Pick 6 (05/17/2015)

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Hello friends. Today marks 61 years after the Brown v. Board decision, the Supreme Court decision that outlawed school segregation and declared that separate schools are inherently unequal. We’re back with our weekly feature–Pick 6. Our Pick 6 consists of 6 informative, insightful reentry & criminal justice-related news articles and commentaries that we’ve been following throughout the week. We welcome your thoughts and feedback, so don’t be shy!

1.) After Baltimore and Ferguson, Major Momentum for Criminal Justice System Reform (NPR)

“Lawmakers working on fixes to the justice system say that unrest in places like Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore is pushing them to act. ‘The whole idea of a young man dying in police custody, the confrontations with police, the looting and burning of innocent minority owned businesses,” Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn said on the Senate floor this month. ‘The question arises, what can we do?’ There’s an unusual bipartisan consensus in Washington on the need to overhaul the justice system. Presidential candidates from both political parties are talking about how to reduce the prison population and lawmakers are negotiating on legislation designed to do just that.”

See also: No 1 Public Enemy of Criminal Justice Reform: The Election (The New York Times)

2.) L.A County considers giving edge to contractors hiring ex-offenders (LA Times)

“Los Angeles County supervisors agreed Tuesday to consider giving an edge on county contracts to companies that hire former jail or prison inmates.

“The county already seeks to award 25% of its contracts to businesses owned by women, minorities and disabled veterans, and last year passed a policy requiring contractors to make a “good faith” effort to hire veterans.”

3.) Yes, the justice system is bloated. But these 2 areas are still tragically underfunded (The Week)

“If you really want to fix the injustices in the system, you’ll actually need to increase spending in some places, at least in the short term. These areas run the gamut from food and health care for inmates, to staffing and retirement benefits for prison staff.”

4.) Incarceration to Convocation (The Daily Californian)

“‘I’m a creature of habit. If I have to work out at 7 in the morning, I have to work out every day at 7 in the morning,” Murillo said. “That’s how I function.’ Murillo keeps himself on a set schedule because he has trouble with unstructured time — a concept with which he has had limited experience in his adult life. He spent 14 years in prison, six of which were in solitary confinement, before making his way to UC Berkeley.”

5.) Time to face truth about poverty in America (CNN)

“Black Americans are almost three times more likely to live in poverty than white Americans.”

6.) Maya Schenwar, Stop Punishing People for Poverty: Abolish Bail (Truth Out)

“Why are so many people – particularly poor people of color – in jail awaiting trial in the first place? Usually, it is because they cannot afford bail. According to a 2011 report by the city’s Independent Budget Office, 79 percent of pretrial detainees were sent to Rikers because they couldn’t post bail right away. This is a national problem. Across the United States, most of the people incarcerated in local jails have not been convicted of a crime but are awaiting trial. And most of those are waiting in jail not because of any specific risk they have been deemed to pose, but because they can’t pay their bail. In other words, we are locking people up for being poor. This is unjust. We should abolish monetary bail outright.”

Audio of the week) Former Prisoners Struggle to Find Jobs (KQED)

On Friday, our Founder & Executive Director, Katherine Katcher was live on the air KQED calling in about the launch of our CA wide “Roadmap to Reentry” guide and the multiple barriers people face in reentry!

Report of the week) Callous and Cruel: Use of Force against Inmates with Mental Disabilities in US Prisons and Jails (Human Rights Watch, May, 12 2015)

Resource of the week)

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 6.51.54 PM

This week Root & Rebound released the first-ever California legal guide for people in reentry across California and all those who support them. Please visit: www.rootandrebound.org/roadmap for more information. Please spread the word!

Image of the week)

Copyright: New York Magazine

Copyright: New York Magazine

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