Legal Advice

Criminal Justice Reform in 2018 – What’s Happening

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Criminal Justice Reform

Our headlines seem filled with stories about crimes throughout the country.  If the number of criminal lawyers is any indication it might seem like the overall incidence of crime was on the rise.  However, a careful look at the data shows that the overall rate of crime has remained constant in this generation and it is the rate and total population of incarcerated individuals that has increased – mainly due to stricter sentencing guidelines.

If the goal is to scale back incarceration several important areas of the justice system need to be addressed.  Here are some examples:

Sentencing

Some state legislatures have examined their probation systems and begun offering probation to third time non-violent offenders.  They have also offered the same in the case of first-time, low-level violent offenses such as a simple battery.  Other areas have reformed their laws to expand probation eligibility, reclassifying low-level felonies as misdemeanors, streamlining the parole review mechanism, and limiting admissions for technical violations.

Fixing The Race Issue

It is no surprise that there is a wide disparity in the racial representation among prison populations.  In some areas legislatures have adopted new procedures called “racial impact statements”.  These are studies that show how particular sentencing guidelines may have a disproportionate impact on one race over another, or one segment of society more than another.  Some proposed laws require the legislature to show good cause why they enacted any law that disproportionately affects one race more than another.  In another case, an oversight board monitors and implements practices to rectify structural race issues in the justice system.

Raising the Age

In many locales, children as young as 16 are prosecuted as adults.  Many jurisdictions are now re-thinking these rules, with some passing legislation raising the juvenile jurisdiction age limit to 18 for non-violent crimes.

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Legal Advice

Six Modern Divorce Ideas That Might Blow Your Mind

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Modern Divorce Ideas

In the last few years a huge number of celebrity divorces have uncovered some new and emerging trends for couples who’ve chosen to “consciously uncouple”.  Some are obviously too far are out there to merit serious attention, but other are available using family lawyers and worth your consideration.  Here are a few ideas you might try out if you’re headed for the big “D”.

Bird-Nesting

This might sound strange in the area of divorce but what the term refers to is the situation where children of divorce continue to live in the family home and the parents rotate in and out as they have visitation.  Typically, the parent not currently living in the home will stay at a nearby apartment with a relative or a roommate.  As their turn arrives they take over in the family home and the other parent switches to the apartment.

This approach offers a variety of benefits.  First, it allows for a gradual transition into a two household life with parents living separately.  It provides less interruption for the children since they are not shuttling between different locations.  As mom and dad start to pursue their own independent lives again bird-nesting provides a ‘softer landing’ and more gradual transition for the entire family.

Divorce Doulas

What is a Doula?  The traditional definition of doula is a woman who provides support and assistance during childbirth. A “Divorce Doula” might be accurately described as a “divorce coach”.  These professionals offer a wide variety of much needed services for individual who are divorcing, from personal emotional support to help finding an appropriate lawyer, seeking financial advice, or just being a shoulder to cry on.

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