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SMART JUSTICE IN KANSAS

We’re choosing to be optimistic about the pending Kansas Criminal Justice Reform Commission. Indeed, the problems of our justice system require an overhaul. We need a broad approach to policy changes, rather than a piecemeal one. Decisions based on data over ideology could be a huge step forward for a fairer, rational criminal justice system. Criminal Justice Task Force In Kansas Could Tackle The Bigger Picture (The Hays Post)

Lowering fines for marijuana possession and acknowledging that people of color are disproportionately arrested for marijuana possession? Yes, please, Lawrence! Lawrence lowers fines for marijuana possession (13 WIBW)

Opinion: More prosecutors should choose diversion over incarceration. (The Wichita Eagle)

“Hundreds of times weekly, prosecutors negotiate plea deals with misdemeanor defendants who lack counsel and may agree to unfair dispositions.” Prosecutors must maintain ethical conduct during misdemeanor plea deals, ABA ethics opinion says (ABA Journal)

 

REDUCING SENTENCING

We need to rethink misdemeanor justice, considering solutions such as re-routing low-level violations from criminal to civil court and offering diversion programs. Why We Need to Rethink Misdemeanor Justice (Governing Magazine)

 

 

RESTORATIVE JUSTICE

What can we learn from Germany's prison system, where loss of liberty is the full punishment, incarceration is a last resort after community-based sanctions, and a modern criminal justice system confronts the truth of its horrific history? Out From the Holocaust (The Marshall Project)

 

 

BAIL REFORM

Detaining low-risk defendants before they face trial is expensive and disproportionately targets low-income Americans who lack financial resources. Beyond financial costs, pre-trial detention increases the likelihood that defendants will plead guilty simply to return to their jobs and families sooner, but in the long run, these defendants suffer serious economic damage. Our Bail System Costs the Country 15 Billion Per Year (Pacific Standard)

 

 

MENTAL HEALTH

The Bureau of Prisons set higher standards for psychiatric care. But instead of helping more inmates, the agency dropped thousands of inmates who needed treatment from its caseload. Treatment Denied: The Mental Health Crisis in Federal Prisons (The Marshall Project)

If we “can’t afford” to expand mental health and drug treatment, should we really be spending $7 million on extra offices for prosecutors? Opinion: Let’s hit the pause button on more space for prosecutors (The Wichita Eagle)Let’s hit the pause button on more space for prosecutors (The Wichita Eagle)