Prison System

The Office of the Pardon Attorney and Clemency Website

Struggling to Fix A “Broken” System Washington Post December 5, 2015

“After (Attorney General Eric) Holder and then-Deputy Attorney General James Cole began the effort in the spring of 2014, thousands of inmates applied. To help them with their petitions, outside lawyers formed an organization called Clemency Project 2014.” When she began in the Spring of 2015, Former Attorney General “Sally Yates oversaw a “Clemency Initiative, which has resulted in the early release of 1,176 drug offenders who were sentenced under the severe mandatory minimum laws passed in the 1980s and 1990s during the nation’s “war on drugs.” More than 400 were serving life sentences. In November, for instance, she created a semiautonomous “school district” for inmates in federal prison. With its own superintendent, the school district offers programs for literacy, high school diplomas and postsecondary education.” Fmr. Attorney General Sally Yates “cited research that shows that inmates participating in correctional education programs are 43 percent less likely to reoffend and return to prison than those who do not participate; the initiative could mean cost savings for the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Federal prison costs represent about one-third of the Justice Department’s $27 billion annual budget.
Last year, Yates also oversaw the effort to mandate new standards for privately run halfway houses and directed the Bureau of Prisons to work to end its use of private prisons to house federal inmates. It is unclear whether these initiatives will remain in place, especially given that Trump has praised private prisons. Hours after his (Trump’s) election victory, the stock prices of the two largest private-prison companies soared.”
The Koch brothers supported Yates’s sentencing reform efforts.  Washington Post January 16, 2017

When Less is More

How putting fewer people on probation and parole can
reduce prison populations, save money and keep us safer.   The Marshall Project (Nonprofit journalism about Criminal Justice)

“IN THE NATIONAL DISCUSSION about reducing mass incarceration, the 4.7 million people on probation and parole are often overlooked. That’s too bad, because “mass supervision” — one out of every 52 adults is watched, twice as many as are locked up in America – is a deprivation of liberty in its own right and has become a major contributor to incarceration. That’s the bad news.

The good news is contained in a new report produced under the auspices of the Program in Criminal Justice Policy at Harvard Kennedy School and a “Statement on the Future of Community Corrections” to be issued Monday at a press conference in New York by the nation’s leading probation and parole officials. They explain how we can both reduce the number of people under supervision and make our communities safer.” The Marshall Project  August 28, 2017