In the Nation

Raymond Kelly, New York City police commissioner. A federal judge will let a lawsuit proceed.
Raymond Kelly, New York City police commissioner. A federal judge will let a lawsuit proceed. (KATHY WILLENS / AP, File)
Posted: May 18, 2012

'Zero tolerance' for jail sex assaults

WASHINGTON - The Justice Department on Thursday issued the first comprehensive federal rules aimed at "zero tolerance" for sexual assaults on inmates in prisons, jails, and other houses of detention.

The regulations, issued after years of discussions among officials and prisoner advocacy groups, address a problem that a new government study finds may afflict one out of every 10 prisoners, more than twice as many as suggested by an earlier survey.

Congress passed the Prison Rape Elimination Act in 2003, and the rules to carry it out are the first to address federal, state, and local prisons and jails, as well as institutions holding juveniles, illegal immigrants, and others.

The standards are binding on federal prisons; states that do not comply could lose 5 percent of federal financing.

The standards focus on prevention, supervision, and changing the prison culture, not on setting numerical standards for results. Among many provisions, the rules set targets for the staffing of juvenile facilities.

- N.Y. Times News Service

N.Y. police revise 'stop, frisk' rules

NEW YORK - Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly on Thursday announced changes to officer training and supervision amid a growing public outcry and a federal lawsuit claiming the stop, question, and frisk policy at the nation's largest department amounts to racial profiling.

Kelly sent a letter to City Council Speaker Christine Quinn detailing the changes. Last year, more than 630,000 people were stopped, mostly black and Hispanic men. About half are frisked, and only about 10 percent are arrested.

Kelly said in the letter the New York Police Department had reiterated its policy prohibiting racial profiling.

The news came a day after a federal judge gave class-action status to a lawsuit brought by people who had been stopped. U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled there was "overwhelming evidence" the practice had led to thousands of illegal stops. - AP

2 plead no contest in earlier hazing

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Two former members of the Florida A&M University band pleaded no contest to reduced charges of misdemeanor hazing in the beating of a freshman clarinet player as part of a deal with prosecutors Thursday.

After accepting their pleas, Circuit Judge Charles Dodson sentenced Aaron Golson, 19, and Sean Hobson, 23, each to 30 days in the Leon County Work Camp followed by 12 months of probation.

Golson also is one of 11 former band members charged with felony hazing in the Nov. 19 death of drum major Robert Champion. Hobson and Golson each originally had faced up to five years in prison on felony hazing charges in the beating of freshman Bria Shante Hunter about three weeks before Champion's death. - AP

Elsewhere:

Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer's Washington home was burglarized less than three months after he and his wife were robbed on the Caribbean island of Nevis by a man wielding a machete. A housekeeper discovered the break-in May 4, said Kathy Arberg, the court's spokeswoman.

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