INSIDE:  New Jersey looks to drop mandatory minimums for some nonviolent crimes; Texas program is seeing positive results for people with mental illnesses in Harris County; California seeks more power to scrutinize local jails 
Trending criminal justice news from across the 50 states, presented by The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center
 Friday, Nov. 15, 2019 Edited by Allen Houston

1. NJ Seeks To Ease Transition For Former Inmates With Prison Reforms
NEW JERSEY:  A commission jump-started by Gov. Phil Murphy recommended nine changes to sentencing policy Thursday including retroactively eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug and property crimes, reducing time served for second-degree robbery and burglary and reworking youth sentences.  Murphy wants the Legislature to craft the bills and send them to him in the next two months.

Nov. 15, 2019 |

2. Whitmer Wants To Slash Opioid-Related Deaths By 50% In Five Years

MICHIGAN: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer rolled out new efforts Thursday to combat the growing opioid epidemic in Michigan and it includes a lofty goal of cutting the number of opioid-related deaths in half in the next five years.
Nov. 14, 2019 |

3. Florida Appeals Decision To Shorten Prison Shifts To 8-hour Shifts  

FLORIDA: The wrangling over the work hours stems from shift reductions initiated in 2018 by former Gov. Rick Scott’s administration. Corrections officials maintain the shift-hour modifications are necessary to save money and make prisons safer.
Nov. 14, 2019 |

4. Harris Co. Program Lowers Jail Costs, Population But Cuts Out Punishment

TEXAS:  Hundreds of low-level, mentally ill offenders cycle in and out the Harris County jail each year. A first-of-its-kind program in Texas, though, is cutting costs and cutting out punishment.

Nov. 14, 2019 | KHOU-11

5. Pressley Goes Ginormous On Criminal Justice Reform

MASSACHUSETTS: The wide-ranging resolution calls for reducing jail and prison populations, ending solitary confinement, a cap on prison sentences for all crimes, expanding mental and substance abuse treatment, improving reentry services, prohibiting company profits off of immigrant detention, and limiting firearm sales. The list of initiatives goes on and on.

Nov. 14, 2019 | CommonWealth Magazine

6. We Investigated The Crisis In California's Jails. Now, The Governor Calls For More Oversight

CALIFORNIA: Faced with a surge of homicides in some of California’s largest jails, inmates held in inhumane suicide-watch conditions and elected sheriffs who rebuff state inspectors, Gov. Gavin Newsom is crafting plans that would give the state more power to oversee local sheriffs and the lockups they run.

Nov. 14, 2019 | ProPublica

7. Mass Incarceration In The Deep South 

ALABAMA: Just last month, the Alabama Department of Corrections announced the death of three inmates within the span of eight days.
Nov. 14, 2019 | NPR

8. Oklahoma's First Lady Welcomes Commuted Workers To Centennial House

OKLAHOMA: “It's not just a job. It's an opportunity to have a different life. The ball is ultimately in your court. You're making that choice, and sometimes that choice is the hardest thing,” said Stitt.
Nov. 14, 2019 | News9
State of Justice is a twice-weekly roundup of the latest in criminal justice reporting from the states, curated by the team at the CSG Justice Center.

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