Minnesota Scales Back the Drug War

State leaders have signed off on a plan, years in the making, to reduce the time spent behind bars for first-time drug offenders and better distinguish addicts from potentially violent drug dealers.The Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission voted 7-3 to overhaul the state’s drug sentencing guidelines, reducing recommended prison sentences for first-time offenders convicted of first-degree drug possession from seven to four years, and sentences for first-degree drug sale from seven to five years.The commission also changed presumptive prison sentences in second-degree sale and possession cases to probation.

Via Minn. Sentencing Guidelines Commission signs off on drug sentencing reform @ StarTribune.com.

Juveniles in Solitary in Nebraska 

“I think it’s fair to say as we look to comparisons with our sister states and across the national landscape that Nebraska’s use and policies regarding juvenile solitary confinement truly shock the conscience,” ACLU of Nebraska Executive Director Danielle Conrad said Monday morning.

On any given day in Nebraska, the report said, juvenile justice facilities routinely subject kids to solitary confinement. There is no uniformity in how kids are kept alone for periods of time ranging from hours to months.

Via Solitary confinement of Nebraska youth said ‘disturbing’ @ Journal Star Breaking News

Bail as Punishment

“Every year, thousands of innocent people are sent to jail only because they can’t afford to post bail, putting them at risk of losing their jobs, custody of their children — even their lives….” Via The Bail Trap @ NYT.

Solitary for Decades

“In 1993, Craig Haney, a social psychologist, interviewed a group of inmates in solitary confinement at Pelican Bay State Prison, California’s toughest penal institution. He was studying the psychological effects of isolation on prisoners, and Pelican Bay was among the first of a new breed of super-maximum-security prisons that states around the country were beginning…