Plea bargains save time and money but are too easily abused
As an American idea spreads, innocent people are at risk
The elements that make up a criminal-justice system are familiar from a thousand courtroom dramas. Detectives interview witnesses and examine crime scenes. Forensic scientists coax secrets from bloodstains and cigarette ash. Judges and juries weigh the facts and pronounce on guilt and innocence.
But in many countries, behind this system lies a quicker, rougher one. It is plea-bargaining, in which prosecutors press lesser charges or ask for a lighter sentence in return for a defendant pleading guilty or incriminating others. Long crucial to the operation of American justice, this shadow system is now going global. ...
THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
Road to RedemptionFormerly incarcerated residents struggle to rebuild their lives and overcome the stigma of serving time.By Cooper Levey-Baker 8/28/2017 at 5:00am Published in the September 2017 issue of Sarasota Magazine
America locks up more of its citizens than any other country on earth. Home to 4.4 percent of the world’s population, the United States is also home to 22 percent of the world’s prisoners, a population that has increased fivefold in the last 40 years. More than 6.7 million Americans, one out of every 37 citizens, are under some type of correctional control, and more than 2.2 million are in a state or federal prison or local jail.
Almost all of them will at some point get out. Each year, 650,000 people are released from federal and state prisons.
Around half of all the inmates put on parole in the U.S. end up violating the terms of their release and are sent back to prison. But across the country, states are trying to change the way their parole systems work in an effort to lower recidivism rates and reduce prison populations.
A new documentary called Life on Parole, FRONTLINE and The New York Times go inside one state, Connecticut, to examine its ongoing effort to rethink parole: a condition that offers a taste of freedom but comes with strict prohibitions on whom you can live with, where you can go, what time you have to be home and more.
“Most people who are in prison in America will one day be released on parole,” says Matthew O’Neill, the Oscar®-nominated and Emmy®-winning director of Life on Parole. “And as Connecticut brings its prison population down and attempts to give parolees more chances to succeed, we wanted to see if the experience of the parolees reflected these changes.”
"With unique access inside Connecticut’s corrections system, as well as camera-phone footage filmed by the parolees themselves, the film follows four former prisoners as they navigate the challenges of more than a year on parole — from finding work, to staying sober, to parenting — and doing it all while under intense supervision from the state:"
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From Mom's United - Gift Giving this year can include buying gifts for mom's @ Logan to give their kids.
Woot! More items purchased! More art kits and farm toys and play houses and Black Panther action figures and more headed to Logan prison for moms to pick out and give to their kids during visits next month. Many thanks to those uplifting and/or donating. Over 200,000 women will spend the holidays in prisons and jails and over 1 million under the restrictive conditions of EM, parole and probation. You can do a simple but meaningful thing to show solidarity and support: bit.ly/HolidaySolidarity4
October is Youth Justice Action Month, so let’s take stock of what we’ve learned about our juvenile justice system just this year.
About 50,000 youth are caught in a system that disproportionately imprisons African Americans and Latinos. Some teens, including Dequan Jackson, are kept behind bars not because they are a danger to society but because they cannot afford court fees. Others experience appalling treatment: just last month in Kentucky, staff allegedly stood idly by as a 16-year-old had a seizure and died in custody. Far too often, juvenile offenders are housed in facilities—like Wisconsin’s Lincoln Hills, which is under federal investigation for abuse—that could leave them worse off.
These stories are heartbreaking, but they need not be disheartening. Coupled with awareness of the problems should be awareness of the tremendous progress being made to change the way our juvenile justice system operates. Advocates across the country are hard at work to create more effective, humane alternatives that will help young offenders stay out of the criminal justice system as adults.
Podcast: Some Cook County Judges Often Deny Public Defenders When Defendants Post Bond - Heffernan WBEZ
Peter McCray sat in a Cook County courtroom in June after being charged with illegal possession of a prescription painkiller — a felony. He faced up to three years in prison.
He knew he had to pay $1,000 to get out of jail until his case was resolved. But what he didn’t know is that some Cook County judges often deny access to a free court-appointed lawyer, known as a public defender, once bond is posted. McCray got one of those judges.
WBEZ recently went to numerous courtrooms throughout Cook County and saw some judges routinely deny a public defender based on whether a defendant posted bond, a practice that some legal experts said is unconstitutional. This practice can add further financial burdens on cash-strapped defendants and even compromise their access to a fair trial, lawyers and criminal justice advocates said. Judges were advised by Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans in 2013 to stop denying public defenders purely on whether a defendant posted bond, but some judges have ignored Evans.
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Learning asks us to change – so that the world might be a place for all are free to thrive