News Briefs

Sacramento – The wardens at two California women’s prisons have retired as allegations of sexual abuse, suicides, unneeded force, derogatory names and retaliations against inmates who complained as well as staged fights are being investigated, The Associated Press reports. CDCR told the AP that the Secretary is committed to making necessary changes at both prisons.

Arizona – In an apparent violation of state regulations, Correctional Corporation of America, the largest for-profit prison company in the country, is failing to report cases of Valley Fever among Hawaii prisoners at the Saguaro Correctional Center, Honolulu Civil Beat reports.

Missouri – The state’s lead public defender, Michael Barrett, is using a provision of state law that allows him, in extraordinary circumstances, to delegate legal representation “to any member of the state bar,” which includes Governor Jay Nixon. Barrett has appointed Nixon to represent an indigent defendant in Cole County, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

St. Louis, Mo. – Kimberly Gardner won the Democratic primary on Aug 2, making her potentially the first African-American to be the city’s circuit attorney, Political Fix reports.

Arkansas – Prison officials say to curb drug smuggling, newspaper clippings mailed to inmates in state prisons are contraband and destroyed, Arkansas Online reports.

Baton Rouge, La – A lawsuit was filed July 1 seeking to restore the voting rights for some 70,000 residents who are on probation or parole for felonies. The suit alleges that state laws preventing people who are on parole or probation from voting violates the Louisiana Constitution, The Associated Press reports.

Harrisburg, Pa. – The state’s Corrections Secretary John Wetzel said Arthur Johnson could not be placed with the mainline population because he still has it in him to try to escape and still has the capacity to kill during the attempt, phillynews.com reports. In a hearing before a federal judge, the former head of prisons, Martin Horn, said it was time to end the 64-year-old Johnson’s 37-year stay in solitary confinement to a 7-by-12 foot cell, 23 hours a day.

Trenton, NJ – The state senate advanced a bill in late June that would strictly limit the use of solitary confinement in the state’s jails and prisons, NJ Advance Media reports.

Delaware – The state’s high court ruled on Aug 2 that the state’s death penalty statute is unconstitutional, as judges were able to override the jury’s recommendation of life in prison and impose the death penalty, in violation of the Sixth Amendment, The Christian Science Monitor reports. The court ruled the jury, not judges, have the final say in imposing the death penalty.

Washington, DC – Pres. Barack Obama commuted the sentences of 214 people on Aug 3, bringing his total number of commutations to 562, Politico reports. The commutations include 67 people who were facing life sentences. Obama has granted more commutations than his nine most recent predecessor combined, White House Counsel, Neil Eggleston blogged.

Washington, DC – Two-thirds of young Blacks and four in 10 Hispanics say that they or someone they know has experienced violence or harassment at the hands of the police, according to the latest GenForward poll. But the poll also shows that young people still want a police presence in their communities.

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