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PNS Daily Newscast - June 18, 2021 


President Biden just signed a law declaring Juneteenth a federal holiday; and the first tropical storm system is forecast to make landfall in U.S. by end of the week.


2021Talks - June 18, 2021 


The U.S. marks a new national holiday; Republicans reject Sen. Joe Manchin's election reform compromise; and U.S. Supreme Court upholds Obamacare but strikes a blow to equal rights.

Public News Service - TN: Criminal Justice

Protestors clash with police on a highway in Hong Kong. (Adobe Stock)

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- State Senate lawmakers are considering a bill today that would increase the penalty for obstructing a highway from a class A misdemeanor to a Class E felony, punishable by up to six years in prison and a mandatory fine of up to $3,000. Critics say the legislation is a response t

The United States is one of the only countries in the world with a cash-bail system largely controlled by commercial bail-bond companies. (Adobe Stock)

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UNION CITY, Tenn. - For rural Tennesseans, the cash-bail system has accelerated an endless cycle of arrests, excessively high bonds and incarceration, in communities already grappling with a substance-abuse epidemic and shrinking local economies. According to a Vera Institute of Justice study, pre-

For people unable to pay, court fees and fines can prolong their involvement in Tennessee's criminal-justice system. (Adobe Stock)

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennesseans charged with a crime often face a mountain of fees and fines, even if they aren't convicted. Critics say mandatory costs help pay for operating the criminal-justice system, but may simultaneously create new, indirect costs for governments, while trapping those who ar

Pervis Payne is in Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Tennessee. (The Innocence Project)

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MEMPHIS -- Gov. Bill Lee has delayed the execution of Pervis Payne until next spring, citing challenges and disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The execution originally was scheduled for December 3. The case has made national headlines because of Payne's intellectual disability. According

Research shows allowing police officers to handle minor infractions in schools often marks a student's first contact with the criminal justice system, potentially setting them up for a lifetime of collateral consequences. (Adobe Stock)

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The national spotlight on police violence has many reexamining the role of police officers in schools. Before the pandemic, nearly 2 million kids nationwide attended a school in which there was a law-enforcement officer on staff, but not a school counselor, according to a report

The federal Second Chance Pell pilot program, created in 2016, allows incarcerated individuals to receive Pell Grants in order to pursue an associate's or bachelor's degree. (Adobe Stock)
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Many colleges have shifted to online classes for the remainder of the school year, but for people who are incarcerated, distance learning remains a challenge. More than 400 people in Tennessee prisons are earning college credits. The Tennessee Higher Education Initiative pairs a

Recent reforms have shrunk the annual number of girls' detentions to less than 46,000 nationwide from nearly 100,000 in the early 2000s, according to the Vera Institute for Justice. (Adobe Stock)

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The juvenile court in Davidson county is spearheading an effort to reduce the number of girls and gender-nonconforming young people who end up behind bars. The court is emphasizing a trauma-informed approach, as part of the Initiative to End Girls' Incarceration by the Vera Ins

Juvenile detention facilities around the country routinely put youths in solitary confinement, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. (Adobe Stock)

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A juvenile detention center in Shelby County has reduced the use of solitary confinement among children in its care, according to a new report from the Center for Children's Law and Policy and other organizations. In 2012, an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice

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