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News Scan


CA County Struggles with Increased Service Demand from AB 109:  Spreading thin from California's prison realignment program, known as AB 109, millions of dollars in upgrades and more staff are needed in San Bernardino County jails to address the issues the measure has caused.  Joe Nelson of the Sun reports that new sergeants have been assigned to the county's busiest facility, and $3 million has been allocated for the FY 2015-2016 budget for staffing mental health workers alone.  Prison Law Office director Donald Spector blames realignment, noting "AB 109 exacerbated pre-existing conditions at some jails."

Girl Kidnapped and Assaulted by Illegal Immigrant:  A 13-year-old girl reported missing last Tuesday in Florida was found inside a Michigan home with a 23-year-old illegal immigrant from Mexico.  WNDU reports that Aurelio Hernandez-Gomez allegedly sexually assaulted the young girl, was arrested for criminal sexual conduct and jailed.  Arrangements have been made to reunite the girl with her parents in Florida.

Cities Nationwide See Surges in Homicides:  After years of plummeting crime numbers in police departments across the county, homicides have spiked in several major U.S. cities such as Houston, St. Louis, New Orleans, Baltimore, New York and Chicago.  Don Babwin of the AP reports that concern surrounds whether the recent surges "reflect a confluence of recent shifts" such as distrust of police, apprehensive officers avoiding public condemnation, budget cuts within law enforcement agencies and lack of federal funding.  Additionally, the restrictions regarding the use of police stop-and-frisk tactics is believed to also be contributing to the intensified bloodshed, with Professor Peter Moskos suggesting that if we don't want thousands of people stopped for the seizure of a few guns, then "we will have to accept that murders are going to go up 10 percent."

Parents of Murdered NE Woman Joins Effort to Get DP on Ballot:  "There are a few individuals in this world who are just purely evil, and no amount of resources or medication provided to them is going to change it," says Teri Roberts, the mother of a murder victim and one of the people fighting to gather signatures of referendum petitions that will allow Nebraskan voters to decide the fate of the death penalty.  Matt Miller of the World-Herald reports before the Legislature repealed capital punishment in May, Nikko Jenkins faced the death penalty for murdering four people in Omaha shortly after being released from prison in 2013.  Nebraskans for the Death Penalty, a group formed after the repeal, are working diligently to meet the August 27 deadline of 57,500 signatures of registered voters in the state to qualify the issue for the ballot.

Obama Commutes Sentences of 46 Drug Offenders:  President Obama commuted the sentences of 46 drug offenders serving time in federal prisons as a part of his administration's effort to reform the criminal justice system, adding to the list of 30 individuals that have already received clemency since December of last year.  Sari Horwitz and Juliet Eilperin of the Washington Post report that the president's decision to release the inmates aims to reduce operating costs and overcrowding in federal prisons, and to relieve inmates who were sent to prison in the 1980s under "harsh sentencing guidelines."  Over 35,000 inmates, or about 16 percent of the federal prison population, have applied for early release since Obama's announcement last year of his plans to grant clemency.

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