Public Safety

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In response to a problem that the Detroit Free Press says has reached “epidemic proportions” in some communities, Michigan legislators voted in March to give law enforcement more tools to prevent scrap-metal thefts. Three Midwestern states have among the most metal-theft claims in the country, according to a recent National Insurance Crime Bureau analysis. Those states are Ohio (first in the nation), Illinois (seventh) and Michigan (ninth).


March 2014 ~ Stateline Midwest »
Illinois is in the process of becoming the latest U.S. state — and the second in the Midwest — to allow residents to purchase and use marijuana for medical purposes. Earlier this year, the state Department of Public Health issued proposed rules to implement legislation signed into law in 2013.
Nearly half of the U.S. states (including Illinois and Michigan) now have laws allowing patients with certain conditions to use marijuana for medical purposes.

On February 10, federal judges granted California two more years to reduce its already overcrowded prison population. The ruling comes from a long-running lawsuit to increase inmate medical care in the state. California still sits about 5,000 inmates above the cap that was originally set by the court, which means they must bring their prison population to around 112,000 inmates by February 2016.

This week I was privileged to join with 40 experts in the field of elder justice gathered in Washington, D.C. to put the finishing touches on a national road map to guide programs and services to address elder justice issues – preventing elder abuse, providing services for victims of elder abuse in all its forms, and building systems for prosecution of abuse, sexual assault and financial exploitation.  CSG was invited to the meeting to bring the perspective of state level policy makers to the...

Yesterday the Office of National Drug Control Policy urged that first responders be equipped with naloxone, a medication used to counteract opiate overdoses. Some states already have laws on the books to do just that.

In a CSG research brief...

February 2014 ~ Stateline Midwest »

In 1977, South Dakota’s state prisons held just 550 inmates. Over the next 35 years, however, that population would multiply six times — and, in the process, drive costs through the roof.
By 2011, the state’s corrections budget was more than $100 million and had quadrupled in 20 years. And the prison population was projected to grow by another 25 percent in 10 years, with costs increasing to the tune of $224 million.

In Wood v. Moss the Court will decide whether Secret Service agents engaged in unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination when they moved anti-Bush protesters about one block further from the President than pro-Bush demonstrators.  The Court also will decide whether the lower court evaluated the viewpoint discrimination claim at too high a level of generality when determining whether the agents should have been granted qualified immunity.  The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) filed an amicus brief in this case.  

The Supreme Court decided today that it will hear two cases addressing whether police can search cell phones or smartphones without a warrant subsequent to arrest. Case law on what police can and cannot do when they make an arrest is pretty settled - they can search the person being arrested and what's within that person's reach, particularly to find weapons or evidence that could be destroyed. However, the lower courts are divided on whether or not cellphones or smartphones can be searched without a warrant in the same way. 

Privatization has long held a prominent place in state governments as a viable management decision. States have been exploring or implementing new privatization initiatives every year for more than a decade.

West Virginia, for instance, is considering using private firms to complete construction of a major highway project. Indiana recently voted to use an outside third-party insurer to administer annuity payments for its public retirement system. And Florida has heavily privatized its corrections services.


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The start of the new year marked the beginning of a four-year pilot project in Illinois that permits the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Illinois is the second state in the Midwest with such a law and the first in the region where it was initiated by the legislature. Medical marijuana was legalized in Michigan six years ago via a ballot proposal.