Justice System

Like most states, Alabama is currently facing the crisis of an overcrowded prison population and a recidivism rate that significantly threatens public safety and exacerbates already bleak state and local government budget shortfalls. Rather than continue to spend vast sums of money on a system that is clearly broken, Alabama is beginning the process of interbranch cooperation to implement effective reforms in the areas of sentencing and corrections at the state and local levels. A number of efforts are currently underway. For the sake of public safety and stark financial reality, Alabama must continue to modify its laws and carry out reforms to lower the costly burden of corrections and stop the revolving door of recidivism.

Chapter 9 of the 2011 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables:

Book of the States 2011

Chapter 9: Selected State Policies and Programs

Articles:

  1. An Impossible Choice: Reconciling State Budget Cuts and Disasters that Demand Adequate Management
  2. ...

As of late May, a series of proposed reforms to Ohio’s criminal justice system had passed the House with near-unanimous bipartisan support and had the backing of Republican Gov. John Kasich. 

CSG Research & Expertise in the News: 6/5-6/11, 2011

The following compilation features published news stories during the week of June 5-11 that highlight experts and/or research from The Council of State Governments. For more information about any of the experts or programs discussed, please contact CSG at (800) 800-1910 and you will be directed to the appropriate staff.  Members of the press should call (859) 244-8246.

A new report highlights state efforts to abandon the practice of charging older youth in the adult justice system.

Last month, Illinois became the 16th state to abolish the death penalty when Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill passed by the legislature in January. A moratorium on executions had been in place since 2000, when Gov. George Ryan cleared Death Row amid concerns about wrongful convictions in the justice system, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Texas has 317 inmates on death row, but only enough of a key lethal injection drug to execute two of them. Ohio has just one dose of the drug left.  A nationwide shortage of sodium thiopental, an anesthetic that is part of the three-drug cocktail used in lethal injections, has thrown capital punishment in the United States into disarray, delaying executions and forcing the change of execution protocols in several states.

As the result of one of the first actions taken by Wisconsin’s newly elected Legislature and governor, new rules governing the state’s civil justice system are now in place.

This Act helps facilitate legal services to underserved communities. It defines and restricts how a person or organization can use the term "legal aid." The Act directs the state Judicial Council to set up a pilot program to appoint legal representation for unrepresented low-income parties in civil matters involving critical issues such as domestic violence, child custody, and elder abuse.

Law enforcement officers throughout the country regularly respond to calls for service that involve people with mental illnesses—often without needed supports, resources or specialized training. These encounters can have significant consequences for the officers, people with mental illnesses and their loved ones, the community and the criminal justice system. Although constituting a relatively small number of an agency’s total calls for service, these encounters are among the most complex and time-consuming calls officers must address.

Pages