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News Items – December 21, 2016

Fed up with tough talk, civic groups to grade crime bills
The Daily Progress
A coalition of civil liberties, human rights and faith-based groups in New Mexico has created a new litmus test for criminal justice legislation designed to encourage proposals based on evidence and question highly politicized calls for harsh penalties. Members of the coalition, called New Mexico Safe, plan to assign letter grades to major criminal justice bills before the proposals reach initial committee hearings when the Legislature convenes in January.… Participants in the effort include the League of Women Voters, the Albuquerque NAACP, the Conference of Catholic Bishops, the National Association of Social Workers and many others. The coalition’s four-point evaluation system was designed to focus legislative conversations on crime-reducing strategies that have a proven track record for improving public safety and conserving public funds amid a state budget crisis.

Edward McIntosh is a member:
Holidays can be hard for some veterans
Calaveras Enterprise (CA)
“It’s important to remember everyone is different,” said Edward McIntosh, a licensed clinical social worker at the Sonora outpatient clinic of the Department of Veteran Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System. “Depression and associated suicide risk occur year round. For people who experienced a trauma during the holiday season, the holidays can be a time of sadness. However, many people including veterans have experienced trauma at other times of the year. It’s the anniversary date, not so much the season that can be problematic.”

Jennifer Haus is a member:
Holidays for Misfit Toys: How to Reject One-Size-Fits-All Pressures and Build Your Own Rituals
The Village Voice
Before Friendmas, I’d always felt like the fruitcake. Lots of people feel that way this time of year, according to Manhattan clinical social worker Jennifer Haus, whose practice addresses anxiety, addiction, and chronic pain. Holiday pressure to “return to the scene of the original crime,” she explains, can cause anxiety and depression and threaten the sobriety of people raised with “personality-disordered parents, homophobic family members, alcoholism and substance abuse, domestic violence, neglect, or sexual and physical abuse.”

N.H. child protection agency in need of reform, report finds
The Boston Globe
The state’s child protection agency too often fails to help children who are at risk of being harmed, according to the results of an independent review released Monday. Democratic Governor Maggie Hassan ordered the assessment of the Division for Children, Youth and Families following two high-profile toddler deaths, though consultants who studied the system didn’t delve into those cases. Instead, the consultants reviewed a random sampling of 232 cases and interviewed or surveyed hundreds of stakeholders.

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