►California prisons this year have been working overtime looking for ways to address their overcrowding problem. Working on a timeline aimed to reduce the prison population by more than 30,000 by 2013, state officials have readied a plan that would cut the number of incarcerated women in half. Mothers who were convicted of non-serious, non-sexual crimes and have two years or less remaining on their sentences will be released. The women will wear ankle bracelet GPS systems and have to report to a parole officer. The program is "a step in breaking the intergenerational cycle of incarceration," state prisons secretary Matthew Cate said. More than 4,000 women would be eligible and some will start going home as early as next week, the Los Angeles Times reported.
►The most recent Homeland Security preparedness grants distributed more than 2.1 billion to agencies and organizations to protect the most “high risk” areas. Eighteen million dollars of that money was awarded to nonprofit organizations that could be targets for terrorists. An analysis of nonprofits that were awarded grant money by a Jewish newspaper, the Jewish Daily Forward, found that Jewish nonprofits were awarded 81 percent of the grants. The report notes several reasons why Jewish institutions have been more successful at obtaining homeland security grant money, saying that rules for grant applications favor religious institutions over other nonprofits, institutions must demonstrate they have been attacked before, and other types of institutions aren’t as “plugged in.” Some Jewish leaders are opposed to the receipt of funds from DHS. “You’re endangering a fundamental principle of separating church and state in return for something that has very little impact on the community,” Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Reform movement’s Religious Action Center, was quoted. Saperstein urged synagogues not to take the money and to seek money for security improvements from its own members, but many applied for the grants anyway.
►TSA policies for children 12 and under will soon change in response to public outrage over TSA’s current policies that make children subject to similar pat-downs as adults. Children will no longer be required to remove their shoes at security checkpoints and the number of pat-downs will be reduced, the Associated Press reported. However, there will be some exceptions to the new rules to keep airport security unpredictable, DHS secretary Janet Napolitano said. To reduce the number of pat-downs, TSA will be authorized to send children through metal detectors or walk-through scanners multiple times to capture a clear picture. The changes are expected to roll out this week.
►In other news, the Guardian provided live updates on the brazen attack on the U.S. embassy in Kabul. ♦ USA Today reports that lawsuits against schools for not acting against bullying are on the rise. ♦ And Mumbai and the Indian state of Maharashtra are on high alert after intelligence reports suggested Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport could be a target for an attack using “small aircraft or helicopters,” Gulf News reported.