- 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.
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.
Posted by Gritsforbreakfast at 11:58 AM