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13 AZ Employees Charged In Prison Sex Cases, No Jail Terms

Thirteen people who supervised state prisoners have been charged during the past four-and-a-half years with felonies for having sex or sexual contact with an inmate or parolee. Prosecutors in every case agreed to plea deals that reduced those charges, allowing probation and no prison time for the defendants, reports the Arizona Republic. Most of the defendants were state correctional officers. Records show that all the employees were charged in Maricopa or Pinal counties, where prosecutorial agencies have tough-on-crime reputations. Prosecutors […]

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OK Coalition Pushes For Two Ballot Initiatives To Cut Prison Population

A politically diverse group of Oklahoma state officials, policy advocates, and members of the business community came together this week to announce they were joining forces to stop a problem the state can no longer ignore: Oklahoma’s high incarceration rate, The Oklahoman reports. “We’re running a factory to create future felons,” said Bancfirst Corp. Chairman Gene Rainbolt. “It’s ridiculous.” He among a dozen other prominent Oklahomans who formed a coalition, known as Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform, and they plan […]

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Killer Of OK Bank President Had Been Wrongly Released From Prison Twice

The man who died in a police shootout after robbing the Bank of Eufaula, Ok., and killing its president Jan. 21 had been released from Texas prisons twice despite having a 60-year prison term to serve in Oklahoma, the Tulsa World reports. Officials from Creek and Tulsa counties, as well as the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, maintain that they correctly followed procedure to get Cedric Lamont Norris into their custody to serve sentences for multiple robbery, burglary and property […]

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States At Criminal Justice Crossroads: Which Penalties To Cut Or Toughen?

After decades of “tough on crime” policies, many states are taking a hard look at the way people are charged, how much time they serve, and what happens when they are released, reports Stateline. Many states are looking at growing prison populations, obstacles to drug treatment, and high recidivism rates as reasons to re-evaluate their criminal justice systems. Many states are at a crossroads, weighing whether to build new prisons or change how they sentence people and guide them through […]

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$3 Billion In Savings From CA Prison Reductions Fail To Materialize

Federal judicial orders are mostly to blame for a $3 billion drop in the budget savings that California prison officials promised four years ago, corrections officials tell the Associated Press. They had projected billions of dollars in reduced prison spending starting in 2012 through a long-term plan to trim the inmate population dramatically in response to federal court orders and recession-driven budget pressures. Instead, there is a $3 billion annual difference between the promised savings and the $10.5 billion corrections […]

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State Prisons Turn To Telemedicine To Save Money, Provide More Inmate Care

Texas prison psychiatrist Pradan Nathan sees up to 16 patients a day from a suburban Houston office, using an audio console, a camera and a monitor to treat inmates at two state prisons 30 miles away. Most states have turned to telemedicine to some extent for treating prisoners, often in remote areas where many prisons are located, because it allows doctors to examine them from a safe distance, Stateline reports. It enables corrections officers keep potentially dangerous inmates behind bars […]

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Ex-WA Corrections Chief Says He Was Unaware Of 3,200 Erroneous Releases

Former Washington state Corrections Secretary Bernie Warner tells the Seattle Times he learned only in recent weeks of his department's calculation errors that allowed the early release of up to 3,200 prisoners. Warner’s successor told state lawmakers that one of Warner's assistant secretaries knew of the issue in 2012. The discovery of the problem — incorrectly programmed software that cut time from some inmates' sentences — “was passed up at least as high as an assistant secretary,” Department of Corrections […]

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MA Incarceration Rate Down, More Study Due Of High Recidivism Numbers

The rate of incarceration in Massachusetts is down, but by how much varies widely depending on which county you're looking at, says WBUR Radio. That was an initial finding of an independent review of the state's criminal justice system commissioned by Gov. Charlie Baker. The review was conducted by the Council of State Governments Justice Center, which presented its first report to the state's criminal justice working group on Tuesday. There was a 12 percent drop in the state’s incarcerated […]