Wisconsin County to Launch Community Court Pilot Program
Thanks to a $600,000 federal grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Dane County (which includes the city of Madison) will fund a four-year pilot program to divert low-level offenders from incarceration.
The community court model will be based in part on the Brooklyn-based Red Hook Community Justice Center. Since 2000, the center consolidates different types of cases under one roof (a refurbished Catholic school instead of a courthouse) and one judge. In lieu of incarceration, the judge orders community restitution projects, enrollment in drug treatment, and participation in peacemaking sessions. Since 2015, when Dane County officials had a chance to visit the New York center, there has been an effort to bring a similar program to Wisconsin.
Although the Dane County community court will more than likely not have its own in-house judge like the Red Hook program, the program will be able to utilize judges and prosecutors currently operating in the local community.
For more information, check out the linked article by Channel 3000.
Ohio Proposal Seeks to Require Jails and Prisons to Provide Menstrual Products
After becoming aware of reports of a lack of menstrual products in state prisons, Rep. Latyna Humphrey introduced a bill (HB 743) that would require the state to provide said products in jails and prisons and to implement policies that would not restrict access based on race, sex, gender identity, income status, degree of charge, or disability status.
Although the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction says these products are available to offenders for free, state law does not explicitly require correctional facilities to carry said products.
For more information, check out the linked article by the Ohio Capitol Journal.
Nebraska Lawmakers Intend to Make List of Problematic Law Enforcement Officers Public
Following repeated defeats in the 2021 and 2022 sessions, Sen. Terry McKinney and Sen. Justin Wayne are hoping to pass a proposal next year that would publicize a list of police officers who have a history of misconduct or who have previously lied while under oath.
The lawmakers are using the precedent set in the U.S. Supreme Court case Brady v. Maryland (1963) — a ruling which requires prosecutors to share with the defense a list of non-credible police officers when relevant — to justify their initiative and to confront the phenomena of non-credible officers continuing to serve and be promoted outside of public knowledge.
Opponents argue the initiative would only serve to embarrass officers without providing necessary context.
For more information, check out the linked article by the Lincoln Journal Star.
South Dakota County Finds Success with a Native American Influenced Community Court
Known as the Oyate Court, a collaboration between the Pennington County (which includes Rapid City) state's attorney's office and the Lakota Nation allows for Indigenous offenders of nonviolent, low-level offenses to seek a diversion from incarceration.
Operating in the area since last spring, the court emphasizes rehabilitation techniques based in Native American traditions of peacemaking — including sessions on accountability, forgiveness, and apologizing for one's actions. Full compliance with a diversion program can result in an offender's charges being dropped and their record expunged.
For more information, check out the linked article by the Guardian.