Thursday, October 29, 2015

Daily Corrections Clips


No ‘Trick or Treating’ Sign Ordered for Sex Offender’s Home

Kelly Weill, The Daily Beast

A California man’s neighbors don’t know he’s a convicted sex offender, but the man says he’s being forced by the state to warn children to stay away from his house on Halloween.

“Please do not disturb. We do not participate in Trick or Treating,” reads a sign issued by the Chula Vista parole officer, according to attorney Janice Bellucci. Bellucci is representing an unnamed man in a lawsuit against California for Operation Boo, a program that requires paroled sex offenders on Halloween to remain in their homes with the exterior lights off, offer no candy, display no decorations, and keep doors closed to anyone but law enforcement.

Is Halloween Really More Dangerous for Kids?

Anat Rubin, The Marshall Project

Before the sun sets on Halloween, Allen O’Shea will make his way to the local courthouse in Gaston County, N.C., where he will remain for several hours under the watchful eye of law enforcement until trick-or-treating has ended.

This will be O’Shea’s first Halloween as a registered sex offender, a label he earned after having consensual sex with a 15-year-old girl when he was 19. He admits he was wrong. Still, being held in custody because costumed children are walking the streets asking for candy strikes him as absurd.


Advocates say initiative reduced jail crowding, saving money

The Associated Press

A new study by an advocacy group says a voter-approved initiative has cut California's prison and jail populations by about 13,000 inmates.

Voters approved Proposition 47 a year ago to reduce penalties for some drug and property crimes.

California evaluates if the prison overcrowding initiative is working, one year later

Libby Leyden, Oakland North

Last November, California voters passed Proposition 47, a law that allow residents with certain felonies on their records to submit a petition to have them reduced to misdemeanors. Brendan Woods—a public defender for Alameda County—says that today, his first client who reduced her felony under the new law is now an intern in his office.

“This woman once had a drug addiction and was sentenced to county jail for stealing a sandwich from Walgreens. After serving her time in prison, she went to rehab for her drug addiction but still could not find a job with a felony on her record. Using Prop. 47, she was able to clear her record and start a new path on a new career,” said Woods. “This law gives the ability for people to turn their life around.”

With Bay Area jail population down, debate begins over how to spend savings

Matthew Artz, San Jose Mercury News

One year after state voters passed a landmark law reclassifying several low-level offenses to misdemeanors, a debate is underway on how to spend the millions of dollars being saved by imprisoning fewer people.

Tasked with divvying up more than half the funds to help current and former inmates successfully return to their communities, the Board of State and Community Corrections began a statewide listening tour Wednesday in Oakland where dozens of residents pushed it to spend the money outside the correctional system.


California's Prop. 47 revolution: What's the future of drug courts?

Stephen V. Manley for The LA Times

In the year since California voters approved Proposition 47, there has been a flurry of speculation about the future of drug courts in this state. Proposition 47 reduced the majority of drug and property offenses in California from felonies to misdemeanors, meaning that many offenders no longer face the possibility of state prison. Critics have suggested that removing the heavy stick of incarceration necessarily makes drug courts less effective.

It's true that, under Proposition 47, enrollment in some drug courts has dropped. This is not surprising. After all, eligibility for many drug courts requires a felony conviction, and participation is optional.

EDITORIAL: Moving treatment upfront

The Press-Enterprise
Ensuring public safety and running a coherent criminal justice system are some of the most significant, legitimate functions of government. In recent years, old ways of doing things have been discarded in favor of new approaches.

In 2011, California enacted Assembly Bill 109, also known as Realignment, which shifted responsibility for nonviolent offenders from the state to the counties. In 2014, voters approved Proposition 47, sending a message that they no longer believed incarceration is the answer to most low-level crime. It reduced many petty theft and drug crimes to misdemeanors.

Oakland Tribune editorial: Prisoner release marks a change in punishment

The Oakland Tribune

As federal officials begin freeing 6,000 prisoners this week, it will mark a symbolic blow to the lock-'em-up, tough-on-crime approach that has made the United States home to the world's largest prison population.

That approach has never been sustainable in any society for both economic and social reasons.