Minnesota Launches Grants to Help Convicts Reenter Workforce

Minnesota will spend $3 million in fiscal years 2023-2024 to help Minnesotans who have served their prison sentences reenter the workforce, the state announced Friday.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development said it received up to $10 million in First Step Initiative funding from the U.S. Department of Labor and Department of Justice to support formerly incarcerated individuals transition back to the community.

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Ohio Pushing More Money into Jail Renovations, Buildings

Ohio plans to spend an additional $51 million to renovate and build jails across the state in an effort, Gov. Mike DeWine says, to create environments that reduce recidivism.

The money comes on top of $45 million the state handed out a year ago to six local jails for major construction projects. Also, another $5 million went to smaller projects at six other sites.

“Our continued investment in Ohio’s local jails is a public safety investment that benefits everyone involved,” DeWine said. “This funding will go a long way toward creating safer and more secure jails for Ohio’s communities.”

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Man Sentenced to 13 Years in Prison for Role in Jamaican Lottery Scheme

A Jamaican man was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Raner C. Collins to 160 months, which is a little over 13 years, in prison for leading an international fraud ring that targeted thousands of elderly victims around the United States. As part of his sentence, the court also ordered McIntosh to pay approximately $1.8 million in restitution.

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Dem-Appointed Judge Opens the Door to More Men Being Housed in Women’s Prisons

A Democrat-appointed federal judge opened the door to allowing more males to be housed in women’s prisons Tuesday by ruling that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) covers people with gender dysphoria.

Kesha Williams, a biologically male former inmate who identifies as a transgender woman, sued several people associated with the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center in Virginia for allegedly violating the ADA in their decision to house Williams with men, according to court documents. Judge Diana Gribbon Motz, a Clinton appointee, sided with Williams and rejected a lower court’s dismissal of the initial lawsuit.

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Mexican National Sentenced to 34 Years in Prison for Stalking, Blackmail of Arizona Teen Girls

On Tuesday, Ruben Oswaldo Yeverino Rosales, 27, of Mexico, was sentenced to 413 months in prison, followed by lifetime supervised release, after previously pleading guilty for producing child pornography and cyberstalking, the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona announced in a press release.

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Biden Admin Funnels Taxpayer Dollars into ‘Programming Curriculum’ for Transgender Inmates

The Department of Justice invested almost $1.5 million of taxpayer dollars into a “transgender programming curriculum” focused on transgender inmates’ needs.

The curriculum is designed to help transgender inmates with their gender “identity,” sexual health and safety, according to a summary of the government contract. Though it’s unclear if the curriculum has been implemented, the program could be available for up to 1,200 transgender inmates, according to Justice Department estimates.

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Minnesota Offers Up to $87K for New Prison ‘Tattoo Supervisor’

A job board maintained by the state of Minnesota is offering a prison “tattoo supervisor” position that could pay up to $87,000 with benefits.

The posting seeks applicants who are currently licensed as tattoo technicians, have at least three years of experience, and “possess a strong, well-rounded portfolio.” The hiring agency is the Minnesota Department of Corrections, the state’s prison system, and the work is full-time out of Stillwater.

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Commentary: States vs. Biden’s Prison-to-Streets Pipeline for Illegal Immigrant Convicts

The Biden administration has allowed a more than eleven-fold increase in the number of illegal immigrant offenders let out of Texas prisons and into the general U.S. population, despite federal immigration law requiring ICE to take convicts into custody after serving their time, usually in advance of deportation.

The disclosure emerges from state-initiated litigation that is beginning to shed light on what critics call the administration’s secretive and lenient handling of immigrants beginning last year – treatment that is imperiling public safety, alarmed state authorities say.

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Minneapolis Woman Who Brutalized Somali Elder Last Year Sentenced to Prison

A woman who made headlines last year after brutally beating, shooting and robbing a Somali elder for the rent money she carried in her purse has been sentenced to 58 months in prison as part of a plea deal.

The crime was one of two violent robberies involving Da’Seanna Destiny Williams on Jan. 2, 2021, included in the plea deal.

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Eastern Ohio Man Sentenced to 14 Years in Prison for Committing Federal Crimes

man in handcuffs

An Eastern Ohio man was sentenced in U.S. District Court Friday to 168 months (14 years) in prison for discharging a firearm during a drug-trafficking robbery and for cyberstalking a victim for a year, according to a press release by the Southern District of Ohio U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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Blue States Consider Letting Anatomical Males into Women’s Prisons, Hiding Their Backgrounds

barbed wire fence, outiside of a prison yard

As West Coast states deal with the fallout of putting anatomically male inmates in women’s prisons, the East Coast is looking to join the club.

Maryland is considering legislation similar to a California law that lets inmates choose their correctional facility based on self-declared gender identity, an option that concerned even transgender inmates in the Golden State.

A purported draft executive order by President Joe Biden would do the same to federal prisons, prompting GOP Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas to introduce opposing legislation.

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Georgia Felon Sentenced to More Than 50 Years in Prison for Violent Crime Spree

Federal officials in Savannah have sentenced a violent felon to more than 50 years in federal prison for attempted robbery, carjacking, and firearms offenses in Chatham and Ware counties. Court officials also said that that man, Alfred Wisher, 39, of Savannah sexually abused a juvenile at gunpoint during his crime spree.

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Minnesota Arsonist Who Attacked Target Headquarters During Nicollet Mall Riot Sentenced to 100 Months in Prison

Hands in handcuffs

Victor Devon Edwards, 34, of St. Paul traveled to Minneapolis during the Nicollet Mall riot in August 2020 where he was caught on video looting and committing arson. Earlier this week he was sentenced to 100 months behind bars.

The Nicollet riot occurred after online rumors spread that police had killed a black person outside the mall. In reality, a fleeing murder suspect actually killed himself — but this didn’t stop the looters who smashed, grabbed and burned their way through luxury stores and other buildings in what has since been praised in a local outlet as a “mini-rebellion of the alienated dispossessed.”

While the majority of rioters seem to have evaded punishment, one trio has been put under the law enforcement microscope for their roles in the chaos. Edwards is one of these men and was recently convicted and sentenced for causing just over $941,000 of  damage to the Target headquarters in addition to looting and burning other buildings.

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Rand Paul: ‘Fauci Should Go to Prison for Five Years for Lying to Congress’

Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky) on Thursday said he thinks Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, should go to prison for five years for lying to Congress. The Kentucky senator has repeatedly sparred with the NIAID director over the funding of gain-of-function experiments at the Wuhan lab.

“Fauci should go to prison for five years for lying to Congress. They’ve prosecuted other people, they’ve selectively gone after Republicans, but in no way will they do anything about him lying,” he told Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business.

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Commentary: Florida’s DeSantis Is America’s Great Right Hope

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis

Democratic Govs. Andrew Cuomo of New York, Gavin Newsom of California, and Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan shatter everything they touch. Ron DeSantis, conversely, seems to get everything right. The Florida Republican has emerged as America’s governor. 

“We’re standing with our folks. We’re going to do the right thing. We leaned into it, and we stood strong,” DeSantis told Fox News host Tucker Carlson recently.

Rather than snip a tax, kill a regulation, and then doze off, as too many Republicans have done, DeSantis is a tireless, full-spectrum conservative. He has authorized a host of economic, cultural, and law enforcement initiatives that are buoying Florida and transforming him into the Great Right Hope.

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‘Creepy Porn Lawyer’ Michael Avenatti Cries as He’s Sentenced to Prison for 30 Months for Trying to Extort Nike

Disgraced former attorney Michael Avenatti was sentenced Thursday to 30 months in federal prison and three years of supervised release for trying to extort millions from the sportswear company Nike.

The former media gadfly and anti-Trump resistance hero reportedly cried in court as he made a statement thanking his family. According to Washington Post reporter Devlin Barrett, Avenatti admitted “I and I alone have destroyed my career, my relationships, my life, and there is no doubt that I deserve to pay, have paid, and will pay a further price for what I have done.”

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Arizona House Passes Sentencing Reform Bill, But Passage in the Senate Remains Uncertain

The Arizona House of Representatives passed a sentencing reform bill on Monday, but due to a Senate committee chair failing to bring a similar bill up for a vote in the Senate earlier this year, SB 1064, it’s not clear whether it will make it through the Senate. SB 1064 would relax sentencing laws, which are some of the strictest in the nation. According to Arizona Prison & Sentencing Reform, the state has the fourth highest incarceration rate. Inmates are currently required to serve 85% of their sentences, but the bill would reduce that to as little as one third of their sentences. Inmates who complete self-improvement programs such as substance abuse treatment and maintain good behavior while in prison can receive time off their sentences.

The bill received overwhelming bipartisan support in the House, with legislators voting 50-8 in favor. The previous version of the bill, HB 2173, didn’t get very far in the Senate, since Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Warren Petersen (R-Gilbert) declined to hear the legislation in his committee. The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Walt Blackman (R-Snowfake), decided to get around Petersen with the new legislation by using a strike-everything amendment. He amended a bill that had already passed out of the Senate, so it can go straight to the Senate floor for a vote. However, it is up to Sen. President Karen Fann (R-Prescott) to bring it up for a vote. There is little time left, since the legislative session will likely end this week, according to the AZ Mirror. 

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Former Ohio State Professor Sentenced to Prison for Lying About China Ties

Song Guo Zheng, a former professor and researcher at Ohio State University, will spend 37 months in prison after being convicted of lying about his ties to the Chinese government on applications for NIH grant funding and failing to disclose his China ties to his employers. Zheng will also be required to pay roughly $413,000 to Ohio State University and $3.4 million to the National Institutes of Health.

“Zheng pleaded guilty last November and admitted he lied on applications in order to use approximately $4.1 million in grants from NIH to develop China’s expertise in the areas of rheumatology and immunology,” said the DOJ when it announced the sentencing.

Zheng’s teaching and scholarship were in the medical field, with emphasis on rheumatology and immunology at Ohio State University. Zheng’s researcher biography states that he has also taught at the University of Southern California and Penn State University. 

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Nashville Woman Pleads Guilty to Involvement in International Drug Distribution Conspiracy That Was Led From Prison

A Nashville woman pleaded guilty to her involvement in an international drug distribution conspiracy, orchestrated from prison, that pumped a large volume of drugs into the Nashville area, according to a statement issued last week by federal prosecutors.

The defendant, Jennifer Montejo, 32, was charged in a criminal complaint on December 12, 2019, with possession with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin and 400 grams or more of fentanyl, according to the statement by Don Cochran, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee.

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Governor Northam to Sign Bill Giving Earned Sentence Credits to Violent Offenders and Sexual Predators

Governor Ralph Northam will sign a bill granting earned sentence credits to violent offenders and sexual predators. Certain inmates will be eligible to reduce their sentencing by up to fifty percent.
The bill, House Bill (HB) 5148, includes those sentenced for certain classifications of murder, rape, robbery, abduction, kidnapping, lynching, terrorism, domestic assault, strangulation, genital mutilation, child pornography, and stalking.

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Prison Union Calls for Removal of Michigan Prison Director for Coronavirus Response

A union representing Michigan prison officers has called for the removal of Corrections Department Director Heidi Washington due to the state’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic inside prisons.

According to a letter obtained by the Detroit Free Press, the Michigan Corrections Organization says it has lost confidence in Michigan leadership.

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Sheldon Silver Begins Prison Sentence in Corruption Case

Former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, once one of the most powerful politicians in the state, started his prison sentence Wednesday after years of fending off going behind bars.

Silver, 76, reported to a federal prison in Otisville, New York, according to a statement from the Federal Bureau of Prisons. He was sentenced earlier this year to 6 1/2 years behind bars in a corruption case.

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Coronavirus Prison Deaths Up 73 Percent Since Mid-May: Report

Coronavirus-related deaths in prisons and correctional facilities have reportedly increased by nearly 75% since mid-May, according to The New York Times.

Coronavirus-related deaths in prisons increased 73%  since mid-May totaling at least 607, according to the NYT’s database. The highest number of confirmed prison COVID-19 cases have been at Marion Correctional Institution in Ohio (2,439).

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Avenatti Might Have Violated Terms of Release Again, Prosecutors Say

Attorney Michael Avenatti might have violated terms of his temporary release from jail again, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors with the U.S. attorney’s office for the Central District of California said in a filing made Sunday that Avenatti, who represented porn star Stormy Daniels, might have used his friend’s computer to write and file five different documents, according to CNN.

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Judge Orders Paul Manafort Released from Prison to Home Confinement

A federal judge on Wednesday ordered former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort to be released from prison to home confinement amid concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

Manafort, 71, is serving a seven-year prison sentence on fraud and money-laundering charges. He was convicted in August 2018, sentenced to jail in March 2019 and scheduled to be released on Nov. 4, 2024.

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DeWine Delays Three Executions Until 2022 Citing Drug Shortage

The execution of three death row inmates was delayed Monday by Governor Mike DeWine, who said the reprieve was due to “ongoing problems involving the willingness of pharmaceutical suppliers to provide drugs to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC), pursuant to DRC protocol, without endangering other Ohioans.”

The move follows a decision in January, 2019 to delay the execution of Warren Henness, after a federal judge suggested that Ohio’s current three-drug execution cocktail was unconstitutional, which lead DeWine to postpone execution dates for other men and order a review of the state’s death-penalty method.

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Judson Phillips Commentary: Bill Lee Strikes Out Again

In October, something that has been very underreported happened.  It is something that Tennesseans should know about and be very worried about.

One of Governor Bill Lee’s pet objectives is criminal justice reform.  In October, while speaking to the GOP Senate Republican Caucus, Lee said, “We can empty our jails in the same way that some other states have done. I know we can do that.”

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Report: Ohio Prison Population Still Growing Despite Bipartisan Criminal Justice Reform

Despite bipartisan calls for a reduction in the prison population and a slew of laws aimed at doing just that, a new report released this week has found that the prison population of Ohio has continued to climb over the past decade. Since 2011, the state has passed several new…

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