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"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Policy for Pittsburgh Felons:  On Tuesday, Pittsburgh City Councilman Ricky Burgess introduced legislation that would rid the question "Have you ever been convicted of any felony of the law?" from city job applications.  According to Burgess, the legislation is not meant to hide one's criminal record but to encourage a conversation between the employer and the applicant about the circumstances of any conviction.  He also says the legislation would not overrule state law prohibiting public safety employees, such as police officers and firefighters, from having a felony record.  Burgess is hopeful that similar legislation spreads to other communities and businesses in Western Pennsylvania.  The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has this story.

Pew Study Shows High Recidivism Rates and a Failure in Rehabilitative Programs:
  AP writer Greg Bluestein reports on a study by the Pew Center on the recidivism rates of 41 states.  The study concluded that more than 40 percent of ex-cons commit crimes within three years of their release and are ultimately sent back to prison.  This is only a marginal improvement in the nation's recidivism rate, even though spending on corrections departments has increased to roughly $52 billion annually from around $30 billion a decade ago.  The recidivism rates show a failure in the programs and policies designed to deter re-offenders.  Adam Gelb of the Pew Center's Public Safety Performance Project says lawmakers should consider alternative sentences for nonviolent offenders.  However, the president of the National District Attorneys Association is skeptical of alternative sentencing and believes legislatures should not abandon tough-on-crime policies.  New Hampshire prosecutor Jim Reams said alternative sentencing strategies "only save money in the short-term."  "The assumption is that these are all choir boys at the prison and if we let them out, all will be well. And it doesn't work that way," Reams said. "We're getting exactly what we deserve when we do this -- we're getting more crime."  The study found that if the 41 states could cut their recidivism rates by 10 percent, they could save a combined $635 million in one year.  That is a big "if," for the reasons Reams noted.

Peculiarities in Victims' Names May Link Killer to California and New York Cold Cases:  Authorities have finally arrested a Reno man they believe murdered four women from 1977 to 1994 in Northern California.  But the alliteration in the victims' names has investigators suspicious of whether Joseph Naso, 77, is responsible for other killings whose similarities seem too bizarre to be just a coincidence.  New York state police are investigating whether there's a connection between Naso and the deaths of three young girls in the Rochester area in the early 1970s.  Like the four women whose bodies were found in Northern California, the three girls found in Rochester also had matching initials for their first and last names.  In a more peculiar similarity, one of the victims found in Northern California had the exact same name as one of the victims in Rochester.  Naso once lived in Rochester, New York and traveled between there and the West in the early 1970s as a professional photographer.  Authorities have found no other evidence linking Naso to the Rochester murders, and a DNA sample taken from one of the Rochester victims did not match Naso.  Still, New York authorities say Naso remains a suspect.  Marin County District Attorney Ed Berberian plans to seek the death penalty against Naso, who's scheduled for arraignment today on four counts of murder with special circumstances.  AP writers Jason Dearen and Scott Sonner have this story.

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