Sunday, April 24, 2016

HIV rates highest in Huntsville, and other stories

Just to clear my browser tabs, here are a few odds and ends that merit Grits readers' attention.
  • Walker County is the administrative and historical epicenter of the Texas prison system. It also is the county with the highest HIV prevalence rate in the state and nation, by far. This news brings to mind a study Grits mentioned awhile back which found that, "Areas surrounding Texas Department of Criminal Justice prison facilities have higher HIV rates than those that do not." That study found that, “With increasing distance from TDCJ prison units, the HIV infection rate of the general public decreases.”
  • Brandi Grissom at the Dallas News had a story on mentally ill people waiting months in jail for compentency restoration services at Texas state mental hospitals.
  • At The Nation, Debbie Nathan takes a deep dive into "What happened to Sandra Bland?"
  • The Texas Inmate Family Association has launched a petition calling for expansion of diligent participation credits toward earlier probation eligibility.
  • Bernie Tiede's new 99-year sentence raises the question, "Is life in prison just the death penalty on the installment plan?"
  • At Texas Monthly, Michael Hall reviewed the new documentary, "Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four."
  • A former federal prosecutor had a column in the Startlegram this week declaring, "Here's a path toward fixing problems with civil asset forfeiture."
  • Two economists writing in the New York Times opined that "a general rule in economics — the law of diminishing marginal benefits — applies to incarcerating additional people or adding years to sentences. Research finds that more incarceration has, at best, only a small effect on crime because our incarceration rate is already so high. As the prison population gets larger, the additional prisoner is more likely to be a less risky, nonviolent offender, and the value of incarcerating him (or, less likely, her) is low."
  • This academic paper suggests a five-part approach to confronting prosecutor misconduct including, "(1) centralized review by a statewide panel; (2) identification of misconduct through appellant opinions; (3) evaluation of the circumstances and seriousness of the misconduct; (4) tiered discipline proportionate to the misconduct; and (5) the prosecutor’s right to respond and seek modification of the discipline proposed."
  • The Republican National Committee approved a resolution calling for decarceration and criminal justice reform. 
  • Read the case for repealing the federal Prison Litigation Reform Act.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey Grits are you aware of any legislative efforts to repeal or reform AEDPA. This is one of the most abused federal statutes. Basically when a federal judge or prosecutor doesn't want to answer valid legal questions posed by state litigants(usually prose),they will just not them down with time-wasting "exhaustion" fights--basically we can't decide your case because you have not exhausted state remedies. Most prose litigants end up abandoning otherwise valid petitions

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 12:24 should find some encouragement from this Washington Post article that says AEDPA should be repealed.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2015/07/21/judge-kozinski-with-four-final-ideas-on-improving-the-criminal-justice-system/
The Clinton's are frequently attacked for the 1994 Crime Bill but nobody mentions the equally menacing 1996 AEDPA. AEDPA must be repealed.

Tsikhelashvili Zurabi said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Risking coming off as completely Un- PC, But merely stating facts...TDCJ has a VERY large number of employees that are Nigerian. Last I heard, Nigeria has an extreme issue with HIV Enough so that there is US CDC Emergency Program operating in Nigeria to address the HIV epidemic.
I think the HIV numbers being higher in TDCJ facility areas could be more than coincidence.
@Tsikhelashvili Zurabi ...a commercial for some "Doctor's" herbal remedies?? Really, Grits, how do those slip by?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

@4:45, I don't screen comments once they're posted in the first three weeks a post is up. I took it down when I saw it.

Anonymous said...

@Grits Nicely done! But, I was more wondering how they did it technologically:) I guess I'm presuming that the "Dr" was a robot.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Probably not, 7:52. Folks apparently hire humans - as near as I can tell, often from India - to post comment spam. I get a ton of it. Finally added comment moderation for older posts because spammers would go into the archives and post on hundreds of them over the course of a day or two. I don't always look at comments after the first few days.

tiapa said...

Grits, the link in the following line is broken.

Nation Inside has launched a petition calling for expansion of diligent participation credits toward earlier probation eligibility.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Thanks tiapa, fixed it.

Anonymous said...

Grits,

TIFA has launched a petition for expansion of diligent participation credits toward earlier 'PAROLE' eligibility.

Unknown said...

HIV rates show to be highest in Huntsville because that's where the office that reports cases from all prison units to the state is located. The state health department does not count offenders cases from where the offender is housed, only from the Huntsville office that reports them. This is why the numbers look higher in Huntsville.

Anonymous said...

@Unknowm 4/27/2016 I don't read that article to be about the prison population ONLY. I believe it is referring to the population as a whole. Freehold statistics. Hence my references to TDCJ EMPLOYEES
@Grits am I wrong? Are the statistics just referring to inmates?

Anonymous said...

@Unknowm 4/27/2016 I don't read that article to be about the prison population ONLY. I believe it is referring to the population as a whole. Freehold statistics. Hence my references to TDCJ EMPLOYEES
@Grits am I wrong? Are the statistics just referring to inmates?