Study Finds Idaho Last in Protecting Juvenile Records

Geoffrey Talmon of the Idaho Freedom Foundation reviews the recent Juvenile Law Center survey of how America’s states protect the records of juvenile offenders in their criminal justice systems. As the the survey notes, “Idaho receives the lowest score because there are no confidentiality protections for juvenile records and very few records are eligible for sealing.” Talmon writes:

Concerning expungement of records, Idaho scored only slightly better against the eight criteria that were considered (availability of sealing or expungement, which records are available for sealing or expungement, which offenses are excluded from sealing or expungement, degree of automation in sealing or expungement, notification of availability of sealing or expungement, timing of sealing or expungement fees for sealing or expungement and sanctions for failure to comply with sealing or expungement laws). On these measures, Idaho received 14 out of 50 possible points, earning a two-star rating.

As Idaho continues to reform its criminal justice system and to build on the momentum established in passing the Justice Reinvestment Act during the 2014 legislative session, the Legislature should take a close look at this study and think about the way we treat juvenile offenders.

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Right on Crime Congratulates Governor-Elect Hutchinson, Other Conservative Criminal Justice Reformers on Their Victories

AUSTIN, TX—In the wake of an historic election wave that brought so many Republican lawmakers to power throughout the country, Right on Crime—the nationally-recognized conservative criminal justice reform organization—congratulates the hundreds of conservative elected officials dedicated to reforming America’s criminal justice system for their victories yesterday.

Yesterday’s election results were especially meaningful in Arkansas, as Right on Crime supporter Asa Hutchinson became that state’s governor-elect. Hutchinson, the former US Attorney and Administrator of the US Drug Enforcement Administration, has been a long-time supporter of criminal justice reform and, since 2013, a signatory to the Right on Crime Statement of Principles.

The Statement of Principles is an outline for a conservative approach to America’s criminal justice system signed by more than 70 prominent conservative thought-leaders, including former governors, senators, attorneys general, as well as media, activist and think-tank voices.

Hutchinson, who said in March of this year that, “it is time for a comprehensive review of the criminal justice system,” later outlined substantial conservative reforms in his policy proposal, “Asa Plan for a Safer Arkansas,” including enhanced accountability and supervision for parolees and more effective re-entry programs. The Governor-elect has supported Right on Crime at public events, and appeared on television to promote the campaign.

Marc Levin, Policy Director at Right on Crime, said:

We are delighted that Asa Hutchinson will bring his remarkable record of visionary leadership and vast expertise in public safety to the Governor’s mansion in Arkansas.  Since signing on to the Right on Crime Statement of Principles, he has been incredibly helpful in our efforts, including testifying on behalf of Right on Crime before the Canadian parliament. We look forward to working with him in his new capacity to improve the criminal justice system in Arkansas.

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Right On Crime is the one-stop source for conservative ideas on criminal justice. It is a project of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, the American Conservative Union Foundation and the Prison Fellowship.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Kevin McVicker with Shirley & Banister Public Affairs at (703) 739-5920 or [email protected]

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Georgia Approves Aggressive Blueprint for Prisoner Reentry Initiative

Georgia criminal justice reform will push the pedal hard over the next several months with rapid expansion of the state’s prisoner reentry initiative. Millions of federal grant dollars will become seed money for fifteen pilot project sites starting now through the 2017 calendar year. The goal is to give released inmates a better chance to succeed when they go outside the walls.

“If we really want to impact statewide recidivism reduction we’ve got to make sure we are targeting our resources on the right individuals and, by the way, the right interventions as well,” says Jay Neal, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Transition, Support and Reentry.

The state Council on Criminal Justice Reform voted to approve a three-year prisoner reentry initiative (GA-PRI) when it met this week in Atlanta. The Council also approved a presentation Georgia will make during a Pew Charitable Trusts conference next month in San Diego.

 

Continue Reading at MikeKleinOnline.com

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Breitbart Texas: Reform Efforts Should Be Judged by Success Rate and Recidivism, Not Simply Economics

Breitbart Texas covers the discussion on criminal justice reform at this year’s TribFest in Austin, Texas, which featured Right on Crime Senior Policy Analyst Vikrant Reddy. According to the article, Reddy”praised the legislature for using offender outcomes to judge the success of their programs, instead of solely looking at budget savings. Improvements in recidivism rates, restitution to victims, education advancements by offenders, and successful completion of drug and behavioral treatment all factored into improved public safety beyond any budget line.”

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas has made great progress in the area of criminal justice reform, but there is still a long way to go. That was the consensus message from a panel discussion earlier last month at the University of Texas at Austin, as reform advocates from the left and right, a state representative, and a man incarcerated for nearly twenty five years for a crime he did not commit, shared their thoughts with an audience of journalists, professors, students, and activists interested in criminal justice reform at the Texas Tribune’s annual Texas Tribune Festival.

The panel, titled “What’s Next for Criminal Justice Reform?” was moderated by Bill Keller, editor-in-chief of The Marshall Project, a non-profit news website that focuses on criminal justice issues. Panelists included  Vikrant Reddy, senior policy analyst with the Center for Effective Justice at the Texas Public Policy FoundationMichael Morton, who was wrongfully convicted of the murder of his wife and spent nearly 25 years in prison before being exonerated in 2011, State Representative James White (R-Woodville), Vice-Chairman of the House Corrections Committee, and Ana Yáñez-Correa, Executive Director of the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition.

Continue reading at Breitbart Texas.

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Giving Kids Adult Records: Cohen and Fowler in the Dallas Morning News

The Dallas Morning News published a piece by Right on Crime policy analyst Derek Cohen and Deborah Fowler, deputy director for Texas Appleseed. They write that, despite large criminal justice reform waves sweeping across Texas, there is still one area where government over reach and inefficiency is apparent. Truancy, previously a minor misbehavior dealt with by parents and teachers, is today a crime that can earn a child an adult record. This process hurts the child, damages families, and has stunts economic growth. Handing out criminal records for behavior like truancy lowers the likelihood of the child getting a job and raises the likelihood of future welfare support.

Texas is one of only two states (the other is Wyoming) that employ the criminal justice system to punish truancy. The Texas Education Code — the body of law that regulates the activity of all educational institutions in the state — empowers school districts to file a criminal complaint against a child as young as 10 who has missed three days of school. After 10 missed days within a six-month period, however, the district’s discretion is removed and it is required to file against the child.

This is known as “Failure to Attend School,” or FTAS, a Class C misdemeanor that can carry up to $500 in fines and leave an indelible mark on the child’s criminal record. These fines are levied all too often on low-income families who don’t have the savings to pay them. If a child or parent is unable to pay the $500, or if the child misses one more day after adjudication, he or she can face jail time for the violation of a valid court order. In addition to the burden this places on families, the criminalization of truancy is a drain on limited court resources.

In addition, NBC News affiliate KXAN-Austin interviewed Cohen on the issue of truancy in Texas schools. Watch the clip below.

 

 

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