Roosevelt 2009



Equal Justice

10 Ideas for Equal Justice
Summer 2009 National Director Hilary Doe Chair of the Editorial Board Gracye Cheng Director of Center for Equal Justice Daniel Pino National Editorial Board Clayton Ferrara Frank Lin Fay Pappas Melanie Wright Yunwen Zhang The Roosevelt Institute Campus Network A division of the Roosevelt Institute 2100 M St NW Suite 610 Washington, DC 20037
Copyright 2009 by the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute. All rights reserved. The opinions and statements expressed herein are the sole view of the authors and do not reflect the views of the national organization, its chapters, or affiliates.



equal justice

This series was made possible by the generosity of Mr. Stephan Loewentheil.

Table of Contents
Implementation of GPS Monitoring on Repeat Domestic Violence Offenders Alissa Rauch, Katie Roy, and Michelle Tafur Prosecutorial Discretion Guy Eddon Support Centers for Young Black MSM in Detroit Gabriel Tourek Filling Senate Vacancies the Democratic Way Sarah Scheinman and Nancy Huemer Building a Base: Electoral Fusion Katharine O’Gorman Parole System Reform Zoe Wick Proscription of Tobacco Possession and Consumption for Minors Jeff Nadel Strengthening the Foundation of Vermont’s Dairy Industry Sarah Ashby, Tarsi Dunlop, Hillary Aidun, and Mackenzie Beer Efficient and Equitable Registration Verification William Slack and Collete Salemi Collateral Consequences Matthew Fischler

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p Letter from the Editor
arlier this year, the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network adopted Think Impact, a model that re-emphasized our organization’s founding goals of looking to young people for ideas and action, twin forces necessary in the pursuit of change. The ideas you will read about in this year’s first 10 Ideas series are the result of the admirable creativity, hard work, and scholarship of Roosevelters. These publications—on Defense and Diplomacy, Economic Development, Education, Energy & the Environment, Equal Justice, and Health—are also a testament to these authors’ engagement with the world. In environments that can be insular, Roosevelters show a willingness to look outwards, to think critically about problems on a local, state, and national level. But, to this end, these publications should only serve as a starting point of a greater process. Roosevelters must be willing to act in the communities where these ideas can most effect positive change. For concepts that you find inspiring, we hope that you are motivated to leverage them for the benefit of your own campus, city or state, and that you seek out channels and movements through which to bring these ideas to fruition. And, in instances where you disagree, we hope that you are challenged to see how you might improve on or adapt an idea. Gracye Cheng Chair of the National Editorial Board


Strategist’s Note P
ith the cold history of slavery and the memory of the civil rights movement ingrained within the minds Americans everywhere, President Obama’s swearing in proved to individuals everywhere that progress could be made in the equal treatment of American minorities. Despite the historical significance of President Obama’s election, the Roosevelt Institute does not ascribe to the belief that the issues of racism, xenophobia, sexism, classism and homophobia have been erased by the events of this past January. Progress, while punctuated by the importance of specific moments and events, does not cease – progress is evolutionary. Inside this publication are 10 Ideas that embody that principle. Of the hundreds of students who answered the call for submissions in the 2008-2009 school year, we believe that these ten briefs, generated by some of the best young minds in the country, offer unique and tactile ways to continue the move towards a more progressive and inclusive America. They embody the unique experiences of student authors in their own communities, as well as collaborative brainstorming and contentious debate with their peers, policy makers and progressives found throughout over seventyfive Roosevelt chapters across the country. But most importantly they personify Eleanor Roosevelt’s belief that “justice…cannot be for one side only.” Sarah Scheinman and Nancy Huemer provide constitutionally sound alternatives to the current policies of Senate elections, while Kate O’Gorman emphasizes the need for a system of electoral fusion. At their core, these briefs emphasize the need for a more representative democracy that sustains the tenants of our Founding Fathers. Other pieces focus on the duality of issues and maintain the belief that the concerns of Equal Justice advocates are conterminous with other policy arenas such as education, healthcare and economics. Gabriel Tourek’s piece seeks to suppress the growing HIV/AIDS rate in African American and gay male populations, while Tarsi Dunlop and the Middlebury College team argue that the Vermont State Legislature should encourage the direct effect of Mexican immigrants to engage in the American economy. Most striking, however, is the profound way these policy recommendations harness the personal experiences and devastating emotions of young people into exceptional progressive policies. After the tragic, senseless loss of their chapter founder, Tiana Notice, the University of Hartford team developed a revolutionary approach to the protection of victims of domestic violence. Their ability to never wane from both their progressive sensibility and their commitment to this work, commitment that Tiana lived and inspired, demonstrates the best of what Roosevelt has to offer. Daniel Pino Lead Strategist for Equal Justice


Implementation of GPS Monitoring on Repeat Domestic Violence Offenders
Alissa Rauch, Katie Roy, Michelle Tafur, Hartford University Global Positioning Systems (GPS) tracking should be utilized in the state of Connecticut for protecting domestic violence victims against recidivistic offenders. This policy is dedicated to Tiana Angelique Notice, founder of the University of Hartford chapter of the Roosevelt Institute. In 1977, Connecticut enacted laws designed to prevent domestic abuse by authorizing courts to grant protective orders. In 1986, the comprehensive family violence act was enacted.1 Currently, the law in Connecticut for violation of Restraining Orders, Protection Orders, and Standing Criminal Restraining Orders is a class D felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison, a $5,000 fine, or both. Specifically for protection orders, a violation of the order also violates bail or release conditions and may result in the court raising the amount of bail.2

Key Facts
• A recent study conducted by the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV) found that in a span of a year their organization alone, sheltered a total of 53,006 reported domestic violence victims.3 • 1 in every 4 women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. • The cost of using a GPS tracking device is estimated to be $10 a day per offender, or some $300 a month. In addition to the bracelets, this estimate includes the costs of the GPS servers and software as well as the salaries of those operating the monitoring systems.

The current Connecticut state laws are insufficient in protecting victims of domestic violence. Connecticut needs to enact legislation that will allow for the tracking of violent and repeat domestic offenders. Thirteen states, including Massachusetts and Illinois have enacted such legislation. On August 4th, 2008 Illinois created a law allowing courts to order a repeat abuser to carry or wear a GPS device for a violation of a protection order. Violations include “… stalking the victim, violating the victim’s personal space as defined in the order of protection, or failing to comply with the respondent abuser’s mandated abuser partner intervention program.” Additionally, the law states that courts must order the offender to be evaluated by a partner abuse intervention program, and mandates that the abuser must follow all recommendations put forth. Failure to abide by the recommendations constitutes a violation of the protective order, which will result in a monetary fine that increases by $200 for every violation of a restraining order conviction. The monetary fines for violations are then put into the Domestic Violence Surveillance Fund.

GPS tracking systems run off of a global satellite system that consists of two dozen satellites that are orbiting the earth. These satellites transmit radio signals that can be read by GPS receivers. In the case that an offender has a permanent restraining order, committed a misdemeanor or felony, they will be fitted with an unobtrusive GPS tracking unit.1 This device would send signals to law enforcement as well as the victim, notifying them that the offender has entered a restricted zone. This gives the victim time to vacate the premises and find a safe location, while allowing officers to locate the offender in order to protect the victim. GPS tracking systems are also a deterrent. When an offender knows that they are being tracked, they are less likely to violate their court orders. In a study conducted by the Ministry of Justice of England (specifically the areas of greater Manchester, Hampshire and West Midlands) found that among the offenders who were issued GPS tracking devices 46% of the offenders said that the satellite tracking had helped them “…to stay out of trouble.” Building off of this idea, the more offenders that are deterred from committing additional crimes through the use of GPS tracking systems can account for a lower incarceration rate of recidivist domestic violence offenders in turn Talking Points reducing the cost to the state. • An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault each year. Next Steps • There are 13 states currently using GPS It would be beneficial to the state of tracking: Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, IlliConnecticut if the legislature created nois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, a pilot program that would test using Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carothe GPS system as a way to track relina, Oklahoma, Utah, Washington. cidvist offenders. Again, this includes people that have protections orders against them or have served jail time for a domestic violence offense; they would be monitored upon release during their parole or probation period. We suggest Connecticut follow in the footsteps of its neighbor, Massachusetts, and test the system in major cities. The pilot program will be tracked and tested for two years. Upon completion a report should be created detailing its findings from the beginning of the pilot program and up until 6 months after the pilot program has been completed. During the pilot program, police will be able to monitor an allotted amount of these offenders described above and monitor their activity as it pertains to the safety of the victim. If this is successful, then we will suggest a continuation of the program and increase the amount of funding for GPS systems. Sources Through this British pilot program researchers tracked prolific and priority offenders, sex offenders, violent offenders and domestic violence offenders. PAGE 22


Prosecutorial Discretion
Guy Eddon, Fordham University School of Law Section 851 of Title 21 of the United States Code sits at the fulcrum of congressionally mandated minimum sentences for specific narcotics and firearms offenses, the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, and the sentencing discretion afforded district court judges under Booker. Within this context, the legislature must modify 21 U.S.C. § 851 in order to address the problem of unfettered prosecutorial discretion. The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 established the now-infamous 100:1 powder to crack cocaine disparity, providing equivalent mandatory minimum sentences for small quantities of crack and one hundred times that quantity of powder cocaine. For example, possession with intent to distribute five grams of crack carries a mandatory minimum fiveyear sentence, whereas it takes one hundred times that amount (one-half of a kilogram) of cocaine to reach the same mandatory minimum sentence. The anomalous result of this ratio is that street-level crack users and pushers may receive a longer Key Facts sentence in the federal system than • Section 851 enables U.S. Attorneys to achigher-level dealers caught with less cess the enhanced penalty provisions of than half of a kilogram of cocaine. At 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(A) when the defendant the state level, fourteen states differhas one or more prior felony drug convicentiate between crack and powder tions. cocaine, although none have a quan• Once filed with the court, defendants tity ratio as large as the 100:1 disparity may only challenge the use of prior confound in federal law. Harsh mandavictions occurring within the previous five tory minimum sentences for crack years on the basis of invalidity. can be further extended by § 851 en• Thereafter, the sentencing judge is rehancements, making cases involving quired to impose the enhanced mandaeven quite small quantities of crack tory sentence. This enhancement can inattractive to federal prosecutors. crease a defendant’s mandatory minimum sentence to life Analysis • “[i]f any person commits a violation of this First, a requirement should be instisubparagraph . . . after two or more prior tuted that when federal prosecutors convictions for a felony drug offense have intend to seek an enhanced senbecome final, such person shall be sentence, they do so prior to any pretrial tenced to a mandatory term of life imprisfilings and prior to engaging in any onment without release[.]” plea negotiations with the defendant. By mandating this process, the legislature will ensure that § 851 does not act like a sword hanging over the defendant’s head during plea negotiations or a strong disincentive to pursue pretrial motions (e.g., to challenge the legality of a search). This first move will be reinforced by the second proposed legislative change which provides a judicial check at the sentencing stage that is compatible with the overarching

reasoning in Booker , Kimbrough , and Gall. The creation of a judicial check on the use of § 851 by the judge to ensure the sentence comports with the overall goals of punishment outlined by 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a). Next Steps A congressionally • Section 851 filings take all meaningful discretion away from sanctioned judithe sentencing judge, which is inconsistent with the constitucial check on the tional remedy set forth in Booker and Kimbrough. use of § 851 would • Because the threat of a § 851 enhancement has the effect give federal judges of doubling a defendant’s mandatory minimum sentence or veto power over increasing it to life, is simply bad policy: “double or nothing” the application of is a gambler’s colloquialism, not a carefully designed criminal § 851 at sentencing justice tool. when the offense • A defendant’s prior criminal record is only one of the factors did not result in set forth by 21 U.S.C. 3553(a) to be considered at sentencserious bodily ining, but when § 851 has been used, the remaining factors are jury and the doumoot. bled mandatory minimum is clearly unreasonable in light of the factors outlined by § 3553(a) and the computed range under the Guidelines. When a sentencing judge considers rejecting the § 851 filing, the judge should provide notice to both sides and an opportunity to be heard in the matter. Appellate courts would review judicial vetoes of § 851 filings for abuse of discretion, applying the standard required under Gall.

Talking Points

The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, Pub. L. No. 99-570 § 1002, 100 Stat. 3207 (Oct. 27, 1986). In the statute, crack is referred to as cocaine base, which can be “cooked” into crack with water and an alkaloid such as baking soda. Each gram of cocaine base produces approximately .89 grams of crack. See U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Cocaine Offenses: An Analysis of Crack and Powder Penalties at 3 (2002), available at 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(B)(iii). 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(B)(ii)(II). The Sentencing Project, “Crack Cocaine Sentencing Policy: Unjustified and Unreasonable,” available at 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(A)(viii). United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220 (2005). Kimbrough v. United States, 552 U.S. __ (2007). Gall v. United States, 552 U.S. __ (2007). In this sense, my proposal is somewhat similar to the binding judicial recommendation against deportation that was created in immigration law by 8 U.S.C. § 1251(b) (1982), a provision subsequently repealed by the Immigration Act of 1990, Pub. L. No. 101-649, § 505, 104 Stat. 4978, 5050.


Support Centers for Young Black MSM in Detroit
Gabriel Tourek, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor To control the rising epidemic of HIV infection among young black men who have sex with men (YBMSM) in Detroit, Michigan, the state Department of Community Health should establish community centers for YBMSM to meet, discuss HIV transmission risks, be tested for the virus, and to receive instruction for prevention and treatment. State health care providers have avoided confronting the rates of HIV in Detroit’s MSM community because of stigma, lack of information regarding MSM sexual behavior, and the absence of meaningful organization among black MSM. Past interventions focused on condom distribution or abstinence, with little attention to MSM culture. Private foundations conduct most of the outreach, but young black MSM empirically avoid clinics and health professionals for fear of homophobic reactions. It often takes up Key Facts to sixty person-to-person contacts for a • HIV is heavily racialized in Detroit: caseworker to even persuade a YBMSM 84% of people infected between the to be tested. ages of 13 and 24 are black. • Prevalence rates for MSM hover Critical evaluations of HIV/AIDS prearound 14%, and MSM account for vention centers in South Africa in 2008 42% of all HIV infections. paradoxically revealed the structural • The Michigan Department of Commumethodology of their programs to be scinity Health has established no public entifically up-to-date and well-informed support centers for black MSM. while at the same time grossly ineffective. The ineffective distribution of condoms and antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) within an epidemic of growing proportions requires deeper investigations into the disconnect between policy and reality. Tragically, black MSM communities within the United States are confronting the same “third world” crisis with prevalence rates as high as fourteen percent . Youth aged 13-19 in Chicago and Detroit have seen their incidence double since 2004. It seems that “behaviors are just not lining up with knowledge about the disease” . High infection rates among male partners, sex for survival, and more fluid sexual networks raise infection risks for both MSM and women of color. The epidemic impacts the urban, low-income African American community disproportionately. Intervention experts cite lack of community awareness and positive support systems as the primary cause of this HIV epidemic. Support centers where YBMSM can meet each other and learn about condom use, testing, risky behavior, and treatment options, could be the tipping point. Stakeholders Black MSM: HIV/AIDS inflicts untold suffering through hospitalization, costly investment in treatment, and the incalculable effects of stigma. Black MSM need support and protection. Leaders could build awareness networks and centers of support, and black MSM must, as a community, embrace prevention initiatives.

City Council, Mayor, State and National Congressional Representatives (Detroit/ Wayne County): The silencing power of homophobia often blocks MSM-conscious policy from the local agenda as well as the issues Detroit’s representatives bring to the state legislature and Congress. MSM issues are often politically-charged and controversial, and the essential support of wary elected officials will depend on generating bipartisan support. MSM support centers for HIV/AIDS should be highlighted as public health interventions that benefit the entire community, including the children or dependents of MSM. Michigan Department of Community Health: Legislation funding support systems and centers for YBMSM in Detroit will be a pilot test for interventions elsewhere. The MDCH must recognize the need for investment of this kind and work actively to inform support interventions with epidemiological analysis and results-vetting.

Talking Points
• HIV/AIDS overwhelmingly affects black MSM in Detroit. • The State of Michigan fails to target these populations with tailored interventions. • The black MSM community in Detroit lacks available support systems, including places to meet, access to sympathetic allies, and information about testing. • Interventions that promote community awareness and provide means of support and communication could provide a framework for change.

Next Steps Support systems must be broached as a vital intervention to black MSM leaders in Detroit, and the Department of Community Health should begin planning locations, publicity, and basic services to be included in support centers. Advertisement of openings, HIV testing infrastructure, and training of moderators for HIV education and discussionfacilitation are priorities.

Millbourne, Hank, Director of AIDS Partnership of Detroit. Personal Interview. February 2009. Medical News Today. “Blacks, MSM Remain Most Affected by HIV/AIDS”. 2 December 2008. Online: < http:// 131450.php>. Michigan Department of Community Health. “2008 Profile of HIV/AIDS in The Detroit Metro Area”. Online: <,1607,7-132-2940_2955_2982_46000_46003-36307--,00.html>. Gavin, George and Tim Quinlan. “’Health Management’ in the Private Sector in the Context of HIV/AIDS: Problems and Challenges Faced by Company Programs in South Africa”. Sustainable Development, 2009: pp. 17, 19-29. Prachand, Nikhil. Department of Health, City of Chicago: HIV/AIDS Surveillance Unit. Personal Interview, 2/25/09.


Filling Senate Vacancies the Democratic Way
Sarah Scheinman and Nancy Huemer, Barnard College Senate special elections should be made more democratic by instituting a process of electing one of two of the state’s representatives to the United States Senate. The Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States was created to revise the process by which United States Senators are chosen. Originally powers designated to the state legislator, have evolved over time, and were reconstituted under the jurisdiction of the citizens of individual states. When crafting the Constitution, the New Jersey Plan maintained one vote for each state in Congress, a measure of fairness from the Articles of Confederation, and it remained in the structure of our government in the form of the United States Senate. The revision under the Seventeenth Amendment expanded the process for electing members of the House Key Facts of Representatives to the • Several states have their own policies: Texas and United States Senate. Louisiana hold all-parties special elections separately The revisions to the 17th from general elections, in which any qualified candiAmendment were made date may run; these states do not have party-based in the interest of democnomination procedures in special elections. racy, and democracy does • Massachusetts, Oregon, and Wisconsin require spenot merely apply in the cial elections, and Oklahoma allows interim appointgeneral election. ments under limited circumstances, but otherwise requires special election. Special elections occur when a vacancy is left for a position in the United States Senate, and they seek to rectify the situation by instituting an election almost immediately after the vacancy occurs. Power is given to governors to choose an interim Senator. There is a provision within the Seventeenth Amendment that grants the power to appoint an interim/full term Senator to the governor of the individual states, if there is a vacancy. The decision to include this provision is a break from the original democratic intent of the amendment. Currently, legislation has been proposed by Freshman Representative Aaron Schock in the House of Representatives as well as Senator Feingold in the United States Senate, attempting to revise election policy to make it more democratic. Neither piece of legislation is being looked at seriously, but there is a possibility for bipartisan support as demonstrated by the Republican Representative and Democratic Senator both proposing legislation to handle this topic. We propose to begin with federal legislation that standardizes the process for filling senate vacancies. When a vacancy occurs in the United State Senate, a Writ of Elections must be issued, and an election must commence between forty-five to sixty days

of the declared vacancy. On the forty-fifth day of the vacancy, a ballot will be sent to all the state’s citizens that are currently eligible to vote. The voters will have fifteen days to return the ballot, and the votes will be counted by the seventieth day when a winner will be announced. We chose to have ballots (pre-stamped) administered by mail because it is impractical to think that voter turnout for a special election would be truly representative of the constituency. While turnout is never 100%, with mail-in ballots, a higher rate could be expected. A candidate in a United States Senate can only get on the ballot officially if they have filled out their FEC Forms 1 and 2 for the office they are seeking. By allowing for direct election by mail-in vote, this process of filling Senate vacancies puts the power of electing Senators back in the hands of the people. The costs would be the paper for the ballot, and the machines to count the votes. There would also be some human supervisors to ensure the process is running smoothly. In total, the entire process would cost fewer than five million dollars for the state, fluctuating based on the state’s population and the consolidation of resources. Stakeholders United States voters will be better represented with a change to the current policy of filling United States Senate vacancies. In total, the individual state election commissions would expand their authority in order to handle special elections in their individual states. Next Steps We believe, because of the nature of the policy and how it requires a vote from two thirds of the federal legislature, and three fourths of the state legislature, that this policy could be implemented by the 2016 elections, if not prior to. There is little sacrifice being made, and only a few provisions would create to ensure that all state elections, general, or special, serve to promote democratic, American ideals.

“The Constitution of the United States,” Amendment Seventeen “The Constitution of the United States,” Article 1, Section 2, Clause 4 The United States of America. The Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service. By Sula P. Ricardson and Thomas H. Neale. House and Senate Vacancies: How are they filled? Congressional Research Service. <>. The United States of America. The Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service. Filling U.S. Senate Vacancies: Perspectives and Contemporary Developments. By Thomas H. Neale. 10 Mar. 2009. Congres sional Research Service. <> The United States of America. Federal Election Commission. Information Division of the Office of Communi cations. Campaign Guide for Congressional Candidates and Committees. By Dorothy Yeager.


Building a Base: Electoral Fusion
Katharine O’Gorman, Barnard College, Columbia University Electoral fusion, the practice of allowing a single candidate to appear on multiple ballot lines, should be adopted across the U.S. in order to encourage wider political discourse and lower barriers to minor party participation. Minor parties and their supporters currently face prohibitive constraints regarding their participation in U.S. political discourse. However, minor parties provide a critical service of giving more choice to voters. Electoral fusion provides new opportunities for minor parties to overcome barriers to inclusion and reinvigorates democracy. Electoral Fusion is the practice of allowing multiple political parties to support the same candidate for a single office. Currently, two forms exist: one allows candidates to appear on multiple ballot lines of different parties, and a second where multiple parties are listed next to a candidate on a single ballot line.

Key Facts
• Seven states - SC, CT, DE, ID, MS, VT, and NY – currently use electoral fusion. • Minor parties approximately received between 2.5 and 4% of the vote nationally in Congressional races between 2000-2006. In New York, a strong fusion state, minor parties receive much higher proportions. Single minor parties in New York top national averages in some cases.

During the 19th and early 20th centuries, electoral fusion was a vital part of the American political system, allowing strong minor parties to exert their influence in this period. But because this practice was associated with boss-driven political machine corruption in some states, measures were taken to eliminate fusion. Today, it remains in seven states: South Carolina, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Mississippi, Vermont, and most prominently, New York. Analysis Through electoral fusion, minor parties develop a wider base of political and fiscal support otherwise unavailable to them. Fusion allows voters to express support for the values of the political party of their choice, without the cost of “wasting” their vote on a candidate with little prospect at electoral success. In addition, fusion can raise minor parties above the threshold percentage of votes required to guarantee a ballot line or public finance. Minor parties can build their infrastructure with these resources, and eventually run their own candidates. Thus far, the majority of minor parties have continued to crossendorse candidates rather than offer their own. However, the proportion of the vote for minor parties is clearly higher in fusion states, an important first step towards increased minor party participation. Essentially, fusion invigorates political debate by eliminating costs of supporting new voices in the electorate. Electoral fusion also provides minor parties with the means to influence the two major political parties. Fusion votes cast for major party candidates can provide critical votes. Thus, major party candidates in fusion states solicit the support of minor parties, making

them more susceptible to minor party influence. Minor parties can exert this power by threatening to withhold their support unless the major parties adopt elements of the minor party’s platform. As a result, minor parties in fusion states are better able to represent the views of their supporters. Fusion can also strengthen American democracy. By allowing voters to choose both a candidate and a party, fusion indicates not just who voters support, but why they support them. Similarly, fusion endorsements can also provide vital information to voters on Election Day by providing indicators of the candidate’s stances on a wider variety of issues. Stakeholders State leaders and constituencies have power to amend electoral law. Therefore, minor party leaders should target these audiences, like the Working Families Party has, to adopt fusion in more states.

Talking Points
• The barriers of the two-party system restrict minor parties from fulfilling their roles of providing an outlet for discontented citizens and representing traditionally neglected issues and constituencies. • Fusion invigorates American political discourse by adding new and stronger voices, providing more information about candidates on Election Day, and creating a means for voters to send a message with their vote.

Next Steps Legislatures should immediately consider bills instituting the more vigorous form of fusion. The National Open Ballot Project, which provides support and bills for adopting fusion, is a critical resource for proponents. Some opponents argue that election costs could increase, but studies demonstrate that these costs are minimal in comparison to the cost of election, ranging from a couple hundred dollars in small districts to a couple thousand in large districts. Sources
Albies, Ashlee. “To Restore Fusion Voting.” Testimony, Senate Elections and Ethics Committee, Oregon State Senate, March 28, 2007. National Open Ballot Voting Project. (accessed December 6, 2008). Aldrich, John H. Why Parties? The Origin an Transformation of Political Parties in America. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1995. Argersinger, Peter H. “’A Place on the Ballot’: Fusion Politics and Antifusion Laws.” The American Historical Review 85, no. 2 (April 1980): 287-306. Ballot Access News. Disch, Lisa Jane. The Tyranny of the Two-Party System. New York: Columbia University Press, 2002. Dudley, Barbara. Testimony, Senate Elections and Ethics Committee, Oregon State Senate, February 5, 2008. National Open Ballot Voting Project. (accessed December 6, 2008). Flanigan, William H., and Nancy H. Zingdale. Political Behavior of the American Electorate. Washington D.C.: CQ Press, 2006. Katz, Alyssa. “The Power of Fusion Politics.” The Nation, September 12, 2005. Kirschner, William R. “Fusion and the Associational Rights of Minor Political Parties.” Columbia Law Review 95, no. 3 (April 1995): 683-723. Lowi, Theodore J., and Joseph Romance. A Republic of Parties? Debating the Two-Party System. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 1998. Maisel, L. Sandy, and Kara Z. Buckley. Parties and Elections in America. 4th ed. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc, 2005. Mazmanian, Daniel. Third Parties in Presidential Elections. Studies in Presidential Selection. Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution, 1974. Michelson, Melissa R., and Scott J. Susin. “What’s in a Name: the Power of Fusion Politics in a Local Election.” Polity 36 (2004). Morse, Adam, and J.J. Gass, eds. “More Choices, More Voices: A Primer on Fusion.” Special issue, Brennan Center for Justice: Voting Rights and Elections Series (October 2006). New York Working Families Party. (accessed October 19, 2008). Rosenstone, Steven J., Roy L. Behr, and Edward H. Lazarus. Third Parties in America: Citizen Response to Major Party Failure. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984. Scarrow, Howard A. “Duverger’s Law, Fusion, and the Decline of American ‘Third’ Parties.” Western Political Quarterly 39, no. 4 (December 1986): 634-647. Schattschneider, E. E. Party Government. American Government in Action. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1942.


Parole System Reform
Zoe Wick, Colorado College Colorado should repeal mandatory parole laws and reform the ways in which technical parole violations are handled. Colorado’s prison overcrowding may be unconstitutional--overcrowding has been deemed cruel and unusual punishment in other states--and limits the amount of energy prison employees may devote to the rehabilitation of each prisoner. With a recidivism rate of 42% within one year, Colorado should devote more attention to the rehabilitation of individuals who need help most, rather than aggravate crowding in its prisons. Facing the pressures of budget cuts, many states are investigating ways to make their prison systems more efficient and are finding that reforming their parole program is the best way to cut costs. Analysis To slow the expansion of the prison population, Colorado’s parole system must be reformed. Currently, Colorado enforces mandatory parole, which, according to an Urban Institute study, is ineffective: prisoners released under mandatory parole fare no better than similar prisoners released with no supervision, and are just as likely to be rearrested.

• Colorado’s prisoner population increased 525% between 1985 and 2008. • The system as a whole is operating at 110% of capacity, with some prisons operating at as much as 185% of capacity. • The annual cost of housing a Colorado prisoner is reaching $28,759.

Key Facts

Furthermore, mandatory parole hinders the efficiency of the prison system in two ways. First, it forces parole officers to handle heavy caseloads, leaving them with little time— often less than two 15-minute sessions per month—for each former inmate. Requiring parole for prisoners regardless of whether or not a board deems it necessary limits the amount of attention that may be devoted to the individuals who need the most guidance. Second, mandatory parole places many nonviolent individuals who do not necessarily benefit from parole under heightened scrutiny, often resulting in their re-imprisonment for technical violations, such as changing their address without permission. These reimprisonments are not necessary to protect the public and come at a high cost to society. In 2007, approximately 40% of Colorado prison admissions, or 4,000 offenders, were people who had violated their parole; of these inmates, only 1,000 had committed new crimes, while 3,000 were jailed for technical violations. Many technical parole violators do not threaten public safety and should not be returned to prison. Not only will parole reform save Colorado millions, but by reducing the number of former inmates assigned to parole and the number of parole violators returned to jail, the Colorado Department of Corrections will be better able to attend to the rehabilitation of its inmates, further lowering the recidivism rate and reducing spending.

Next Steps Research should be done to make a more specific estimate of the amount of money the state of Colorado would save by repealing mandatory parole and reforming the treatment of technical parole violations. In addition, it may be helpful throughout the coming year to investigate the strengths and weaknesses of programs implemented in New Jersey and California. In order to increase the usefulness of parole for those who need it and prevent reincarceration for technical parole violations, Colorado should repeal mandatory parole. However, discretionary parole, through which prisoners may be released early on conditions of parole if a board finds them to be suitable candidates, should be maintained. Furthermore, in cases of technical parole violations, former inmates should be sent to a center that assesses their risks and needs rather than returned to prison. This would prevent prisons from being further crowded with individuals who do not pose a threat to the public and would likely save the state millions of dollars. These changes will cut costs, helping Colorado to fare better in the face of economic challenges. Furthermore, money saved through parole reform should be put towards more effective programs that address the root causes of crime, such as programs that work to broaden the range of opportunities available to disadvantaged youth.

Talking Points
• In California, where a judge recently found the degree of prison overcrowding to be unconstitutional, more parole violators than new offenders are imprisoned each year. • New Jersey recently reformed the way in which technical parole violations are treated, sending offenders to risk and need assessment facilities rather than jail. Analysts predict that this change will save the state $16.2 million this fiscal year.

Oh-Willeke, Andrew. “Recidivism Rising in Colorado.” Wash Park Prophet. August 5, 2008. http://washpark Steinhauer, Jennifer. “To Cut Costs, States Relax Prison Policies.” The New York Times. March 24, 2009. Villa, Judi. “State May Close Two Prisons Because of Budget Shortfall.” Rocky Mountain News. January 27, 2009.


Proscription of Tobacco Possession and Consumption for Minors
Jeff Nadel, Colorado College Colorado Springs, Colorado should implement an ordinance that would legally prohibit a minor from possessing and/or consuming any class of tobacco product. Legislators have often attempted to narrow the incidence of nicotine addiction in juvenile constituents via restrictive measures in acquiring tobacco products. Yet their efforts are routinely subverted by ignorance to the fact that some youth regularly obtain tobacco from older members of the community. Such activity is only perpetuated by a lack of legal regulation of the possession and consumption of tobacco and its derivatives. Current statutes in the state of Colorado prohibit only the purchase of tobacco by minors and the law gives local government the ability to more stringently regulate tobacco use. In the interest of public welfare, health, and safety, it is to the advantage of the city of Colorado Springs, Colorado to implement a municipal ordinance prohibiting the possession and consumption of tobacco products by minors.

Key Facts
• Approximately 75% of daily smokers begin smoking before the age of 20. • One in three teens who are already daily smokers will die because of their nicotine addiction. • In 2001, a sample of teenagers who considered themselves daily smokers were surveyed and 67.2% of them reported having purchased tobacco products without being asked for identification in the last 30 days.

“Tobacco or tobacco product” is deemed any form of tobacco suitable for consumption by any method, including but not limited to cigarettes, cigars, cheroots, stogies, periques, granulated, plug cut, crimp cut, ready rubbed, other smoking tobacco, snuff, snuff flour, Cavendish, plug and twist tobacco, fine cut, other chewing tobacco, shorts, refuse scraps, clippings, cuttings, and sweepings of tobacco. “Minor” is defined as a person under eighteen years of age and “possess” means that a person has or holds any amount of a tobacco product anywhere on his or her person, owns or has custody of a tobacco product, or has a tobacco product within his or her immediate presence and control. Municipalities across the country have enacted similar ordinances with tremendous success. Two prime examples exist within 70 miles of Colorado Springs and have passed similar legislation within the past seven years. Annually, each of these cities has reported increases in attendance of the tobacco secession course as well as decreases in the number of recurrent violations. In the United States, 42 states have imposed some type of youth tobacco sanction at the local, county, or state level. In the interest of reducing the rate of nicotine addiction in minors, the focus of the ordinance is preventative rather than punitive. This being said, for the sake of enforcement,

punitive measures are in place. Considerable but reasonable penalties will discourage future violations. Furthermore, tobacco secession classes can either be ordered or offered by the municipal judge in exchange for or in addition to a fine. This policy will reduce the incidence of municipal tobacco consumption and possession as well as the incidence of nicotine addiction. In the city of Centennial, Colorado, a municipality slightly smaller than the city of Colorado Springs, the cost-benefit analysis has proven to be beneficial over time. The returns from monetary fines for violations have offset the cost of enforcement. Minimal profit gains have been seen. Moreover, there has been a reduced rate of youth tobacco consumption. Stakeholders The enactment of an ordinance prohibiting the possession and consumption of tobacco for minors would be most successful with a local scope due to the greater probability for enforcement and ultimate success. The youth constituency would be most prominently impacted through implementation although tobacco retailers and law enforcement agencies will also be more minimally affected. • In Colorado Springs, Colorado, municipal leaders have implemented a ban on the sale of tobacco to minors but have overlooked other means by which minors obtain tobacco products for consumption. • Forty-two states have implemented restrictions on tobacco possession and consumption for minors, including successful cases in the State of Colorado. • Tobacco secession classes, as a proposed punitive measure for this ordinance, have been shown to reduce the incidence of recurrent tobacco use in youth attendees.

Talking Points

Next Steps The subcommittee on judicial action for the city of Colorado Springs, Colorado should begin by conferring with officials in the law enforcement and judicial systems about logistics for implementation. Once finalized and adopted, law enforcement officials are responsible for enforcement of the ordinance.

Arias, Alejandro. “Effective Youth Tobacco Access Laws: A Comprehensive Approach.” National Conference on Tobacco or Health. December 10-12, 2003. Ordinance No. 2006-O-18. “An Ordinance of the City of Centennial, Colorado, Prohibiting the Possession of Tobacco Products by Minors.” Archives of the City of Centennial, Colorado. August 21, 2006. Ordinance No. 2008-O-10. “An Ordinance of the City of Centennial, Colorado Amending Section 10-11-30 of the Centennial Municipal Code by Amending the Penalties for Conviction of Tobacco by Minors.” Archives of the City of Centennial, Colorado. April 17, 2008. Staff Report: City of Centennial, Colorado. “Ordinance No. 2008-O-10 Tobacco Possession by Minors.” Archives of the City of Centennial, Colorado. April 29, 2008. “Youth Tobacco Possession Laws: Policy Analysis.” Canadian Cancer Society. September 2001.


Strengthening the Foundation of Vermont’s Dairy Industry
Sarah Ashby, Tarsi Dunlop, Hillary Aidun and Mackenzie Beer, Middlebury College The Vermont State Legislature should to allow private banks to recognize matricula cards issued by the Mexican Consulate as valid forms of identification in opening a bank account. Through conversations with several Vermonters close to immigrant issues, three concerns were identified for Vermont migrant dairy workers: access to good health care, the ability to speak up about crime or injustice, and access to bank accounts. State Senator Claire Ayer has twice introduced S.90, a bill that would create a public health program for farm and food service workers. The program would include preventive and prenatal health services and education, but the bill has not made any progress in the state legislature. As Senator Ayer stated, dairy workers are important members of the food production process, and the state has a stake in their health. Migrant workers in Addison Key Facts County can currently receive health as• There are 2500 migrant workers in sistance at the Addison County Open Vermont. Door Clinic, and maybe other counties • Migrant workers make up half of the should be encouraged to open similar fastate’s milk production labor force. cilities. Middlebury Police Chief Officer Tom Hanley explained that the greater community is at risk because migrants do not approach the police about crimes and injustices that they witness, for fear of deportation. Further health care and the impunity from deportation would require legal status, which can only be achieved on a federal level. We therefore determined that of the three critical issues, access to bank accounts would be most effectively addressed through state legislation. Cheryl Connor, who leads the Addison County Migrant Workers Coalition (ACMWC), explained that most migrant workers are paid about $400 for a week’s work on a dairy farm. Because housing and utilities are provided by the farmer, the workers use some of their salary for their own groceries and send the rest home to their families: what Cheryl refers to as “federal aid with no strings attached.” The current string, however, is that workers mail money home through private transfer services that skim off a large portion of the sum. If workers were able to open bank accounts they could wire money home without losing so much of it, and patronize Vermont banks. According to Cheryl Mitchell, a member of ACMWC, the Mexican consulate currently issues matricula identification cards to Mexican migrant workers in Vermont, but the state does not legally recognize them. If banks were legally allowed to recognize these cards the migrant workers would be able to open accounts. New Haven is the first city in the country to adopt a similar policy, which issues identification cards to residents regardless of their origin or legal status; the cards have increased migrants’ contact with the local police, though it has thus far had limited success in encouraging them to open bank ac-

counts. The proposed policy for Vermont would allow banks to recognize matricula cards without the threat of deportation. Analysis Vermont’s dairy industry is the largest in New England, and our dairy farms rely on the labor of approximately 2500 migrant workers. An estimated one-third of full-time farm workers in Vermont are Hispanic immigrants, while migrant workers make up half of the state’s milk production (as opposed to non-dairy products). As Senator Ayer pointed out, the state’s food production competes with those such as Florida’s and California’s that employ many more migrant workers; it is in the state’s best interest to provide for this population where possible. Furthermore, Vermont banks would benefit from holding additional bank accounts Talking Points and facilitating wire transactions. The • Encourage the Vermont State Legislainfrastructure for the change is already ture to allow private banks to recognize in place, so the only change to be made matricula cards issued by the Mexican is the recognition of matricula ID cards. Consulate as valid forms of identificaOfficer Hanley explained that the isolation in opening a bank account. tion of the migrant worker population • Vermont banks, and through them the poses a risk to the greater community state economy, would benefit monbecause they feel unsafe speaking up etarily from holding these accounts. about crime or injustice. Access to bank • Integrate population whose isolation accounts would begin to incorporate currently poses threats to the greater migrants into the community in a way community. that could provide more opportunities to avoid unseen dangerous situations. Next Steps • Clarify policies of different banks in Vermont • Advertise these policies through ESL tutors, the Mexican Consulate and church services using fliers and encouraging banks to post them on their websites. • Recommend possible legislative changes if necessary.

Ayer, Claire. “Migrant Workers in Vermont.” Personal interview. 12 Mar. 2009. Connor, Cheryl. “Migrant Workers in Vermont.” Personal interview. 16 Mar. 2009. Hanley, Tom. “Migrant Workers in Vermont.” Personal interview. 3 Mar. 2009. Mitchell, Cheryl. “Migrant Workers in Vermont.” Personal interview. 10 Mar. 2009. Sesno, Christopher, Jack Masur, and Chritopher Mejia. Reinforcing Vermont’s Dairy Industry. Working paper.


Efficient & Equitable Registration Verification
William Slack and Collete Salemi, Williams College States should allow voters to verify their registration and absentee ballot submissions online and vote without personally appearing for either registration or the casting of a ballot. Many states allow citizens to verify registration and absentee ballot submissions online, but this policy is not universal. Without electronic verification, citizens have to call their local election commission to verify state records. This call takes a state employee’s time and risks communication errors between the computer, employee, and citizen. States already track such information electronically; there is no substantial justification to withholding it from secure distribution via the Internet. Additionally, no citizen should be required to either register or vote in person, as is currently the case in two states. This proves especially discouraging for students studying out-of-state, who are disenfranchised if they cannot travel home to register or vote. Families on limited budgets may find such travel impossible. AdKey Facts ditionally, un-registered people • Currently, 29 states provide website services temporarily employed away that allow residents to check the status of from their home state may also their voter registration and absentee voter rebe barred from voting. Employquest forms online. ment, academic dedication, and • 25% of votes cast in the 2008 election were limited budgets should not previa absentee voting. vent anyone from expressing • Two states currently require registering/voting their franchise. in person: Illinois and Tennessee. • In the most recent data (from 2004) 19,000 Analysis four-year college students from Illinois studied Implementation will not require out of state; representing 75% of Illinois’s gradsignificant new infrastructure, as uating high school seniors. (National Center all local election offices should for Education Statistics, 2007) already have this information • Also in 2004, 5,277 four-year college stustored electronically in order to dents from Tennessee studied out of state; prevent data loss through fire. representing 22% of Tennessee’s graduating This reform requires them to seniors. (National Center for Education Statisstore that data with the state in a tics, 2007) common format, which the state can then make available to citizens along with logged receipt of absentee ballot requests and completed ballots.

Regarding absentee balloting, the new policy has no cost because the states in question already have procedures for absentee voting and registration by mail. The policy actually saves money by eliminating the need for states to track if voters have appeared in person for registration or voting. If states are worried about voter fraud, they could require the

signature of a Notary Public, or a copy of some valid form of verification, requirements that some others states have used with success. Stakeholders All absentee voters are affected. Because military groups, Americans abroad, and college students are two large groups that often vote out of state, these groups would be especially affected. Laws requiring personal appearances affect students from Illinois and Tennessee. They could be engaged through outreach to campus political and voting groups, as well as through student-government associations. Next Steps These reforms should be enacted • These policies have been adopted with sucthrough individual state laws and cess by a number of states. nationally through an amendment • Online voter and absentee ballot verification to the Help America Vote Act of makes the registration process much more 2002. As with other elections efficient, reducing voter confusion regarding laws, it will be enforced by the registration status and reducing error. Federal Election Commission. • Absentee ballot policy reform would enable Some states may initially oppose state citizens to cast ballots in their “home” online verification because of state, instead of being forced to cast a ballot start-up costs. However, the exin a state of temporary residence. perience of states that have en• Current policies make voting more prohibiacted these reforms as well as the tive for lower income citizens since they are effectiveness of the service once more likely to lack the funds for travel. the website is developed and running should eliminate opposition. Approaching congressional delegations from the affected states may be a necessary step in gaining national support to change the requirements that require voters to appear in person.

Talking Points

McDonald, Michael. “2008 Early Voting.” United States Election Project. 2008. www.elections.gmu.eduearly_ vote_2008.html) Check Your Registration and Polling Place. International Humanities Center. RegInfo.asp National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics: 2007. U.S. Department of Education. The Nonprofit Voter Engagement Network. “America Goes to the Polls: A Report on Voter Turnout in the 2008 Election. 2008.


Collateral Consequences
Matthew Fischler, Northwestern University Eliminate the collateral consequences of felony conviction for non-violent drug offenders. Male defendants from low-income communities of color face disproportionately larger sentences than their white and higher income counterparts because of a combination of racial profiling, inadequate indigent defense council, and inequitable sentencing guidelines. Overloaded municipal courts employ aggressive plea bargaining practices to unclog case dockets, coercing low-income defendants to plea guilty in return for reduced sentences. In 2007, 95.7% of all felony convictions were the result of guilty pleas.2 But many defendants do not realize that entering a guilty plea results in a felony conviction that has life-long “collateral consequences” that bar them and their family members from access to the social safety net. Nearly 7.3 million children currently have parents who are in jail, on probation, or on parole. The majority of these children are vulnerable to the invisible penalties associated with their parent’s felony convicKey Facts tion.3 Federal statutes bar con• 1 in 9 African American Men aged 20-34 are victed felons from receiving social in prison. services such as housing subsidies • 7.3 million children are subject to the col(Public Housing/Housing Choice lateral consequences of parents’ felony Vouchers), Temporary Assistance convictions. for Needy Families (TANF), and the • When compared to imprisonment, commuSupplemental Nutrition Assistance nity corrections save tax payers on average Program (SNAP).4 By removing pen$74.95/day per offender. alties, states can prevent vulnerable • Economists project that state budgets face families and individuals from losing a combined deficit of nearly 312 billion dolaccess to essential social services lars, with states spending nearly 52 billion while reducing drug crimes and dollars a year on corrections.1 save taxpayers millions of dollars. First, Congress should adopt a federal “deferred adjudication” statute which supports local, state, and US district court efforts to provide non-violent drug offenders the option of entering into probationary substance abuse programs, a practice already implemented in Texas. Upon completion of a program, all drug related charges against the defendant are dropped, avoiding the long-term collateral consequences. By placing more low-risk non-violent offenders into community corrections as opposed to prison, states can save tax payers millions of dollars while offering while rehabilitating low risk ex-offenders. On average, it costs a state $78.95/day to house an offender in prison, where community supervision costs taxpayers $4/day on average.5 Second, Congress should repeal the lifetime ban on individuals convicted of non-violent drug felonies from receiving TANF (welfare) and SNAP (food stamp) benefits. Repealing the ban would have a positive effect on over 135,000 children at risk of going into foster care due to reduced family incomes.6

Third, Congress should adopt legislation protecting public housing leaseholders, and Housing Choice voucher holders from eviction or denial of tenancy based on familial relations to non-violent drug offenders. This legislation should also protect ex-offenders against automatic exclusion from housing subsidies. By eliminating the barriers to emergency social services, Congress can provide lowincome offenders with opportunities to support themselves and their families and to become responsible citizens. Next Steps With the introduction • Sentencing guidelines for drug offenders and policing of the National Crimipractices have disproportionately impacted low-income nal Justice ComAfrican American and Latino inner city communities. mission Act of 2009 • Deferred adjudication is a more effective means of rehaby Senator Webb, bilitating non-violent drug offenders. eliminating collat• Restoring access to the social safety net is essential for eral consequences successful community re-entry for indigent ex-felons. is politically feasible. Politicians from both parties agree that the criminal justice system isn’t effectively punishing and rehabilitating ex-offenders. Community surveillance programs such as deferred adjudication have been proven to be more effective at reducing drug related crime than prison sentences.6 In the context of an economic downturn, state can shift low-risk offenders into more effective community correction and rehabilitation programs saving taxpayers millions of dollars. With the growing political will to reform the criminal justice system, it is time to take bold steps to eliminate the debilitating effects invisible penalties have on our most vulnerable populations.

Talking Points

[1] Fears, Darryl. “Sentencing Panel Mulls Alternatives to Prison.” Washington Post 12 Oct. 2008. < article/2008/10/11/AR2008101102051.html>. [2] U.S. Sentencing Comm’n, Sourcebook of Federal Sentencing Statistics, fig.C (2006). [3] Travis, Jeremy, Elizabeth C. McBride, and Amy L. Solomon. Families Left Behind: The Hidden Costs of Incarceration and Reentry. Rep. 09 Feb. 2006. Urban Institute Justice Policy Center. <>. 2. [4] Travis, Jeremy. Invisible Punishment: An Instrument of Social Exclusion. Publication. 1 July 2002. Urban Institute. < urlcfm?ID=1000557>.18 [5] Pew Center on the States, One in 31: The Long Reach of American Corrections (Washington, DC: The Pew Charitable Trusts, March 2009). [6] Life Sentences: Denying Welfare to Women Convicted of Drug Offenses. Issue brief. Washington, DC: The Sentencing Project, 2006. [7] Solomon, Amy L., Jenny W. L. Osborne, Stefan F. LoBuglio, Jeff Mellow, and Debbie A. Mukamal. Life After Lockup: Improving Reentry from Jail to the Community. Rep. 01 May 2008. Urban Institute Justice Policy Center. <>. Other Sources Consulted: Kelling, George L., and James Q. Wilson. “Broken Windows: The Police and Neighborhood Safety.” The Atlantic Monthly Mar. 1982. One in 100: Behind Bars in America 2008. Rep. Washington, DC: Pew Center on the States, 2008. Report of the Re-Entry Policy Council: Charting the Safe and Successful Return of Prisoners to the Community. Council of State Governments. Reentry Policy Council. New York: Council of State Governments. January 2005 Smart on Crime: Recommendations for the Next Administration and Congress. Rep. 5 Nov. 2008. The 2009 Criminal Justice Transition Coalition. <>.


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