Image courtesy wrvo.org By Ellen Abbott Research shows a connection between early childhood education and crime. Central New York boosters of universal pre-kindergarten say that should be an important consideration when it comes to funding quality programs. Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler says the statistics logically lead to the conclusion that pre-K prevents crime. “There’s…

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One of the best videos about the problem of mass incarceration in the United States.  Being tough on crime is not the same as being tough on criminals.  Mass incarceration is a waste of money and a waste of people.

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By Christopher Zoukis 

Crime is down in the United States, but spending measures included in the $1.1 trillion federal budget passed by Congress in January 2014 will ensure that many law enforcement agencies receive more funding.

Insiders give much of the credit for the fiscal year (FY) 2014 funding increases to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski, who is known as a strong proponent of crime-fighting expenditures. Senator Mikulski said the expanded funding represents a “truly bipartisan agreement that a significant number of members [of Congress] worked night and day [on] over the holidays.”

The big winners in federal law enforcement spending include the FBI, which received $8.3 billion, an increase of $248.7 million over FY 2013, and the federal Bureau of Prisons, which received $6.77 billion – an increase of $90.2 million.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is also getting a boost in funding with a budget of $1.18 billion – more than $49 million over last year.

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AWARD WINNING FILMMAKER, ATTORNEY, AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND MASS INCARCERATION  THOUGHT LEADER MATTHEW PILLISCHER, ESQUIRE TALKS TO  IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD(R)   Photo courtesy brokenonallsides.com                         PHILADELPHIA, PA (USA) – 24 January 2014 –  Through his award-winning, riveting, and provocative film documentary, “Broken On All Sides:  Race, Mass Incarceration, & New…

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By Christopher Petrella and Alex Friedmann

After nearly 40 years of unprecedented growth, our nation’s expanding prison population has finally begun to sputter. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2010 marked the first year since 1972 in which, taken together, state and federal correctional populations declined slightly – a trend that continued in 2011.

This modest reduction reflects revisions to draconian drug laws (particularly in New York and Florida), curtailing re-incarceration for technical parole violators, and the burgeoning implementation of “good time” early-release credits. As a result, 15 states have closed 35 adult correctional facilities over the last two years, according to the National Conference of State Legislators, while additional closures are pending in 2013.

Although prison closures are widely celebrated by prisoners and criminal justice reform activists alike, the implementation of such plans is rarely straightforward and often encounters opposition from local communities, prison guard unions and lawmakers in the districts where facilities are slated to close. If achieved, prison closures are usually piecemeal and result in the transfer of prisoners to other facilities, not additional releases. Similarly, prison employees displaced by closures are often absorbed by other facilities, not fired. The predictable tumult resulting from actual and proposed prison closures reflects the competing and contradictory interests held by various stakeholders involved in the process.

Despite signaling a hopeful interruption in the business-as-usual crime and punishment mania that has characterized U.S. penal policy for the past half-century, it’s possible to argue that the increasing number of prison closures represents just as much an experiment in budget-cutting in the short term as it does in durable criminal justice reform over the long term.

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By Dianne Frazee-Walker

Keith Humphreys, writer, researcher, and Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University nominates himself for reporting the most unreported public policy issue; the declining rate of Americans incarcerated or on probation.

Humphreys’ research theorizes that lead is a key factor associated with a decline in prison population over the past five years. His speculation is supported by a rise in lead emissions throughout the 60s and 70s resulting in a high crime rate during the 70s and 80s. Humphreys claims that even though crime rates went down in the early 90’s, incarceration rates were impacted by the remaining inmates serving long terms from the 60s and 70s while new inmates were being incarcerated.   Image courtesy hayesvillelibrary.wordpress.org

Rick Nevin is a researcher who dug deeper into the lead theory. Nevin’s investigative studies reveal that young offender incarceration rates have decreased since the dawning of 2000. In the mean time older offenders were increasing and the incarceration rate remained high. The reasoning behind Nevin’s hypothesis is that the older offenders grew up during the time period when lead emissions were high and young offenders were not exposed to lead being raised in a more environmentally conscious era.

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