The role of misdemeanors in mass incarceration

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The role of misdemeanors in mass incarceration

And other updates from across New York.
February 19, 2019

A new federal lawsuit could determine whether foster care agencies can discriminate against same-sex couples. The Department of Health and Human Services had granted a waiver to Miracle Hill Ministries, which had allowed the South Carolina-based organization to deny adoption services on the basis of sexual orientation and religion. Read more here.

 

A new book examines the role of misdemeanors in mass incarceration. Author Alexandra Natapoff, a law professor at UC Irvine, spoke on a recent podcast produced by the Center for Court Innovation about her research into how low-level offenses are the entry points into the criminal justice system for millions of Americans each year. Her new book is Punishment Without Crime: How Our Massive Misdemeanor System Traps the Innocent and Makes America More Unequal.

 

Food stamp recipients are getting next month’s benefits one week early. The Cuomo administration announced the change on Feb. 25 as a response to the lingering effects of the “SNAP gap” caused by the recent federal government shutdown.

“The federal government directed states to issue SNAP benefits on Jan. 17 due to the government shutdown. Approximately 1.4 million households received their February benefits three weeks earlier than normal, to ensure sufficient funding was available,” reads a press release from the Office of the Governor. “The regular benefits schedule for March was restored after the federal government reopened, causing some New Yorkers – especially those in New York City – to not see benefits until mid to late March.”
 

A new coalition of advocacy groups aims to promote civics education statewide. About two dozen organizations have signed on to the effort organized by the Center for Educational Equity, a policy and research center at Teachers College, Columbia University. Michael Rebell, the founder of the center, filed a federal lawsuit last November asserting that young people have a constitutional right to a quality civics education. Rebell previously litigated the successful lawsuit, Center for Educational Equity v. state of New York, which led to the establishment of the current state system of allocating educational funding. DemocracyReady NY has yet to outline the specifics of its platform, but its website is up and running and participating organizations are promising more is to come.

Zach Williams
Zach Williams
is a staff reporter at New York Nonprofit Media and sister publication City & State.
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