May 27, 2018

Arts centered diversion program for troubled youth

Juvenile Justice Information Exchange - The program is short: two counseling sessions, two hours each. But for teens and adults who have been arrested for the first time, it can save them from a lifetime with a criminal record.

Project Reset is a diversion program that was started in 2015 by the Manhattan District Attorney's office as an opportunity for teens who have committed nonviolent crimes like trespassing and turnstile-jumping to stay out of criminal court by completing alternative programming.

... Amy is one of hundreds of 16- and 17-year-olds in Manhattan who opted to do some of their Project Reset hours at Gavin Brown’s enterprise, a gallery that pairs teens in the program with artists. The artists lead group activities for the kids, teaching them about positive self-expression.
.... Derek Fordjour, who came to Project Reset as an artist a little over a year ago, says the vast majority of teens he works with in the program fit a very specific profile. He described a kid hanging out with his or her friends and getting involved in youthful indiscretions. Maybe they were loitering in an abandoned building or maybe they were pressured to jump a turnstile.

Instead of turning that indiscretion into a criminal label, the program offers its participants a second chance.

Since its inception, Project Reset has had a high completion rate: 919 teens in Manhattan and Brooklyn have participated since March 2015, with 98 percent completing their hours, according to program analysis from the Center for Court Innovation.

The process begins at the point of arrest and before arraignment, when a police officer alerts potential participants that they may qualify for diversion programming. If participants complete the program, charges are dropped and they do not have to appear in criminal court.

How famous men toppled by sex abuse charges plan their comeback

Another Scott Pruitt horror story

Mother Jones - In 1999, Scott Pruitt, then an Oklahoma state senator, introduced a bill to grant men “property rights” over unborn fetuses, requiring women to obtain the would-be father’s permission before aborting a pregnancy.Pruitt, now the embattled administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, submitted the legislation again in 2005. The bill ... did not pass either time.

27,000 Brits hospitalized annually for pot problems

Daily Mail, UK  - There were 27,501 admissions linked to cannabis in England in 2016/17, a 15 per cent rise in just two years from 23,866 in 2014/15.

Labour MP Jeff Smith, who requested the figures on cannabis-related hospitalizations, said the large increase was ‘a concern’.

The influential medical journal The Lancet has just taken the unprecedented step of branding cannabis a ‘huge risk to health’.

Mr Smith, an ex-DJ who has admitted taking drugs, said: ‘It could be that the rise in hospital admissions is associated with rises in particular types of cannabis being used – street cannabis now tends to be more “skunk”.’

‘Skunk’ has a high concentration of the main psychoactive compound THC, which is strongly linked to increased risk of psychosis.

A recent study based on drugs seized by police found that 94 per cent of cannabis now sold on UK streets is ‘skunk’. Academics say this super-strength cannabis could be behind the rise in mental health problems linked to the drug.

Cheesy law suit

Miami Herald - Two South Florida McDonald's customers think the fast-food giant is being awfully cheesy with how it charges customers for a signature item that has been on its menu since 1975.

According to a class-action lawsuit filed in Fort Lauderdale federal court on May 8, Cynthia Kissner, of Broward County, and Leonard Werner, of Miami-Dade, say they have had to pay for cheese they don't want on their Quarter Pounder sandwiches. The suit asks for at least $5 million.

May 26, 2018

The question raised by Weinstein's arrest

Bloomberg  - New York Mayor Bill de Blasio took to Twitter on Friday to use the arrest of film producer Harvey Weinstein as an opportunity to call for a similar investigation of President Donald Trump.

“We’re seeing justice served today in the case of Harvey Weinstein,” de Blasio said in his Twitter message. “But it begs the question: When so many women have come forward to accuse @realDonaldTrump of sexual harassment, how is there no investigation?”

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