Connecticut’s Second-Chance Society – The New York Times

One day last month, Dannel Malloy, the governor of Connecticut, was sitting with a small group of inmates at a New Haven jail, where he had gone to announce a new job-training program for prisoners nearing their release date.“We’ve got to develop a society that’s a little more forgiving and you’ve got to fly right,” Mr. Malloy said to the men, according to The New Haven Register. Taken together, these two ideas capture the essence of the reformist philosophy Mr. Malloy has brought to Connecticut’s criminal justice system during his five years in office.Under his leadership Connecticut has repealed the death penalty, legalized medical marijuana, and passed some of the strictest gun laws in the country. And over the past 12 months, the state has become a remarkably productive laboratory for justice reform as Mr. Malloy continues to push for government transparency, societal mercy and individual responsibility.

Source: Connecticut’s Second-Chance Society – The New York Times

How Gun Traffickers Get Around State Gun Laws – The New York Times

“In California, some gun smugglers use FedEx. In Chicago, smugglers drive just across the state line into Indiana, buy a gun and drive back. In Orlando, Fla., smugglers have been known to fill a $500 car with guns and send it on a ship to crime rings in Puerto Rico.In response to mass shootings in the last few years, more than 20 states, including some of the nation’s biggest, have passed new laws restricting how people can buy and carry guns. Yet the effect of those laws has been significantly diluted by a thriving underground market for firearms brought from states with few restrictions.”

Source: How Gun Traffickers Get Around State Gun Laws – The New York Times

Confirm President Obama’s Judges. Republicans angry at President Obama are blocking votes on qualified nominees, even as a backlog of court cases grows. nytimes.com|By THE EDITORIAL BOARD

My comment at the NYT, better read after the excellent editorial bellow.
I don’t find the behavior of the Republicans here blocking judicial nominations juvenile, I find it Orwellian, tending to fascism.
Five Stars for Tom Friedman last week, who wrote: “And the new House speaker, Paul Ryan, who isn’t even running, has joined in. Ryan described Obama’s decision to kill the Keystone XL pipeline project as “sickening,” adding: “If the president wants to spend the rest of his time in office catering to special interests, that’s his choice to make. But it’s just wrong.
That is truly Orwellian: At a time when the G.O.P. has become a wholly owned subsidiary of the oil and gas industry, Ryan accuses Obama of catering to special interests; he calls the president’s decision to block a pipeline to transport tar sands oil, one of the dirtiest fuels in the world, “sickening” and labels combating climate change a “special interest.” This guy belongs in the Republican debates.”
Orwellian behavior involves deceit or skulduggery for the growth of one faction against another. It is the opposite of true respect for the democratic process. I think what we are seeing from this group of Republicans, is behavior that would destroy the democracy if it could, since it has no respect for that democracy.

Republicans angry at President Obama are blocking votes on qualified nominees, even as a backlog of court cases grows.
nytimes.com|By THE EDITORIAL BOARD

A Criminal Record and a Fair Shot at a Job – The New York Times

“Nineteen states and 100 cities and counties forbid public agencies — and in some cases, private businesses — to ask job applicants about criminal convictions until later in the application process, when they have had a fair chance to prove their qualifications. Last week, President Obama added the weight of the federal government to this movement when he ordered federal agencies to stop asking most people about convictions at the outset.He should not stop there. The president could send another powerful message by issuing an executive order that extends the fair-chance requirement to government contractors and that uses the approach that has been laid out by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Without employment, after all, people who have served time in jail will remain trapped at the margins of society.”

Source: A Criminal Record and a Fair Shot at a Job – The New York Times

Detroit Businesswomen Team Up to Get Rape Kits Tested – The New York Times

“In 2009, a Wayne County assistant prosecuting attorney noticed thousands of rape kits stacked on the shelves of a Detroit Police Department storage facility. The kits are used to collect and store DNA evidence obtained from sexual assault survivors. These particular kits had been in storage for up to 30 years, and their contents had never been processed or properly investigated.When the kits were discovered, Kym L. Worthy, the head of the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, “knew that they all had to be tested, even the ones that were beyond the statute of limitations,” she says. “I wanted to try to bring justice to each and every one of those victims that I could.”But she was facing a major financial challenge. Typically, the cost of processing one rape kit is $1,500; testing 11,341 kits would cost about $17 million. That did not include the expense of hiring more investigators and then prosecuting the cases, a process that would most likely cost at least $10 million more. At the time, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office only had three sex crimes investigators on staff.”

Source: Detroit Businesswomen Team Up to Get Rape Kits Tested – The New York Times

Black anti-crime activism in the ’60s and ’70s helped pave the way for our current system of draconian drug laws and mass incarceration. nytimes.com|By Michael Javen Fortner

There were many good comments after this piece, including: John Graubard New York 5 hours ago

“The history of “law enforcement” in Black neighborhoods has gone through several iterations, none of them good.

Up until about 1960 the policy was basically for the police to (a) close their eyes to low-level criminal activity there, (b) act as an enforcement arm for white-controlled organized crime by preventing local competition, and (c) strictly enforce the laws when a Black man committed a crime outside the Ghetto. (For those of us who can remember, it was as if a wall existed on East 96th Street, white to the south, Black to the north.)

Then we had the Rockefeller Drug Laws. The first was for civil commitment, but when that did not work we had the punitive laws that basically put everyone involved away for a long, long time.

Then came the “broken windows policy” and stop-and-frisk, which did get some career criminals off the street, but also fed into the perception, whether or not true, of a New Jim Crow through the unequal enforcement of the laws.

What we need is something simple – fair, reasonable and equal enforcement of the law, along with decriminalization of simple drug possession. Of course, unfortunately, that has never been tried.”

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Black anti-crime activism in the ’60s and ’70s helped pave the way for our current system of draconian drug laws and mass incarceration.
nytimes.com|By Michael Javen Fortner

What BP Taught Takata – Joe Nocera, The New York Times

“But the plaintiffs’ lawyers, unhappy at being cut out of the action, brought their own lawsuit and eventually cut a $7.8 billion deal with BP, which included replacing Feinberg with a local lawyer named Patrick Juneau. The company then got a good dose of old-style Louisiana home cooking, as Juneau began approving claims that had nothing to do with the oil spill — such as $172,000 to a Louisiana lawyer who had lost his business license the year before the spill, according to a brief BP submitted to the Supreme Court.”

via What BP Taught Takata – The New York Times.

Police Union Officials are colluding in organized crime and murder.

“In Baltimore, the local police union president accused protesters angry at the death of Freddie Gray of participating in a “lynch mob.” In South Carolina, the head of the police union where an officer had shot and killed an unarmed black man who was fleeing fulminated against “professional race agitators.” ……..”
These Police Union Officials who attack prosecutors for trying to bring police officers to justice for murder, should be arrested and tried for aiding and colluding in organized crime and murder.

Police Struggle With Loss of Privileged Position – NYTimes.com.

Charles Blow describes two black men freed from death row after 30 years, declared innocent.

Charles Blow: “Faith in the system is the bedrock of the system. Without it, the system is drained of its inviolable authority. This is the danger America now faces.

After George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin through the chest and walked free. After there was no indictment of the officer who choked the life out of Eric Garner on video. After an officer shot and killed John Crawford in an Ohio Walmart as he walked around the store with an air rifle he’d picked up off the store’s own shelves, and another officer grilled his girlfriend until she cried, “accusing her of lying, threatening her with jail time and suggesting she could be on drugs,” according to CNN.”

Then Blow describes two black men freed from death row after 30 years. Each had been jailed by unscrupulous police and prosecutors. These scoundrels should have to do as much time behind bars as the innocent men they framed.

Charges against six Baltimore police officers may be one step in repairing the system.
nytimes.com|By Charles M. Blow

Nichholas Kristof in NYT: When Baltimore Burned

Saint Nich:”We’ve had months of police incidents touching on a delicate subtext of race, but it’s not clear that we’re learning lessons. Once again, I suggest that it’s time for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to step back and explore racial inequity in America.

The real crisis isn’t one night of young men in the street rioting. It’s something perhaps even more inexcusable — our own complacency at the systematic long-term denial of equal opportunity to people based on their skin color and ZIP code.”

The real crisis isn’t one night of young men in the street rioting, it’s our long-term denial of equal opportunity to people based on their skin color and ZIP code.
nytimes.com|By Nicholas Kristof