Public Safety

As of 2008, about 450 state prisoners in Illinois were living with HIV.

Most of these inmates have one thing in common: They will eventually be released from prison. About 85 percent of those released will end up in the Chicago area, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

As the costs of prosecuting and incarcerating marijuana users continues to escalate, several states have decriminalized possession of small amounts of the drug. while some consider legalization.  Supporters argue that the money saved could be better used to investigate more serious crimes and to provide drug treatment options.  Opponents argue that such efforts would lead to increased drug use.

Nearly half of the inmates in New York’s prisons return to the community each year. New York was also one of three states that housed nearly half the 20,000 state prisoners across the country who had HIV or confirmed AIDS. Correctional health care is not only good for the health of inmates and correctional staff—it’s also about preventing the spread of infections to their families and communities when prisoners are released.

An $11 million shortfall in North Carolina’s Office of Indigent Defense budget could have a ripple effect throughout the state’s criminal justice system.  Public defenders handle about 32 percent of indigent cases, and the Office of Indigent Defense Services contracts with private attorneys to handle the rest. But the 2011 fiscal year shortfall puts that legal service in jeopardy.

Methamphetamine, or meth, is a highly addictive, synthetically produced, central nervous system stimulant that, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), is the most common synthetic drug manufactured in the United States. The recent, rapid growth of methamphetamine users in the United States largely is due to the ability to produce it using conventional, easily  accessible chemicals and supplies.

In the world of state emergency management and homeland security, 2009 was a year of new faces, new threats and new opportunities. It began with the Obama administration tapping several state officials for the top jobs at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. This was followed by the first flu pandemic in 40 years, with tens of millions of Americans contracting the H1N1 virus. Technology continued to extend its long tentacles with some 40 states using social media Web sites such as Facebook and Twitter to connect with citizens about disaster preparedness and safety. All of this occurred as the country experienced its worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. The challenge in 2010 will be to protect investments to date and still move forward with creative problem solving while state and federal budgets make their way back from the brink.

While the modern office of the attorney general continues to perform its traditional role of providing legal advice and legal representation in matters affecting the state’s interests, those state interests now include an infinitely broader range of social and economic policies and protection of the public interest. Three of the top issues for attorneys general this year are cybercrime, consumer protection and tobacco. As the chief legal officer of each state or jurisdiction, attorneys general are committed to arresting online predators and providing services to victims of child pornography, protecting consumers during the economic downturn from lending abuses and scams, and continuing to interpret, implement and enforce the Master Settlement Agreement reached with the tobacco industry in 1998.

States have a variety of procedures for filling high court judgeships. While each state is free to determine its own selection method, most states use one of two systems: direct judicial elections by the people or judicial appointment from a list of candidates developed by a judicial nominating commission.

E-newsletter Issue #47 | May 27, 2010


States face a loss of 10 percent of their federal Byrne Justice Assistance grants if they don’t find a way to comply with the Adam Walsh Act by next year.

Problem is, the cost to implement provisions that would bring them into compliance could cost even more than what they could lose.

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, The Council of State Governments supports the development of national standards for a public safety broadband network to ensure that technical requirements for access to, reliability of and performance of the network are consistent across the country.

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