Violence and Criminal Justice Forum

by Mary C. Piemonte

Raw footage of legal, mental health and prison experts talking to professional and student journalists about how the courts, detention, prison and probation systems impact individuals and communities snared by violence during the Violence and Criminal Justice “speed dating” event, co-hosted by Community Media Workshop and Strengthening Chicago’s Youth Lurie Children’s Hospital program, at Columbia College on April 17, 2014.

©2014 Chicagodrugwar.info

Fourth Annual Forum on Drug Policy: Part I

by Mary C. Piemonte

Raw footage of the “Fourth Annual Forum on Drug Policy” at Roosevelt University, 430 S. Michigan Ave., in Chicago, on April 4, 2014.

In two separate panel discussions during the three-hour event, a broad range of speakers discussed who uses drugs, treatment for addicts, the correctional process for those charged with drug offenses and the collateral consequences of marijuana misdemeanors in the state of Illinois.

That group included staff from Roosevelt University, a student from Old Dominion University, an advanced therapy extern from Metropolitan Correctional Facility in Chicago, a staff attorney from the Federal Defender’s Program, a counselor from the Anixter Center, a top official from Cabrini Green Legal Aid and a staff attorney from ACLU-IL

In addition, the audience listened to the personal perspectives of a few of the student panelists who had been impacted by substance use and the criminal justice system.

The Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy is expected to release a report on April 30, 2014, “analyzing the implementation of municipal marijuana decriminalization,” according to an information sheet released at the event.

Some speakers on the panel also urged people attending the event to contact their representatives in support of IL HB-5780, a bill that proposes to remove criminal penalties for possession of up to 30 grams of marijuana.

The full text of the IL HB-5708, introduced in early February 2014, sponsored by Illinois Democrats Rep. Kelly M Cassidy (14th District) and Rep. LaShawn K. Ford (8th District) can be found here.

©2014 Chicagodrugwar.info

Clemency Criteria Being Expanded for Drug Offenders in Federal Prison

by Mary C. Piemonte

In U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s weekly video message earlier today, he announced new criteria that will allow more drug offenders in the federal prison system petition to have their sentences reduced by U.S. President Barack Obama.

Holder said the Department of Justice is also preparing to assign prosecution and defense lawyers to review the petitioners’ applications.

And he added that later this week, U.S. Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole will announce “more specific details about the expanded criteria the department will use and the logistical effort underway to ensure proper reviews of the anticipated wave of applications”

U.S. Attorney General Declares a “Stunning Rise” in Drug Overdose Deaths

Department of Justice courtesy photo of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder

Department of Justice courtesy photo of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder

by Mary C. Piemonte
On April 16, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder declared that “the stunning rise in heroin and prescription opiate overdose deaths” is one of the “most urgent and complex challenges facing public safety professionals in this country.”

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