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The murder of a Hofstra student

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.
May 17, 2013 1:50:52 PM PDT
So what really happened in the middle of the night this morning at a house near Hofstra University on Long Island? What we know as I write this is a man broke into a house where three young women were living. He had a gun, and told one of the women to go to the bank and withdraw money. She did, but also called cops. They arrived at the house, shots were fired inside, and the gunman and one of the young women were killed.

So many unanswered questions, so many woulda-coulda-maybe scenarios. We just don't know.

Yet.

We have a couple of reporters on this story, and will have the latest, at 11.

Brooklyn's half marathon happens tomorrow, and, according to those who are running in it, security is insanely tight. Want to run at 7:15 in the morning? Show up at 5:30! That's the rule from the folks who operate it. Can you imagine? We're there with a preview.

And under the heading "sign of the times" - an ex-offenders job fair in Philadelphia was so popular this morning, they had to shut it down. More than 1,000 former inmates showed up, looking for jobs. City officials expected more than the 100 people who showed up last year, but they had no idea 1,000 would arrive. The popularity - most because of social media p.r. - shows just how much folks want jobs, need jobs.

The city was pushing the job fair, hoping to cut back on the recidivism rates that are overwhelming prisons. The national rate is about 65 percent, causing chaos for what many experts say is a failed prison policy that has been in effect since the law-and-order policies of the Nixon Administration. Back in 1970, there were 350,000 prisoners in the U.S. Today there are about 2.3 million, making the U.S. by far the number one jailer in the world. By far. Our inmate population is 36 percent more than the number two nation, China. The costs are staggering: More than $70 billion a year, 90 percent of which is shouldered by the states.

The costs per prisoner in 2010 were about $32,000 a year. And, no shocker, it was much higher in the tri-state: New York was the highest in the nation at $60,076, followed by New Jersey at $54,865, and Connecticut at $50,262.

By stark contrast, it costs more to house a prisoner than to send him (and 90 percent of prisoners are men) to college. Much more.

So good for those ex-cons who are trying to find a job, and become tax-paying, full-throttle members of society. We need more like them, employed and not returning to prison. I'm just sayin'.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg's weekend AccuWeather forecast and Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11, right after 20/20.

BILL RITTER

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