“So we filed suit on behalf of Mr. Hall, making it clear that the Department of Corrections has to respect everybody’s religious rights — especially non-Christians like Native Americans and others whose request may not be mainstream, or may not be common,” Reynolds said. An example of a bear pendant that Alaska Department of Corrections inmate Brian Hall sought to wear as part of his religious observance as a member of the Cherokee Nation. (Photo courtesy American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska) According to the ACLU, the Alaska Department of Corrections denied his requests. The state DOC said the items could create a safety risk. ACLU of Alaska communications director Casey Reynolds says even inmates should have a First Amendment right to practice their faith in prison. The DOC officially signed the settlement May 30, and the paperwork was filed in court June 4. A settlement will allow a descendant of the Cherokee Nation to wear some religious Native regalia while serving time in Alaska. Hall cited the state constitution as well as the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act. Court records identify Hall as a member of the Cherokee Nation – but did not include specific tribal information. The settlement also requires the DOC to adopt a policy to allow future religious accommodations to prisoners according to federal law. “You have a right to do that so long as there’s not a compelling government interest in stopping you, such as if it creates a safety concern or something along those lines,” Reynolds said. According to an American Civil Liberties Union news release, inmate Brian Hall wanted to wear a bear claw pendant and one of six bandanas — as part of his religious observance. Now 43 years old, Brian Hall continues to serve a 159-year sentence on murder charges stemming from a double homicide in Alaska in 1993. He was transferred to Wildwood Correctional Center in Kenai, Alaska. While an inmate at Goose Creek Correctional Center in Wasilla, the civil rights organization says Hall made multiple requests to Corrections officials.
May 12, 2015 615 Views HFPC Panel Addresses Servicing Hot-Topics Mortgage service regulations have not yet fully caught up with significant industry changes over the past five years, according to an Urban Wire blog post by the Urban Institute and author Karan Kaul.In her post, Kaul summarizes the key topics discussed during a recent Housing Finance Policy Center (HFPC) seminar centered around mortgage servicing trends and moderated by CoreLogic’s Faith Schwartz. The panel Schwartz moderated including Michael Drayne, SVP at Ginnie Mae, Stephen Fleming, SVP at Phoenix Capital, and Laurie Goodman, HFPC director, among others.According to Kaul, topics discussed by the panel included the rise of non-bank mortgage servicers; the difference between non-bank servicers and large bank servicers; and the hot-button topic of industry reaction to current regulations.Under the topic of regulation, Kaul notes that one of most important takeaways was that due to “regulatory uncertainty and a broken servicer and compensations model access to credit is tight.” Kaul cites statements made by Goodman during the seminar that the high cost of servicing non-performing mortgages and regulatory uncertainty regarding the treatment of delinquent borrowers have made lenders cautious of making loans, even if the risk of default is slim. Other factors such as long foreclosure delays in judicial states, onerous, and arcane foreclosure guidelines, and at times different servicing requirements from different regulators have only made it more difficult to obtain credit.Mortgage servicing regulation is a difficult regulation to control, Kaul notes. Improper foreclosures, the robo signing scandal and servicer settlements with government authorities are all real borrower concerns. Conversely, a regulations that are inconsistent, overly prescriptive, and poorly targeted also drives lenders away and creates uncertainty. This pushes lenders away from low-income and less creditworthy borrowers.To see the full blog post and seminar takeaways, visit: Edit.Urban.org Housing Finance Policy Center Mortgage Service Regulations Urban Institute 2015-05-12 Staff Writer in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Servicing Share