Idaho legislators are the first in the nation to pass transparency protections addressing concerns about risk assessment tools in the criminal justice system.
Two months after First Step Act, no sign work has started on its centerpiece risk assessment software
More than two months since President Donald Trump signed into law the First Step Act, the development of a risk assessment tool central to its implementation is still stalled.
Prison administrators are not known for their transparency and developing strong sources in and outside the system rarely comes easy. But since 2016 the Houston Chronicle’s Keri Blakinger has used Texas’ (relatively) strong public records laws to get scoop after scoop on her beat, even though most of the institutions she covers are over an hour away.
The severe, gray, concrete walls of prison sometimes give way to unexpected bursts of color and potential moments of inspiration. The Massachusetts Department of Correction revealed some of these in a recent public records release containing photographs of several motivational posters hanging on its prison walls.
The Virginia Department of Corrections came under national scrutiny in September when visitors learned they would not be allowed to wear tampons or menstrual cups, citing them as an apparent contraband risk. A FOIA request for a more thorough explanation of the tampon ban - through policy documents and a log of contraband incidents alluded to in the Times - revealed a two-month wait of rejection, denial and, finally, the single-page document behind the ban.
Beryl Lipton sent this request to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Office of Audits and Court Compliance of California