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U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez made a stop in New Haven, Connecticut, to make what he called a house call. He was checking in on an ex-offender re-entry program supported in part by the federal government. It helps those formerly incarcerated prepare for jobs once they’re released back into the community.

Administration Aims To Fight Crime With Job Training

Sep 20, 2016

The Labor Department will hand out $5 million in grants to fund job centers for people coming out of jails, part of a broader Obama administration initiative to help reduce recidivism, NPR has learned.

"The earlier you start investing in people who are incarcerated, the better the odds of a successful outcome," Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said in an interview.

The new batch of funding means that 41 such grant projects in a number of states have now won federal funding, known as Linking to Employment Activities Pre-release.

John Atashian / Judy Dworin Performance Project, Inc.

Life after prison presents multiple challenges as ex-offenders re-enter society. 

John Atashian / Judy Dworin Performance Project, Inc.

“Brave in a New World” premieres next week, September 15, at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts — weaving spoken word and dance around the experiences of ex-offenders and their families. It’s the latest piece from the Judy Dworin Performance Project.

This hour, we hear about the upcoming artistic performance that digs deep into what it means to live in prison — and what it means to leave.

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Audio Pending...

Second chances are often talked about in relation to conversations about prison reform, but rarely do we hear from those who actually need them. This hour, we take a look at Connecticut’s “Second Chance Society” through the eyes of a former inmate

U.S. Justice Department officials plan to phase out their use of private prisons to house federal inmates, reasoning that the contract facilities offer few benefits for public safety or taxpayers.

In making the decision, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates cited new findings by the Justice Department's inspector general, who concluded earlier this month that a pool of 14 privately contracted prisons reported more incidents of inmate contraband, higher rates of assaults and more uses of force than facilities run by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

This hour, we discuss Governor Malloy's Second Chance 2.0 legislation and find out why it failed to pass during the 2016 session. We also look at what some Connecticut communities are doing to support re-entry. And we talk to a local restaurant owner about his decision to hire ex-offenders

President Obama has commuted the sentences of 214 federal inmates — "almost all" of whom were serving sentences for nonviolent crimes. According to the White House, it's the "most grants in a single day since at least 1900."

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim is struggling to win support for a program to help fellow ex-convicts find jobs.

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Hundreds of prison inmates across Connecticut will now have access to federal grant money to help pay for college. 

A New York jury has found five corrections officers guilty of felony charges for brutally beating an inmate in 2012 at the notorious Rikers Island jail complex.

The five men were found guilty on all counts, including the most serious charge of attempted gang assault against inmate Jahmal Lightfoot. The beating left Lightfoot "with fractured eye sockets and a broken nose," Reuters reported.

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The Associated Press said Hillary Clinton "clinched" the Democratic nomination for president on Monday. The Bernie Sanders campaign and supporters weren't happy. "Let those people vote and decide before the media tells them that the race is over," Sanders' campaign manager Jeff Weaved told CNN. Should the A.P. have waited until after Tuesday's final big primary day?

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A new report commissioned by two Connecticut organizations looks at the challenges children face when their parents are in prison. This hour, we check in with one of those groups -- the Connecticut Association for Human Services -- to see what they found and how they plan on using the results to guide future policy conversations. We also hear from a college student whose father spent nearly a decade behind bars.

Michael Burghardt couldn't sleep. His legs were shaking, his bones ached and he couldn't stop throwing up.

Burghardt was in the Valley Street Jail in Manchester, N.H. This was his 11th stay at the jail in the last 12 years. There had been charges for driving without a license, and arguments where the police were called. This time, Burghardt was in after an arrest for transporting drugs in a motor vehicle.

This post was updated at 4:15 p.m. ET

A Texas judge has sentenced Ethan Couch, whose lawyers notoriously presented an "affluenza" defense to argue that he wasn't responsible for killing four people when he was driving drunk, to nearly two years in jail.

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Eleven jail systems around the country -- including in Connecticut -- will receive $11 million in grants to help revamp operations to eventually reduce prison inmate populations throughout the state.

A bill that would close Connecticut’s juvenile detention facility in Middletown by 2018 passed the General Assembly Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. The Connecticut Juvenile Training Facility was under investigation last year for illegally putting children into restraints and seclusion.

Lucy Nalpathanchil / WNPR

Now that Governor Dannel Malloy has pegged July 1, 2018 as the deadline to close the Connecticut Juvenile Training School, the state Department of Children and Families must come up with a plan on how to do it and still serve delinquent youth in its custody. 

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Connecticut’s Claims Commissioner J. Paul Vance Jr. recently resigned his position. He had been at the center of a controversy for awarding $16.8 million to four men whose murder convictions in a 1996 gang­-related shooting were overturned. Because of this recent award, lawmakers are looking to make changes to the state’s wrongful incarceration statute.

Lucy Nalpathanchil / WNPR

In December, the Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Correction captured the attention of criminal justice reform advocates with a proposal for a new facility solely for 18-to-25-year-olds. It's part of a string of initiatives under the leadership of Scott Semple.

Kathleen T. Rhem / Creative Commons

A military justice expert from Yale Law School said the president’s comments on closing the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay are a first step in an effort to get the American people behind him on the issue.

U.S. operation of the Guantanamo Bay military detention center in Cuba is "contrary to our values" and is seen as "a stain on our broader record" of upholding the highest rules of law, President Obama said Tuesday as he announced plans to close the facility.

In a cavernous auditorium in the state’s largest prison, a group of about a dozen men serving life or lengthy sentences for homicide or other violent crimes take their seats in a circle with a mother who has suffered the loss of two murdered sons. Some of the inmates seem nervous, shifting in their seats, staring down at the floor.

David Sweat, the surviving convict who escaped from Clinton Correctional Facility last June, setting off a 23-day manhunt, spoke at his sentencing on Wednesday. Already facing life in prison without parole on a previous murder conviction, Sweat was sentenced to up to another seven years.

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Connecticut's Department of Correction is changing the way it rewards prison inmates for good behavior.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

With another legislative session about to begin, Governor Dannel Malloy has announced new proposals under his Second Chance Society initiative. One of his ideas will change how the state defines a juvenile delinquent.

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Dr. Bill Petit spent Sunday, July 23, 2007 playing golf with his father. The day was sunny and hot and a great day to be outside. His wife and two daughters spent the day at the beach. Life was good - until it wasn't.

Within 24 hours, his wife and daughters would be murdered, his home burned, his belongings gone. The trauma would render him unable to return to his medical practice. 

Thomas Hawk /thomashawk / Flickr

Connecticut state police and the Department of Correction said they are investigating the death of an inmate at the York Correctional Institution in Niantic as a possible suicide.

A bipartisan task force created by Congress issued "an urgent call to action" Tuesday to overhaul the nation's federal prisons and reduce the number of U.S. inmates by 60,000 over the next decade.

On Monday, President Obama announced changes to the federal prison system that include banning solitary confinement for juvenile offenders and for prisoners who have committed low-level infractions, calling the practice overused and potentially devastating.

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