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The First Step Act: What is FSA? Titles divided, Opinion, Suggestions, Helpful Participation Of Brāv

What Is The First Step Act?

The latest such effort to come to our attention is the ”FIRST STEP Act”, introduced by Reps. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) and Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) in the House, with a companion measure introduced by Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) in the Senate.

The First Step Act is not a magical elixir. It won’t solve every problem facing our criminal justice system. But it will immediately make a difference in the lives of as many as 4,000 inmates the day after it is signed into law.

We are a better America when we embrace our empathetic tendencies.
We are a better America when we see prison sentences as a last resort, to be used only when we know for a fact it is the best way to generate safe outcomes.

Some people have argued that one of the elements of the bill, the rule that moves people closer to home, can threaten public safety. But copious evidence proves that being incarcerated or housed closer to home results in safer outcomes.

Some also worry that the Act will further reinforce Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ harsh approach to crime and punishment. But it’s unclear how legislation that uses unconditional language about mandated reform somehow would make the lives of prisoners worse or his power greater.
Sessions will not remain Attorney General forever, and with criminal justice reform gathering supporters on both sides of the aisle, the likelihood can only grow that in the future we will have a true reformer in the position.
I suspect the real fear is that Jeff Sessions will use some of the provisions of the Act in ways that are racially disparate, while at the same time sentencing continues to over-punish people of color. This is a weighty concern, and we should fight every day to address racial disparities in sentencing and remain incredibly vigilant.

But this is not a new concern, nor is it something the First Step can make worse.

Some also object to the use of risk assessment tools to inform sentencing decisions, arguing they can be used in a biased way.

TITLES:

To understand better, here are the four separate titles:

STEP Act:
Title I — Recidivism Reduction
Title II — Bureau of Prisons Secure Firearms Storage
Title III — Restraints on Pregnant Prisoners Prohibited
Title IV — Miscellaneous Criminal Justice
Titles II and III are of little moment to this examination. Titles I and IV, however, are.
Title I. Takes on various aspects of existing federal incarceration practices and policies with the idea of substantially altering them. For instance, the bill would provide significant benefits to federal prisoners who participate in various “evidence-based recidivism reduction programs” that are intended to minimize the risk that prisoners will reoffend upon release. It does so by requiring that such programs be examined and further defined by the attorney general, in consultation with the director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, the director of the Office of Probation and Pretrial Services, and the directors of the National Institutes of Justice and Corrections.
Chief among the benefits that accrue from participation in the resulting programs is that prisoners would earn “good time” toward sentence reductions — 10 days for every 30 days of sentence, and an additional five days for every 30 if they are assessed twice in a row as “not having increased” their recidivism risk. In other words, prisoners could potentially cut their sentencing time in half through these programs. Many observers might see it as a low bar to cut sentences in half simply because prisoners don’t become more incentivized to reoffend, but that is a general statement not applicable to removable aliens, as explained below.
Prisoners would also earn free telephone and videoconferencing privileges (30 minutes per day; 510 minutes per month) via participation in the recidivism reduction programs.
The kinds of programs envisioned under recidivism reduction, include in part the following:
Social learning and communication, interpersonal, anti-bullying, rejection response, and other life skills;
Family relationship building;
Structured parent-child interaction and parenting skills;
Classes on morals or ethics;
Academic classes;
Cognitive behavioral treatment;
Mentoring;
Vocational training;
Faith-based classes or services;
Civic engagement and reintegrative community services; and
Prison jobs.
Title IV. Under the catch-all “Miscellaneous” provisions, establishes two new mandates.
First, there is a presumptive standard (subject to certain caveats such as prisoner classification and facility availability) that federal prisoners should be incarcerated at penal facilities no farther than 500 miles from their “primary residence”.
Second, Title IV also provides that ”The Bureau of Prisons shall, to the extent practicable, place prisoners with lower risk levels and lower needs on home confinement for the maximum amount of time permitted.” (Emphasis added.)
Immigration Enforcement Concerns Raised by the Bill.

OPINION:

When it comes to prison reform, a little something is better than a lot of nothing.
That is why the bipartisan First Step Act, passed recently by the House, deserves to be approved by the Senate and signed into law.
Progressives are sharply divided on the measure, mostly because of what it doesn’t do. The bill — sponsored by Reps. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., and Doug Collins, R-Ga., and strongly pushed by President Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner — does nothing to address the main problem, which is that this nation sends far too many people to prison and keeps them locked up far too long.
Truly meaningful change would involve sentencing reform, for which there is some bipartisan support in Congress but not enough to get such legislation through both chambers. It is hard to imagine that Trump, who tries so hard to project a tougher-than-thou image, would sign a bill significantly reducing sentences. And Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who believes in throwing away the key, would have a conniption fit.
The First Step Act ignores the “front end” of the problem — sentencing — and focuses exclusively on the “back end.” It would provide $50 million a year for five years in new funding for education and rehabilitation programs in federal prisons, encourage inmates to participate in those programs by giving them credits for early release, and allow some prisoners to serve the balance of their sentences in halfway houses or home confinement.
Proponents estimate the bill would allow up to 4,000 inmates to be released from prison immediately. This is a small fraction of the total federal prison population of nearly 184,000. But try to explain that disparity to those 4,000 men and women and their families.
The bill also requires that inmates be housed at prisons within 500 miles of their homes, that inmates not be shackled during childbirth and recovery and that sanitary products be provided to female prisoners.
The House vote on the First Step Act was 360-59, with Democrats sharply divided. Some of the most progressive members of the Democratic caucus supported the bill and some voted against it. The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund lobbied against the bill; the National Urban League urged approval.
There is reason to question whether the bill’s benefits will be as great as supporters claim, and of course there is reason to prefer more comprehensive legislation that also deals with sentencing. But I see no justification, in this case, for opposing incremental progress — especially since real progress is nowhere in sight.
It is true that we will never begin to reform our shameful system of mass incarceration and warehousing until we address sentences. We send to prison far too many men and women whose nonviolent or minor crimes should be handled without incarceration. African-American and Hispanic men are unfairly targeted by sentencing rules and biased police practices. While in prison, inmates get essentially no preparation for rebuilding their lives upon release. Far too often, they revert to crime and wind up back in prison.
Opponents of the First Step Act argue that passing this limited measure would relieve pressure on Congress and the administration to address the issues at the heart of the prison problem.
My question is: What pressure?
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, wants to push sentencing reform legislation through the Senate, and I hope he succeeds. But how is anyone going to get such a bill through the House, with its much more conservative GOP majority? How is anyone going to get Sessions on board? Or convince Trump to sign it?
If Democrats take control of the House in November, they will be able to revisit the issue anytime they want , but they will have real clout to go along with their passion.

Nothing in the current bill precludes bolder, more comprehensive action when the votes, and the president’s pen, are lined up and ready..

Suggestions For Reforms:

The ultimate prison reform is to keep people out of prison in the first place. This is where state-level reforms can make a difference.

If there is to be any meaningful change in prison populations nationally, the states must step up.

Here are 3 effective reforms they should consider.

First, make it easier for people to get a job. Criminology is imprecise, but research and anecdotal evidence suggest a great way to keep people out of the criminal justice system is to let them work. The stabilizing influence of a job and a steady income cannot be overstated, so removing needless barriers to employment such as occupational licensing requirements should be a priority for states. At a minimum, they should make sure that licensing laws don’t contain “good moral character clauses,” which can automatically disqualify anyone with any type of criminal record from ever getting licensed.

Second, states should focus on enforcement. Even when most adults have a job, crime will occur, and that’s where good policing policy comes in. Michigan, with its dubious distinction of being home to some of the most dangerous cities in America, had remarkable success in reducing violent and property crime in these places through the Secure Cities Partnership, which brought together state and local law enforcement. An effective combination of hot spot patrolling (focusing policing resources on high-crime areas) and community policing (building police-community ties) saw crime rates dip as much as 40 percent in some areas. And fewer crimes translate to fewer prisoners.

Third, use problem-solving courts more frequently. These legal innovations afford judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys and offenders the flexibility to address factors in a person’s life that may be contributing to criminal behavior. Drug courts, sobriety courts, mental health courts, veterans’ courts and other specialty dockets connect offenders to treatment, counseling and other services, and enforce accountability through the use of short, frequent jail sentences.

These courts also are important for prosecutors, who traditionally have been equipped with only the hammer of formal prosecution and may feel pressure to rack up convictions to help secure reelection. Problem-solving courts give them another tool, helping them bolster public safety sustainably by addressing underlying issues unique to their communities — something that may become increasingly important as the opioid crisis develops.

From a policy perspective, the FIRST STEP Act would be just that: a good first step.

Helpful Participation Of Brav:

Brāv is an early-stage company focused on developing products that will curb destructive conflict.
We employ a human-centered design process to understand our users and build tools that are much needed.

Brāv trains anyone in conflict management who in turn manage the conflicts of others directly on our site www.brav.org

Brāv can help with their conflicts even taking place within family.

Brāv can provide the online counseling and fire sides as well, discussion group once they are released.

Participating in discussion threads would help them with coping and job skills, which in turn will help them reenter society as citizens more capable of productive reentry.

Helping the ones bullied-

New inmates violently extorted, assaulted, and “recruited” (the kindest way to put it) into gangs. Weak punished and strength defined solely by the willingness to engage in brutality.
Being in prison is a process of constantly having to watch your back (and your front). When trouble comes, it comes quickly and seems to inevitably sweep bystanders into the vortex.
Prisoners of the Federal Bureau of Prisons are judged entirely on records made up only by correctional officers and unit counselors which are inherently more subjective, less testable over time, and based on less outcomes-based data, than risk-assessment too. This gets them to be more depressed.

So, in addition to allowing inmates to more quickly reconnect with children and family members, Brāv can actually help them to build a productive life.

There’s always a way to redeem.
You need the right support and motivation to be on the track.

Continue reading The First Step Act: What is FSA? Titles divided, Opinion, Suggestions, Helpful Participation Of Brāv

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True Equality

EQUALITY

“I am superior to you”, “No, I am”.

This is our everyday life story now. Feminism was such a great concept. Yes, I would use ‘was‘ because nowadays people are using it in a hate speech. Few women are using it to show how superior they are,how they don’t need a man in their lives. When It’s not about needing a man in your life,it’s about empowering yourself.

We don’t have to go shoulder to shoulder with each other and compete in everything.
Being extremists is not a good solution, no good can come out of it.

True equality is when you could do the things you want to,without any hindrance of the other respective gender. Where you support and respect each other,(where you pay equally for the bill share). Equality is not about competing or blaming the other gender, accusing them of things or using it hate speeches.

You might be wondering Who am I? ,
Am I the right person and can I decipher?
Why did it struck a cord with me?

So, we’ve been listening to some things every now and then,
” Women are best suited for the household chores,they belong there right in the kitchen”.

Other things such as,
“You are a woman,you should how know to cook”.
“You are a woman,you must be getting married soon and in that case why do you want to study or work so hard?

I’m 19,but that doesn’t mean that I’m not the right person to understand.
Ever since childhood from the age of 5, I’ve been listening to such things through TV commercials,serials,witnessing someone not being able to pursue their dreams every other day because of the limitations set.

Just a week ago, a boy in my class made this statement for me:
” You will graduate with a law degree in hand,but you’ll get married as soon as you step out of this college. So, you better start learning to cook to be a good wife or bahu.”
It hit me hard.

Okay people!
Let’s just get some perspective here,
Being an independent person doesn’t mean that you cannot cook and being a woman doesn’t mean that you should know how to cook.
It is an individual’s choice.

We too have dreams and goals,
there are women out there who’s aim is not to get married ,
their focus is on their career and that they want to achieve something and acquire a good position in life.

Is there someone who can answer me?

When will the time arrive, that being a girl means there will be a savings account but not devoted solely for marriage purposes?
When will there be no FIRST WOMEN TO DO SOMETHING headline,that it’s just another woman to achieve it?
When will there be a equal pay to both the genders for doing the same thing with equal calibre?
When will women start supporting each others for once,which is also the form of true empowerment?
When will the time arrive that we no longer have to talk about being at par?
When will both the genders accept each other unabashedly?

When will this change?

Emma Watson in her UN speech (launching #heforshe project) has been quoted saying-

Feminism by definition is: “The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes.”

We should all ask this to ourselves, a deep provoking thought left to us by Emma Watson in her speech.

 

  1. If not ME, then WHO?
  2. If not NOW, then WHEN?

#trueequality for this century.

Thank You

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Brāv & MEND!

Mend: Listen Now & Listen Good

 

 

 

 

#MendAtPunto #PuntoArts #PuntoSpace #Women #Theater #NYC #MothersDay

LET’S CELEBRATE WOMEN’S VOICES. WHILE WE’RE AT IT, LET’S MEND.

Mend: Listen Now & Listen Good is a one-time theater event taking place in celebration on Mother’s Day and artist autonomy on May 13, 5-7pm on PUNTO’s main stage.

A diverse group of multidisciplinary women in the arts, performers, and storytellers will take the stage on topics to include gender, age, culture, motherhood and being a woman.

The evening is sponsored by PUNTO Space, an event and performance raw space located in Midtown West (NYC) founded by theater and performing artists with social good in mind.

Mend: Listen Now & Listen Good is a celebration that amplifies artist autonomy, inclusion in the arts and collaboration.

Light refreshments will be served. Admittance is RSVP-only and complimentary for guests.

 

https://mendatpunto.splashthat.com/

 

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Disaster Aid for Hawaii Lava Flow

  • – Donations may be made directly to the American Red Cross Hawaii Chapter by clicking here, or calling (808) 739-8109.
  • – Salvation Army at 808-756-0306 for information concerning in-kind or monetary donations, or prepared meals.
  • – Hawaii Island Food Basket (40 Holomua Street, Hilo) is taking donations of food, money and supplies. They can be reached at 808-933-6030.
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Now Accepting Applications: Brāv Internship Opportunities

We are currently seeking interns of all ages to train as Brāv Ones, write short articles, and get the word out about Brāv:
 
Intern Descriptions 
 
​Through egames, Brāv trains anyone in conflict resolution and management. In turn, these trained Brāv Ones aid in the conflicts of others on the site’s face-to-face, Skype-like platforms. We hope to interrupt cycles of violence and deeply rooted conflicts between individuals, groups, organizations, and communities – globally. Brāv intern duties are divided into Communications, Management, Recruitment, and Research, but we are able to customize internships to allow students to choose from any of the different areas of each category. Please see below:
  1. Communications Interns – Have your work published; write 300 – 500 word articles on recent news or popular media pertaining to interesting/innovative topics on egaming, bullying, conflicts, emotions etc – from any angle, including medical, psychology, legal, subjective or objective. Example: http://brav.org/what-rocky-balboa-has-to-do-with-brav/.  
  2. Foster relationships with people affected by mental health, conflicts, emotions, bullying, etc on various social medias, including forums, Google plus threads,psychology threads, forums, etc.
  3. Help Brāv videos go viral (at least 1 million views).
  4. Write press releases, gain attention for Brāv, submit articles and others to media circuits.
  5. Webinar show hosting, whereby students are able to present on innovative topics to an interested public on a topic of their choice so long as it relates to Brāv’s mission. Ie/ “How These Yoga Techniques can help You Instantly Cool Off Before, During or After a Conflict.”
  1. Recruitment Interns – Contact individuals, schools, universities, colleges and organizations to implement and sign up for Brāv.
  2. Increase social media support, ie/ facebook likes and fans, twitter followers, etc.
  3. Promote Brāv through building relationships around various campuses – through both students & faculty – in order to raise awareness about the Brāv movement, print flyers & post around, etc to promote awareness about Brāv.
  4. Seek and contact A list, quality celebrities to endorse Brāv.
  5. Devise contact list of state and national congress members, school administrators and superintendents, CEOs, COOS, organization leaders, etc for calling and marketing Brāv.
  6. Build partnerships with respectable & large organizations.
  1. Management Interns – Manage various Brāv campaigns and fundraisers.
  2. Determine effective ways to get education programs/organizations/work/pageants/sports/etc to sign up for Brāv.
  3. Seek sponsors/donors/grants to contribute funding for conflict resolution and management.
  4. Submit ideas on how Brāv can remain current, effective and efficient. (membership, swag, etc).
  5. Aid in determining Brāv’s best business models ie/ freemium, ads, pricing (lifetime v. year packages), etc.
  6. Aid and help implement a mandate/proclamation to implement Brāv at the state level.
  7. Aid in a realistic budget plan.
  1. Research Interns – Research ‘bullying,’ its current definition, and how Brāv can broaden the current definition.
  2. Research evolution and statistics on online dispute resolution and carry on systematic and ongoing studies of the nature, origins, and types of social conflicts.
  3. Determine which organizations would most effectively benefit from Brāv.
  4. Research current conflict resolution organizations that Brāv can partner with or receive sponsorships, grants and/or endorsements.
  5. Aid in a market analysis of Brāv’s target users.
  6. Gather and interpret data on bullying & conflicts – locally/nationally/internationally.
  7. Gather and interpret data on if/ how Brāv would help those bullied and the aggressors.

Eligibility

To be considered for a Brāv internship, students should meet the following requirements:

  • Currently attend a college, university, or graduate program.
  • Have completed a minimum of one (1) year as a student at a degree-granting two or four-year college or university (completion of one year’s worth of academic credits over a more extended period of time may qualify part-time students for participation in Brāv); or a currently enrolled graduate student or accepted in a graduate degree program
  • Have a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.0, or equivalent to a C

Professional Skills

  • Good analytical and evaluative skills
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills
  • Good organizational skills, efficiency and flexibility
  • Computer skills, including familiarity with Microsoft products (MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint), email software, internet searching, and other programs
Applicants may come from any academic discipline.  
Internship acceptances are on a rolling basis and students work from a distance. Those interested can submit a short statement explaining their interest in Brāv, an internship proposal request (essentially stating which duties they are particularly interested in), and a resume to info@brav.org
Thank you.
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#Infographic – Indicators of Effective #Mediation

Mediation is often assessed in terms of single factor only: whether involved parties reached settlement or not, irrespective of the way in which it was steered or the quality of the outcome. While effectiveness of outcome is obviously important, there is wider range of indicators of a competent and effective mediation.

 

 

Feature Image Source: here