Kentucky passes dignity legislation, and the news in criminal justice this week

“I hope this bill starts a national conversation on how we would want our mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters to be treated.”

Kentucky became the first state in the nation to pass a Dignity Bill, as Senator Julie Raque Adam’s SB 133 passed with a unanimous 88-0 vote in the House. The bill, which is expected to be signed by Governor Bevin, would allow pregnant women to enter drug treatment, end the shackling of pregnant women, and provide access to basic health and hygiene services. In North Carolina, the director of state prisons said this week that they would end the practice of shackling female inmates during childbirth.

“I’m here facing charges that nobody’s proved me guilty of, but you treat me like an animal.”

In a collaboration between the Marshall Project and Vice, “Jordan,” who spent 11 months in the Onondaga County (NY) Justice Center awaiting trial on burglary charges, describes the experience of being a teenager in the Special Housing Unit, or solitary confinement. Researchers from UCLA found a strong correlation between admission to juvenile justice facilities for youth and serious physical and mental health issues in adulthood.

“A dollar spent on imprisonment should be worth it.”

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner has asked city prosecutors to include the cost of incarceration in sentencing recommendations. The typical cost of imprisonment in Philadelphia is $42,000 per year, and housing the city’s prisoners will cost $2.4 billion for fiscal year 2018.

Council of State Governments' 50-State Data on Public Safety Workbooks Available

Following November’s 50-State Summit on Public Safety, the Council of State Governments released their 50-State Data on Public Safety workbooks, which provide a look at the criminal justice landscape across the country and reveal a wide range of strengths and challenges from state to state. The workbooks include national and state-specific data on crime, arrests, recidivism, supervision practices, and correctional populations.

“They don’t belong in jail. They belong in a treatment facility.”

A new $2 million program in Nueces County (TX) is aimed at diverting people with mental illness who have come into contact with law enforcement into treatment, rather than jail. A collaboration between local law enforcement, mental health professionals, judges and the county hospital district, the program includes funding for crisis intervention teams and jail diversion staff, who can evaluate whether a person is in need of mental health or addiction treatment.