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News Scan

Judge Rules Wisconsin Voter ID Law Unconstitutional: Patrick Marley of the Journal Sentinel (WI) reports Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess on Monday ruled Wisconsin's voter ID law violates the state constitution. Last Tuesday, another Dane County Judge, David Flanagan, halted the law for the upcoming April presidential primary and local elections. Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said he will appeal the decision. There are currently four lawsuits pending against the state's voter ID law, which was approved by Governor Scott Walker in May. Photo IDs were required to vote in the state for the first time in February.

California Proposes Changes to Prison Gang Policies:
Don Thompson of the Associated Press reports California prison officials on Friday released a draft of new regulations for dealing with prison gangs, especially policies that keep some gang members in isolation for years. Instead of renouncing their gang membership, gang members could earn more privileges and get out of the isolation units sooner if they stop engaging in gang activities and participate in rehabilitation and anger management programs. Terry Thornton, a spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said instead of focusing on separating and suppressing gang members, the new system would focus on trying to change the behavior of gang members through rewards and punishment. Gang associates would no longer be automatically sent to the security housing units, and many could continue to live in the general prison population.

Missouri Advances Changes to Parole and Probation: Wes Duplantier of the Associated Press reports the Missouri House and Senate last week both passed plans to overhaul the state's parole and probation systems. For every month they go without a violation, non-violent parolees or probationers would be given an additional 30 days of credit toward their sentence. Some felons who violate parole or probation for the first time would be given 120-day "shock" jail sentences instead of being returned to prison longer. The plans may not end up saving the state as much money as originally thought because of differences in the policy suggestions by a working group and the actual legislation passed by lawmakers.    

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