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News Scan

Bill Would Return 17-year-olds to Juvenile System: Wisconsin's, "Second Chance" bill was passed by the Assembly Corrections Committee last week on a unanimous vote. The Green Bay Press Gazette reports that the bill would return first-time, nonviolent 17-year-old offenders to the juvenile justice system.   It is reported that 17-year-olds who spend time in the adult system show significantly higher recidivism rates compared to both younger and older age groups. Both houses of the Legislature will face a vote on the bill this fall.

Georgia Inmates Using Cell Phones to Commit Crimes
: A Channel 2 investigation reveals that inmates in Georgia are  victimizing the public from behind bars by using smuggled cell phones to orchestrate crimes. Kerry Kavanaugh of WSB-TV reports that the Department of Corrections is trying to address this growing problem, with more than 5,100 cell phones confiscated in the first six months of this year. One has been to incorporate a "managed access system" which blocks unauthorized calls and texts. Mississippi Corrections Commissioner says that over 5 million calls and texts have been intercepted since the system was put in place.

Even with Changes, U.S. Prisons May Remain Overcrowded: A report released on Tuesday suggests that the severe overcrowding in federal prisons could persist for years, even if Congress were to implement changes to reduce the number of people incarcerated. David Ingram of Reuters reports that federal prisons would still be operating at 20 percent above capacity in 10 years in spite of cutting in half mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes. The increase in inmates has occurred because of mandatory minimum prison terms enacted during the 1980s and 1990s, as Congress got tough on criminals. Witnesses are testifying today before the Senate Judiciary Committee about a prison overhaul, which would also include changes to the budget.

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