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Extra Extra Monday: Pollution control plans, juvenile justice and inmate deaths

Wis. freeing more sex offenders from mental lockup | WisconsinWatch.org

Wisconsin officials have nearly quadrupled the number of offenders released from state custody after they were committed as sexually violent persons. The risks to residents are reasonable, officials say, because the state’s treatment programs are working and new data suggest these offenders are less likely to reoffend than previously thought.

The story is the first part of “Rethinking Sex Offenders,” a three-day series by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism and Wisconsin Public Radio.

 

Mass. children under state protection die from abuse with alarming frequency | The New England Center for Investigative Reporting

Kadyn Hancock’s aunt said she repeatedly tried to warn state officials that the 13-month-old’s mother might hurt him. But no one heeded her pleas and Kadyn’s mother killed her baby in 2010. Last summer, child advocates questioned why social workers didn’t remove three-month-old Chase Gideika from his troubled home before he was brutally killed, allegedly by his mother’s boyfriend.

 

W. Va. environmental officials never saw Freedom's pollution control plans | The Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette

West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection officials never reviewed two key pollution-prevention plans for the Freedom Industries tank farm before the Jan. 9 chemical leak that contaminated drinking water for 300,000 residents, according to interviews and documents obtained under the state's public-records law.

 

Law on police accountability in custody deaths goes unused | The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Of the 18 deaths in law enforcement custody from 2008 through 2012 in Milwaukee County, 12 were classified as suicide or natural. Officials at every level have used those rulings to absolve themselves of responsibility for prisoners' deaths, a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigation found. In many cases, officials did not evaluate all of the circumstances surrounding the fatalities.

 

Fla. teens in trouble have decision to make: agree to time in a juvenile facility or roll the dice as an adult | The Florida-Times Union

The 4th Judicial Circuit, which consists of Duval, Clay and Nassau counties, dramatically leads the state in the number of juveniles incarcerated through a method called direct commitment. That’s usually a plea deal reached between a juvenile’s lawyer and the prosecutor. When juveniles agree to plea deals, they are often incarcerated without the chance to hear the evidence against them, examine police work or interview witnesses.

 

Law Doesn’t End Revolving Door on Capitol Hill | The New York Times

The experiences of the three Capitol Hill aides-turned-lobbyists — traced through interviews with political operatives and a review of public records — illustrate in new detail the gaping holes in rules governing Washington’s revolving door.

Federal ethics rules are intended to limit lobbying by former senior officials within one year after they leave the government. Yet even after the ethics rules were revised in 2007 following a lobbying scandal, more than 1,650 congressional aides have registered to lobby within a year of leaving Capitol Hill, according to an analysis by The New York Times of data from LegiStorm, an online database that tracks congressional staff members and lobbying. At least half of those departing aides, the analysis shows, faced no restrictions at all.

 

Two Navy divers, out of reach | The Virginian-Pilot

A Navy jury last month found that a master diver failed to make sure proper safety procedures were followed during a training exercise that left two men dead. The Pilot pieced together an account of the dive using court testimony, documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and interviews with unit members, witnesses and lawyers.

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