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News Scan

New Illinois Law Limits Benefits For Criminals: Illinois Governor Pat Quinn recently signed two new bills that seek to limit employee benefits to workers who commit crimes. Senate Bill 1147 prohibits employees from receiving workers' compensation benefits for injuries sustained while committing a forcible felony, aggravated DUI or reckless homicide. House Bill  3591 prohibits all new hires to the Chicago Transit Authority, Metra and Pace from collecting pension benefits if they are convicted of a felony related to their duties. BLR Human Resource Network reports.

Chicago Releases Crime Stats For The First Time: In an attempt to debunk Chicago's notorious reputation for withholding information, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration will publish millions of crime statistics dating from 2001 in an online searchable database. Brett Goldstein, the city's chief data officer and former police officer, said the recent release is part of "a whole new era of openness and transparency." The data will be updated daily, and will benefit academics and journalists by cutting down on time-consuming and costly requests for records. It also increases the potential for long term studies and crime prevention techniques. Chicago's efforts appear to be unprecedented among law enforcement groups nationwide. Sophia Tareen from AP has this story.

Court Rejects Appeal by Wife Convicted of Murder: Paul Elias of AP reports on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision on Tuesday to reverse its previous ruling in favor of Kristin Rossum, a former toxicologist convicted of poisoning her husband in a notorious San Diego murder case. The Ninth Circuit 's previous ruling granted a special hearing to determine whether her trial lawyer's performance was so bad that she was entitled to a new trial. The Court's ruling yesterday said it was bound by the Supreme Court decision limiting federal review of state court decisions. Rossum was convicted of murder in 2002 and sentenced to life in prison.

"Mr. Inmate"?:  Tom Whitehead reports in The Guardian (UK) that guidelines released by the UK's Ministry of Justice says prison guards should use the formal address "Mister" when speaking to prisoners with learning disabilities, as well as use the prisoner's name at the beginning of each sentence. A spokesperson for the Ministry said the guidelines do not impose a general order to call all inmates "Mister," but instead apply only to prisoners who self-report as having learning difficulties, a category which may include inmates with dyslexia. Steve Bostock, national vice-chairman of the Prison Officers Association, called the guidelines "unnecessary" and said "there are more important things to be worrying about than calling someone Mister."

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