How to help fix mass incarceration

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Re: How to help fix mass incarceration

Postby XxSpyKEx » Wed May 06, 2015 3:07 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Agree, but some states restrict employers from asking about convictions beyond a certain number of years (e.g., 10 years from the completion of all requirements of one's sentence).

It all depends on the state; although, most don't provide very strong protections against employment discrimination based on prior criminal convictions. For example, in Wisconsin, under the Wisconsin’s Fair Employment Act, employers are prohibited from discriminating in hiring decisions based on an applicant’s arrest or criminal record on the same basis as age, race, creed, color, disability, marital status, sex, national origin, and ancestry. So, essentially, a prior criminal record is treated the same as a protected class in Wisconsin. But Wisconsin is definitely NOT the typical state.

CanadianWolf wrote:Some states allow convicted felons to vote, while others don't. First step toward change , in my opinion, is to allow all convicted felons the right to vote upon completion of all sentence requirements.

I agree with that. (Should include the right to vote in federal elections as well.) I heard in some European countries they even let felons vote while they're in prison. Wouldn't really ever expect something like that to happen here, but the disenfranchisement of all felons even after they complete their sentence is kind of ridiculous.

CanadianWolf wrote:As far as job placement for felons after completing job training, tax credits would be a strong incentive.

Michigan does something like this. (Although, Michigan needs to do that because of Detroit.)

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Re: How to help fix mass incarceration

Postby Traynor Brah » Wed May 06, 2015 3:10 pm

kevgogators wrote:Less than 1% of the U.S. population is incarcerated...I've never understood this 'boy cried wolf' mentality.


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Re: How to help fix mass incarceration

Postby Traynor Brah » Wed May 06, 2015 3:20 pm

Does anyone have "free will" or "choice," Nony?

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Re: How to help fix mass incarceration

Postby TasmanianToucan » Wed May 06, 2015 3:22 pm

1) Improve the education system so that people are trained for jobs they have a chance of getting, so that crime does not appeal as a way to make a living.

2) Improve access to mental health care, with an emphasis on preventative measures, so that the mentally ill don't act out criminally.

3) Reform sentencing laws so that fewer non-violent crimes carry prison sentences.

That's the "what." If you can figure out the "how," I'd be happy to vote for you, whether or not you're an attorney.

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Re: How to help fix mass incarceration

Postby arose928 » Wed May 06, 2015 5:37 pm

I think there's so many ways. That's part of what excites me about mass incarceration work, because there's so much that can be done. It's not rocket science. Sentencing reform (revise sentencing guidelines, mandatory minimums). Diversion programs. Restorative justice. Reentry programs. Reduce collateral consequences. The solutions exist, and I think are actually cheaper than whatever we're doing now, so it seems like we just have to find the political/social will to do it. As someone said before, we just did it in California with Prop 47, a measure that reduced a bunch of felonies to misdemeanors (and applies retroactively, so anyone currently incarcerated for one of those charges can apply and be immediately released). That was an initiative put on the ballot and approved by voters so a politican didn't have to take a stand and look light on crime or whatever.

My plan is to do PD/legal aid for a few years to see the grind and the system close up and figure out which aspect of it I want to tackle. Then shift to a more systems level job that is focusing on some sort of reform. So, that's one way lawyers can do it.

FWIW I've talked to prosecutors who said they were on that side because they hoped to push more lenient sentencing or plea bargains and found they were actually trapped, you don't have sole discretion to charge whatever you want. And like someone said a few posts up, PDs aren't necessarily equipped in that position to do anything to stem the flow.

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Re: How to help fix mass incarceration

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 07, 2015 1:31 pm

Subject law enforcement agencies to cost-benefit analysis.

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Re: How to help fix mass incarceration

Postby rouser » Thu May 07, 2015 11:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:So, let's say your goal is to diminish the system of mass incarceration in the US. What's the best way for a lawyer to do that? Criminal defense? Prosecution (on the theory that a fair prosecutor can do more good than a good defense attorney)? Innocence project? Politics?

Interested in others' thoughts.

politics is the only area for an att'y to truly make a 'big difference.'

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