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News Scan

Solitary Confinement Hearing on Capitol Hill: Erica Goode of The New York Times reports the Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights on Tuesday held a hearing to review the use of solitary confinement in U.S. prisons - the first time the issue has been taken up by lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

New State Law Requires Sex Offenders to List Status on Social Media Sites: Michael Martinez of CNN reports a new Louisiana state law effective August 1 requires sex offenders and child predators to state their criminal status on social networking pages like Facebook. The law states that sex offenders and child predators must include in their profile for the sites an indication that they are a sex offender or child predator, the crime for which they were convicted, the jurisdiction of conviction, a description of their physical characteristics, and their residential address. Violators could face time in prison without parole and a fine.

Prosecutors Ask for Psychiatric Care Instead of Prison for Norwegian Mass Killer: The Associated Press reports prosecutors on Thursday requested that confessed mass killer Anders Behring Breivik be sent to a mental institution instead of prison for killing 77 people in a gun and shooting rampage in Norway last year. The court is expected to issue its ruling next month.

Changes to Racial Justice Act Head to Governor: The Associated Press reports the North Carolina Legislature gave final approval Wednesday to a bill that would make changes to the state's 2009 Racial Justice Act. Statistics alone will no longer be enough to prove race was a significant factor in a death penalty case. The time period in which statistics can be used to prove bias will be capped to 12 years around the murder case, and statistics can only be used for the county and prosecutorial district where the crime occurred. When the bill reaches her desk, Governor Beverly Perdue will have ten days to decide whether to veto the bill or sign it into law.

Inmates Rewarded for Beating New Locks: The Associated Press reports jail officials in Atlanta are challenging inmates to defeat the new locks being tested on doors in one cell block, and are offering free food as a reward. Hundreds of locks at the Fulton County Jail can be jammed, which allows inmates to get access to each other. Fulton County's chief jailer, Col. Mark Adger, said they are choosing experienced lock beaters to try and get past the new locks.

7 California Cities in Top 10 for 2011 Vehicle Thefts: PR Newswire reports information from the National Insurance Crime Bureau shows seven California cities are in the top ten for vehicle thefts across the country in 2011. Fresno, Modesto, and Bakersfield-Delano were ranked first, second, and third for the second year in a row. Under California's new Realignment law, car thieves will not be sentenced to prison.

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