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University of Wisconsin–Madison
Poverty-related issues in the news, from the Institute for Research on Poverty

Tag: Crime

Public Criminal Defense System – Michigan

Indigent defense: Michigan looks to overhaul system for low-income criminal defense, By Jonathan Oosting, June 14, 2013, “Michigan lawmakers on Thursday took a major step towards overhauling the state’s public criminal defense system, which critics say has been broken for years and failed to protect some residents who cannot afford their own attorney. The Senate and House on Thursday approved identical bills, setting the stage for them to be finalized and sent to the governor as early as next week, to create the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission. The 16-member body would be tasked with researching, developing and enforcing minimum standards for constitutionally-guaranteed legal representation in jurisdictions around the state…”

Prison Sentencing and Poverty

Prison and the poverty trap, By John Tierney, February 18, 2013, New York Times: “Why are so many American families trapped in poverty? Of all the explanations offered by Washington’s politicians and economists, one seems particularly obvious in the low-income neighborhoods near the Capitol: because there are so many parents like Carl Harris and Charlene Hamilton. For most of their daughters’ childhood, Mr. Harris didn’t come close to making the minimum wage. His most lucrative job, as a crack dealer, ended at the age of 24, when he left Washington to serve two decades in prison, leaving his wife to raise their two young girls while trying to hold their long-distance marriage together…”

Denver Post Series on Child Welfare System

Failed to death, series home page, November 2012, Denver Post: “Day 1: More than 40 percent of children who died of abuse and neglect in the last six years in Colorado were known to child protection workers.   Day 2: Caseworkers are the backbone of the system but often fail to follow state policies.   Day 3: Some children never get a chance for help because their cases were ‘screened out.’   Day 4: Too often child welfare workers and law enforcement fail to work together.   Day 5: Funding inequities have plagued Colorado s child welfare system.   Day 6: People who kill children serve much less prison time than those who kill adults.    Day 7: Abused children often suffer from a long-term psychological impact.    Day 8: There are answers to the problems that face Colorado s child welfare system but they require political will and often money…”