Friday News Roundup: May 25, 2018

Friday News Roundup

The House Appropriations Committee greenlights a bill to fund the fight against the opioid epidemic, the governor of Colorado asks lawmakers to participate in an intensive review the state’s juvenile justice system, and the Wisconsin Supreme Court approves a pay increase for court-appointed defense attorneys. These stories and more below in the latest edition of the JPO Friday News Roundup. 

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“But the data says no” … In which a researcher learns compassion

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Allow me to begin with a confession: I’m a researcher at heart, and I have an unhealthy obsession with data. This has its benefits (bear with me . . .): If you make an argument you can support with data, I will be on your side, all in. But it also has a downside: sometimes, while the data suggests a certain course of action, because “it will likely result in the best outcomes,” this actually doesn’t convince normal humans, and it certainly fails to quiet our conscience which asks, “is that really the best thing to do?”

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Friday News Roundup: May 18, 2018

Friday News Roundup

A 6-3 decision from the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a Louisiana court could not accept a lawyer’s admission of guilt over his client’s objections, drug courts remain divided on the best path to treating addiction, and a local group sends lawyers to help juveniles in jail navigate the legal system. All these stories and much more below in the latest edition of the JPO News Roundup. 

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Friday News Roundup: May 11, 2018

Friday News Roundup

A 2014 juvenile justice reform bill in Kentucky sees big reductions in youth incarceration four years later, San Diego Homeless Court offers relief from fines for those least able to afford them, and Los Angeles public defenders continue to protest the new head of the public defender agency due to lack of experience. Continue below to read these stories and more in the latest edition of the JPO Friday News Roundup.

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Drug Courts Are Treatment Courts

The Justice Programs Office is celebrating National Drug Court Month by sharing the personal perspectives of those who work in the treatment court field. Jeffrey Kushner, MPHA, the Statewide Drug Court Administrator for the State of Montana begins our series examining the important partnership between treatment providers and drug court teams. 

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Jeffrey N. Kushner, MPHA,
Statewide Drug Court Administrator, State of Montana

There are few services more difficult to provide than alcohol and other drug use treatment. In most instances we are, at least initially, dealing with individuals whose brains have been hijacked by powerful drugs. New drug court participants are often primarily interested in getting more and more of their drugs of choice and not in overcoming their problems. Treatment professionals, therefore, need all the help and support we can provide them in order to be most effective with our drug court participants. With over 50 years of experience in this field, it is very clear to me that by utilizing the resources of the criminal justice system and the treatment system we can improve success through the use of evidence-based practices rather than each system by itself.

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Friday News Roundup: May 4, 2018

Friday News Roundup

Meek Mill becomes a symbol of criminal justice reform after he is released from jail this week, the New Jersey Supreme Court has held that provisions of Megan’s Law barring juveniles from seeking relief in their community reporting requirements is unconstitutional, and public defenders in New York continue to protest the courthouse arrests of undocumented clients by ICE. These stories and more in the latest edition of the Friday News Roundup.

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The Perfect Recipe for Problem-Solving Courts

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My first job after law school was in Pulaski County, Arkansas, as a special assistant prosecuting attorney in a problem-solving court that saw mental health and substance misuse clients who were a danger to themselves or others. At the time, I had never heard of a problem-solving court and was surprised by how the judge ran the court. It wasn’t like anything I’d seen on Law & Order. And yes, unfortunately, that was my only reference to an operating court after graduating from law school. The judge, Mary Spencer McGowan, ran a tight docket and was a no-nonsense judge, but she taught me more about humanity in the justice system, second chances, and procedural fairness than any other influence in my career. Continue reading “The Perfect Recipe for Problem-Solving Courts”

Prison as Punishment, Not for Punishment

When an individual has completed their time in prison, they are expected to go back into the world and start rebuilding their lives. Trying to successfully reintegrate back into society with a criminal record is next to impossible. Individuals are severely limited in job opportunities, education, housing, and loans, among many other things. Second Chance Month is dedicated to highlighting the ways in which organizations are working, and we all can work, to create a bigger and brighter future for the 65 million Americans who are limited by their criminal records. They went to prison, served their time, and now it is our job to make sure they have a fair second chance.

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