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News Scan

Ohio Governor Will Sign Sentencing Bill This Week:  Joe Guillen of The Plain Dealer (OH) reports Ohio Governor John Kasich is expected to sign an overhaul of the state's criminal sentencing laws aimed at easing overcrowding and saving money.  Among the changes, the reform package will send low-level offenders to halfway houses and community corrections facilities instead of prison, and will also eliminate the sentencing disparity between powder and crack cocaine.

"Viewpoints: Don't blame state's 'three-strikes' law for prison overcrowding":  Margaret A. Bengs has this piece in The Sacramento Bee exposing some of the myths heralded by opponents of California's three-strikes laws.  Bengs notes that three-strikes is not the primary contributor to California's overcrowded prisons (the high recidivism rate is), that the law affords judges and prosecutors discretion in deciding when to aggressively pursue three-strikes cases, and that three-strikes sentencing is not filling the state prisons with petty thieves.  Bengs also points out that "California's violent crime rate plummeted 58.9 percent between 1992 and 2009, reaching its lowest level since 1968, with the help of three strikes."

Wisconsin Justice Accuses Colleague of Choking Her:  Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley has accused co-Justice Davis Prosser of trying to choke her after an argument in her office, reports Todd Richmond of the AP.  Walsh alleges the assault took place the day before the court handed down a decision upholding a new state law that eliminates most public employees' collective bargaining rights.  Prosser denies the accusation.  A county sheriff's office and the state judicial commission have opened investigations.

Audit Brings Criticism to Michigan's Parolee Program:  Mike Martindale of The Detroit News reports some critics believe the success of Michigan's Prisoner Re-Entry Initiative, which has been credited with a decline in the state's recidivism rate, may be distorted because parolees who commit new crimes but receive a "non-prison disposition," such as jail time or GPS monitoring, are not included in the state's recidivism numbers.  

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