility has space for 26 women to bond with their children for the first year of their lives.

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Gorging on ‘Ziti’: Ex-Aides to NY Gov. Face Corruption Charges

A criminal complaint said the principals in the scheme referred to bribes as “ziti.” The charges against Joseph Percoco and Todd R. Howe, former aides to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and a state official, Alain Kaloyeros, were the culmination of a federal probe into the Cuomo administration’s attempts to lure jobs and businesses to upstate New York by furnishing billions of dollars to developers.

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How the Justice System Can Transform NYC’s 'Murder Capital”

It has been a head-spinning couple of years for those of us who work in criminal justice in New York City. Not long ago, if you asked the question “who is responsible?” in criminal justice circles, most people would think you were asking about who deserves the lion's share of credit for the “New York miracle” that reduced the number of murders from a high of more than 2,200 in 1990 to less than 335 in 2013. Of course, this […]

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The Path to Prison: Can It Be Blocked?

Approximately one-third of inmates serving first-time prison sentences in New York had repeated contact with the criminal justice system in the 10 years preceding their incarceration—suggesting the system had potential opportunities to curtail their criminal activity via diversion programs—according to a study published in the American Society of Criminology journal Criminology & Public Policy. By contrast, nearly a quarter of the inmates had had very little contact with the system prior to incarceration. The authors of “Pathways to Prison in […]

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Why We Need Transparent Sentencing

Criminal sentencing in New York State is opaque and confusing. It is the result of years of ad hoc and piecemeal amendments that have contributed to a sentencing structure in which sentences for violent crimes, sex offenses and drug crimes are determinate, that is, fixed by the judge at sentencing; while those for non-violent offenses are indeterminate, with the date of the inmate's release determined by the Parole Board. Each of the last two times state legislators in New York […]

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Limiting Solitary

A bill announced in New York would limit the use of solitary confinement in the state's prisons and jails to 15 consecutive days for most inmates and bans the punishment outright for certain inmate groups. The Humane Alternatives to Long-Term Solitary Confinement Act, proposed by state Assembly member Jeffrion Aubry and state Senator Bill Perkins, calls for the creation of alternatives to isolated confinement, including rehabilitative units aimed at providing additional programs and therapy for those sentenced to solitary. Perkins […]