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November 24, 2004

In praise of the Fourth Estate

Though the press often gets a bad wrap, in the wake of Blakely and other recently developments, I have been quite impressed with the newspaper coverage of a range of sentencing law and policy issues.  The continuing coverage of federal sentencing in the Wall Street Journal — which even had a story about the USSC 15-year report today — merits particular praise. (I'm biased in favor of the WSJ by its coverage of this blog, but biased against it because of being unavailable free on the web).  And a good number of other media outlets, as I noted here, have also done great sentencing reporting over the last six months.

It is thus especially gratifying when the work of the Fourth Estate produces tangible policy results, and I am pleased to be able to report on two such developments.  First, from Wisconsin there this exciting news that "Lawmakers from both parties in the Legislature have vowed to work to reform a state law that requires criminals to serve their entire prison sentence with virtually no chance for early release."  Apparently this vow is a direct response to the on-going series by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel under the banner "Locked In: The Price Of Truth In Sentencing" (discussed here).

Second, from Florida, we get this exciting news that "Thousands more felons could regain the right to vote in Florida under a series of changes supported Tuesday by Gov. Jeb Bush and members of the state Clemency Board."  Apparently this development is a direct response to the recent articles run by the Miami Herald about severe problems in the state's clemency system (which can be accessed here).

Exciting times and meaningful developments, which may provide a lot of folks a lot of reasons to be thankful this holiday season.

November 24, 2004 at 04:55 PM | Permalink


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