Columbus hopes new program will reduce recidivism among violent offenders

August 25, 2017. The Columbus Dispatch.

The city will soon be rolling out a new anti-crime initiative offering violent offenders a chance to change.

The catch?

Shootings and violence must stop, said Columbus’ Public Safety Deputy Director George Speaks.

The program, called the Safe Neighborhood Initiative, is the result of a three-year grassroots effort led by BREAD — Building Responsibility, Equality And Dignity — to lobby the city and other government agencies that violence could be reduced by intervening with violent offenders. BREAD is a faith-based social justice organization made up of 40 congregations and 20,000 members.

Spiritual Shenanigans: When Christians (and people of other faiths) actually act the way Jesus suggested, here’s what happens

August 6, 2017. CLTampa.com

The desire to bring about change is perhaps greater this year than it has been in decades in this country.  But finding ways to make a positive difference can be difficult. For some religious residents of Pinellas County, banding together has been a key to getting their voices heard to meet the needs of the community through the organization FAST (Faith and Action for Strength Together). 3,000 diverse members of FAST came together most recently on April 24 in Tropicana Field to meet with local politicians, including St. Pete’s mayor, Rick Kriseman, and ask for action on three chosen issues in an annual event they call the Nehemiah Action Assembly.  

Douglas County Commission to forward report on future jail population to architects

July 26, 2017. Lawrence Journal-World.

After learning Wednesday of a new issue that has the county jail occasionally housing more inmates than its 186-bed capacity, Douglas County commissioners agreed a report on future jail population numbers should be shared with architects so they can update jail expansion plans.

Drug court judge seeks emergency fund for participants in treatment program

July 13, 2017. Insider Louisville.

District Court Judge Stephanie Pearce Burke says her speciality drug court in Jefferson County designed to steer criminal defendants toward addiction treatment instead of jail is producing good results, but it’s only at half-capacity and in need of discretionary funds to help participants in crisis pay for housing, medication and food to increase their odds of completing the program.

Earlier this week, Burke participated in the inaugural criminal justice roundtable of city leaders created by Citizens of Louisville Organized and United Together (CLOUT), a faith-based social justice group.

Charleston needs a qualified, independent police audit

June 18, 2017. The Post and Courier.

What should Charleston do about citizens’ repeated allegations of racial bias by police? Mayor Tecklenburg seemed untroubled by such reports in his May 30th Post & Courier column celebrating the city’s “racial progress.” He praised the police chief for leading the Illumination Project since 2015, a period of “remarkable forward motion for our police department and the community it serves.” He also noted that “an independent, third party bias-based policing audit” had just begun.