Friday News Roundup: November 9, 2018

Friday News Roundup

The midterm election and criminal justice reform: Florida’s felon enfranchisement, Ohio’s attempted criminal drug possession reform, and Hawaii joins the nation in positive promotion of Veterans Treatment Courts. All of these stories and more in this week’s news roundup.

Criminal Justice News

The 2018 Midterm Elections Were a Big Win for Criminal Justice Reform Ballot InitiativesOn Election Day, voters in states across the country said enough is enough to America’s horrific criminal justice system. They voted for reforms that will change people’s lives for the better while expanding our civil liberties and civil rights. They also voted for reform-minded law enforcement officials and against the “law and order” types who have led to America’s epidemic of mass incarceration. (ACLU, USA, November 7, 2018)

Mental health court provides time to ‘start the turnaround’ – Alcohol and drug abuse, homelessness, and a lack of treatment for mental health issues often funnels men and women into the court system. Instead of repeating the same cycle, four men and one woman hugged a judge inside a Winnebago County courtroom on Wednesday as they graduated from a special court designed to help them get clean, obtain mental health treatment, and learn coping skills to succeed. They graduated from the 17th Judicial Circuit’s Therapeutic Intervention Program Court. (R Star News, IL, November 7, 2018)

Opioid News

Ohio Issue 1 fails. What’s next for reducing prison population? – Ohio voters ultimately saw too many flaws in Issue 1, the proposal to reduce penalties for certain drug offenders. Issue 1’s proponents argued that anyone with that much of the dangerous drug could be easily charged with trafficking. Or lawmakers could tweak the definition of trafficking. But voters rejected the measure anyway. (Cincinnati Enquirer, OH, November 5, 2018)

Drug Treatment Courts

MO governor signs both bills passed in special session That includes House Bill Two which deals with drug treatment courts throughout the state. The measure gives areas with the specialized court to transfer cases to those with a drug treatment court. It also expands state-level attention to that part of the Missouri legal system. (Four States News, MO, November 5, 2018)

Hamilton County Drug Court receives $500,000 federal grant, hopes to put it toward a new program – A second drug court program in Hamilton County will have an easier time getting off the ground after receiving a $500,000 federal grant. Commissioners voted 8-0 Wednesday to approve a U.S. Department of Justice grant aimed at expanding recovery courts and curbing opioid use. (Times Free Press, TN, November 7, 2018)

Juvenile Justice

Soundtrap Helps Inspire Music Creation Among Youth in Juvenile Justice Facilities – Soundtrap, the online collaborative music and podcast recording studio, has been partnering with the Center for Educational Excellence in Alternative Settings (CEEAS) to spark original musical creations among youth in American juvenile justice facilities. CEEAS works with instructors in these facilities to maximize teaching and learning in order to help students succeed after release, whether in further education or jobs. (The Associated Press, WA, November 5, 2018)

After Raise the Age, Where Will NY’s Adolescent Offenders Go? – On Oct. 1, the first phase of a New York state law known as “Raise the Age” took effect, meaning 16-year-olds can no longer be arrested or tried as adults. A year from now, the law will extend to 17-year-olds as well. Authorities are just beginning to grapple with the next challenge: Where will these young offenders be housed? (Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, NY, November 6, 2018)

Dane County justice system officials talk trauma, tips at Madison meeting on youth crime – In a blog post last month, Police Chief Mike Koval chastised judges and others in the county’s juvenile justice system, saying “we see a plethora of reasons why it is failing.” Many of the juveniles being arrested have dealt with repeated instances of trauma, such as a lack of food, unstable housing, and physical and sexual abuse. The system faces a lot of challenges, such as the lack of availability of placement options for offenders such as group homes and access to psychiatrists that would go a ways toward helping the children. (Madison News, WI, November 6, 2018)

Public Defense

Despite critical audit, county likely to name new head of public-defense departmentA highly critical audit of the King County Department of Public Defense could have potentially derailed Anita Khandelwal’s appointment to the post of public defender. Instead, Khandelwal — who has already been credited with infusing new hope and vision into a department that’s struggled with low morale since its creation in 2013 — appears poised to win confirmation by the Metropolitan King County Council. She has the backing of employee unions and the Washington Defender Association, among others. (The Seattle Times, WA, November 5, 2018)

We have a right to counsel in criminal cases. Why not in evictions? – Our constitution guarantees the right to an attorney to those accused of a crime, as upheld in the landmark Supreme Court case Gideon v. Wainwright. But for those at risk of losing their homes, there’s no such guarantee. That’s because Gideon covers only criminal cases, and eviction proceedings are a civil matter. (The Washington Post, D.C., November 6, 2018)

Veterans Treatment Courts

Long road to recovery: Veterans court celebrates graduation“What I’ve noticed doing drug court and veterans court everyone has their own path, their own journey — they’re as individual as the person,” said Deputy Prosecutor Mark Disher. (Hawaii News, HI, November 8, 2018)