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We Know What Types of Supervision … Help Reduce Recidivism and Incarceration’

Arizona probation chief envisions smaller, less punitive, more effective system

Article January 8, 2019

Barbara Broderick has devoted most of her 40-year criminal justice career to improving state and local community supervision in Arizona and New York. Since December 2000, she has served as chief probation officer of the Maricopa County (Arizona) Adult Probation Department, the nation’s sixth-largest, with more than 1,100 employees, a budget of $118 million, and about 54,000 individuals under its jurisdiction.



Does Community Supervision Have a Future?

The nation’s probation and parole systems, usually grouped under the category of Community Supervision, were designed to help people navigate the transition from prison back to civilian life—and become productive, law-abiding citizens.

But they are more likely to make things worse for individuals—and by extension for their families and communities—say experts who believe it’s time for the U.S. to adopt a radically different approach that treats ex-inmates with the dignity they deserve as returning citizens.



CJS Digest

Prisons are housing mental health patients who’ve committed no crimes

States from New Hampshire to Colorado to Texas are dealing with the long-lasting and wide-ranging fallout from the 1980s-era moves to end the practice of warehousing people with mental illness in large state hospitals, known as deinstitutionalization. The goal of taking away federal support from these institutions was to create new smaller community centers to provide support. However, most of those centers have never materialized, forcing many people with mental illness to live without psychiatric care.

Since deinstitutionalization, the number of psychiatric beds has continued to fall. In 2016, an estimated 10.4 million American adults lived with a serious mental illness, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. That same year, the number of state and county psychiatric beds hit 37,769, down from its peak of 559,000 beds in 1955, according to the Treatment Advocacy Center. That means emergency rooms are backed up with patients waiting for psychiatric beds that stay full because there is no community program to support the patients when they are discharged. “What we’ve done is made our jails and prisons the new mental health institutions,” says Moe Keller, director of advocacy at Mental Health Colorado and a former Colorado state legislator. “This is the 21st century in the United States of America. And this is the best we can do?”

How Misdemeanors Turn Innocent People Into Criminals

What Souter wrote was wrong then and remains so today. The misdemeanor criminal justice system makes up the vast majority of the nation’s criminal court dockets; it is wide-ranging, encompassing not only violent crimes like domestic violence, but also myriad offenses where there is little, if any, meaningful criminal activity — things like jaywalking and loitering. It has criminalized millions of people and jailed countless, even when the ultimate punishment for the crime carries no threat of jail time, a practice which the Supreme Court’s ruling endorsed.

California Correctional Wins HIMSS Davies Award

HIMSS has honored California Correctional Health Care Services with its 2018 Davies Community Award of Excellence, recognizing the provider organization’s efforts in using health IT to reduce hospitalizations for high-risk patients. Ten years ago, California Correctional Health Care Services was buried in paper. Tens of thousands of inches of healthcare records were spread out across the state at more than 30 institutions – as well as a more than 150,000 square foot warehouse archive. The patient population reached numbers of more than 125,000 individuals, with approximately 600 new arrivals every week and roughly 11,000 transfers monthly.

From A Cell To A Home: Ex-Inmates Find Stability With Innovative Program

Jones and Panzella are part of a first-of-its-kind program that’s providing vitally needed housing for inmates released from prison. The program also aims to break down misconceptions and fear surrounding the formerly incarcerated in a nation that imprisons more people than any other. The Homecoming Project in Alameda County, Calif., is matching prisoners being released after long sentences with homeowners and renters who want to take part in the experiment. The nonprofit behind the program pays the former inmates’ rent for six months and actively supports the partnership.

California law abolishing bail is put on hold until at least November 2020

California’s new law abolishing the requirement to post bail for release after arrest, scheduled to take effect in October, was put on hold Wednesday when bail bond companies qualified a referendum to put the issue before voters in November 2020. Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced that random sampling of petitions submitted by sponsors of the ballot measure showed they had collected more than the 402,468 valid signatures they needed to make the ballot. Qualification of a referendum on a newly enacted law bars its enforcement until voters decide whether to approve it.

From the California Research Bureau

Social Determinants of Health Identify Communities at Risk for Mass Shooting Events. By Stephen Markowiak, et al. Journal of the American College of Surgeons, vol. 227, no. 4 (Oct. 2018) p. S164.

“A trauma research team has developed a profile of commonalities among communities where mass shootings have occurred. It includes a shortage of mental health professionals, a relative lack of socialization opportunities, higher rates of income inequality, and relatively high housing.… Ironically, study results showed that communities in states with the strictest gun laws had a 53% greater risk of mass shootings.… ‘Our data agrees that stricter gun laws are associated with less overall violent crimes,’ [study author Dr. Markowiak] added. ‘It’s just that these multiple-shooting events appear to be an exception to that rule.’… However, study researchers identified two types of gun laws that stood out as having a correlation with a lower incidence of multiple shootings: mandatory reporting of mental health records to the National Incident Criminal Background Check System and restrictions on open carry of firearms.” (Science Daily, Oct. 23, 2018).

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On crime and punishment, Gov. Jerry Brown leaves behind revised rules and a new focus on redemption

When Gov. Jerry Brown’s final term in office ends next week, he will leave behind a California criminal justice system infused with a new commitment to second chances, a shift away from an era where tens of thousands were imprisoned with little opportunity to turn their lives around.

After setbacks, Spokane County abandons custom criminal justice algorithm in favor of simpler tool

Spokane County is adopting a new computer algorithm designed to help judges decide which defendants should remain in jail, abandoning a more costly, custom-developed program that was hampered by technical and logistical problems. The Spokane Assessment for Evaluation of Risk, known as the SAFER tool, was touted as a cornerstone of local efforts to reduce jail overcrowding and eliminate racial disparities in the justice system.

How One County Became a Lab for California’s Prison Reform

When California lawmakers unveiled a plan in 2011 to reduce the number of inmates in state prison, officials in San Joaquin County thought the timing couldn’t have been worse.  There were already signs that a recent dip in crime might be coming to an end in this Central Valley county east of San Francisco.  Homicides were up by nearly 40 percent from the previous year. And in the midst of a financial crisis, the county and local cities were laying off police officers and prosecutors. Now the county would have to quickly absorb an influx of nearly 1,000 released prisoners.

Mental illness increasingly helps defendants avoid trial. But not always

More than two years after the murder of Stanislaus County Deputy Sheriff Dennis Wallace, a case against the accused shooter remains on hold because he was declared mentally incapable of standing trial. On Wednesday, the county’s latest accused cop killer — Paulo Virgen Mendoza, formerly identified as Gustavo Perez Arriaga — appeared headed down the same road. His attorney asked that Mendoza’s mental competence be evaluated before he enters a plea, effectively suspending prosecution for allegedly murdering Newman police Cpl. Ronil Singh on Dec. 26. Whether more of the general population is mentally ill, or claiming a mental defect is increasingly popular as a legal maneuver, is open to debate.


In the Pew Public Safety Performance Project (type in title)

Community Supervision Marked by Racial and Gender Disparities

African-Americans, men overrepresented in probation and parole population

Article December 6, 2018

By: Jake Horowitz & Connie Utada Topics: U.S. State Policy Projects: Public Safety Performance Project Tags: Public safety Read time: 1 min

Across the 50 states and the District of Columbia, 4.5 million people are on probation or parole—twice the incarcerated population, including those in state and federal prisons and local jails. Virtually all demographic groups are represented in the community supervision population. However, people of color, particularly African-Americans, and men are disproportionately represented.

Many state lawmakers seeking to reduce the scale and boost the public safety value of community corrections systems are motivated to investigate the significant disparities in supervision populations, make needed improvements, and track performance for evidence of progress.

From the California Research Bureau

Association of Exposure to Police Violence With Prevalence of Mental Health Symptoms Among Urban Residents in the United States. By Jordan DeVylder, et al. JAMA. Nov. 21, 2018. 14 p.

“Exposure to police violence is linked with poor mental health outcomes.” Survey respondents who had been exposed to police violence (directly or indirectly) … “have higher levels of suicide ideation (suicidal thoughts or actions).” … The responses showed high rates of police violence directed at “marginalized groups” … and showed “negative mental health outcomes in the short term.” (Pacific Standard, Nov. 21, 2018).



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