Team Trump Is Slashing Programs That Help Prisoners Adapt to Life on the Outside – “These changes…threaten to make our communities less safe.”
No surprise here. tRump is a disaster for the criminal justice system!
Excerpts from the Article:
On Wednesday at FCI Sandstone, a low-security federal prison in Minnesota, inmates were preparing for a congressional hearing. They couldn’t fly to Washington, of course, but they’d voted to add C-SPAN to the facility’s short list of authorized television channels. They planned to watch politicians grill the Trump administration’s new Bureau of Prisons chief about recent cuts to reentry programs.
The men wanted answers. In recent months, many had been told they were losing some or all of the time they’d been promised at the halfway houses where they were supposed to finish up their sentences, look for jobs, and get their feet back on the ground. Their families were upset, too: Now their loved ones would stay in prison longer and miss the winter holidays they’d hoped to celebrate together.
“The impact is widespread…We’re talking thousands of inmates probably whose dates are being pushed back.” “This completely changed my release plan,” Nathaniel Augustus III Smith, one of the inmates at FCI Sandstone, told me in an email. He’d been looking forward to reuniting with family members in Texas in October. “Of the people I personally know that had halfway house dates, only one still retains his original date,” writes another prisoner, Timothy John Ehrmann, who has been preparing to leave for a halfway house ever since President Barack Obama commuted his sentence last year. “I can’t imagine what this is like systemwide.”
The BOP has slashed funding for social service coordinators: “They took away the person that was going to welcome [prisoners] home, basically.”
The problem appears to go deeper than Inch admitted on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the Bureau of Prisons has told halfway house operators that they’ll no longer receive funding for cognitive behavioral the In addition to not renewing at least 16 contracts, the Bureau of Prisons has changed the rules for many other halfway houses, requiring them to host fewer inmates. That’s according to Anne Connell-Freund, the former president of the International Community Corrections Association, a trade organization composed of halfway house operators. As waitlists for beds grow, some inmates are being held longer in already overcrowded prisons—federal lockups were at 14 percent overcapacity during the last fiscal year, per Justice Department statistics.rapy (a requirement under the Obama administration) or to hire social services coordinators who help people line up jobs and housing, get driver’s licenses, and learn how to use cellphones and other technologies they missed in prison. “They took away the person that was going to welcome them home, basically,” says Connell-Freund. “It’s not exactly known how many halfway houses and how many beds have been affected.”
“We believe that these changes in programming and personnel will compromise public safety,” eight senators wrote. Because the contract changes resulted in fewer available beds, the Bureau of Prisons has been cutting the amount of time prisoners can stay at the halfway houses—maybe a few months instead of half a year, Connell-Freund says. For some people, she notes, that’s not enough time to find a decent job, reunite with families, and complete drug treatment or other programs that can help keep them off the streets and out of trouble.
In October, eight senators wrote to Inch to express concern. “We believe that these changes in programming and personnel will compromise public safety, decrease inmate accountability, and lead to increased recidivism rates,” they wrote. “These changes…threaten to make our communities less safe while increasing BOP operating costs over time,” since it’s more expensive to hold someone in prison than in a halfway house.
“Trying to get the information out of the Federal Bureau of Prisons is very, very, very difficult…Requests just go into a black hole.” Cummings said reentry programs in his Maryland district have struggled under Trump. The halfway house for federal inmates in Baltimore “is the largest such facility on the East Coast,” he said, “but the occupancy has fallen sharply due to recent BOP cuts.” The facility—which is not on the list of 16 —”was given essentially no notice to prepare for these cuts. Now this facility is struggling to meet its costs.” Inch reiterated that he had no intention to scale back halfway houses, but claimed the Baltimore facility had “overbuilt capacity.” He said it would be inappropriate to get into the weeds of contracting at the hearing, but that he’d swing by Cummings’ office later to “really talk.”
Read the Whole Story:
This is total B S because there is no way to determine that. Current tests show THC in one’s system, and because traces of that THC may linger for a month after having any effect on behavior/reaction time, it is no proof whatsoever that one was under the influence at the time of the accident!
Did the alcohol industry pay for that billboard, disguised as “Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy”?! They [and “big pharma”] have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to try to block pot legalization. This is the 2017 version of “Reefer Madness”, and too many folks are swallowing it!
And read Inside big pharma’s fight to block recreational marijuana to see that in one state alone [Arizona!] one drug company spent $500,000 to try to block pot!
Excerpt: “In August, the pharmaceutical company Insys Therapeutics also cited concerns for child safety when, with a $500,000 contribution, it became the largest donor to Arizona’s anti-legalization drive. But their stated concerns have raised a few eyebrows across the state. Insys manufactures Subsys, a prescription painkiller derived from fentanyl, the synthetic opioid that is up to 100 times more powerful than morphine.”
C’mon now people, “give me a break!” kra
Studies show that inmates who get live visits behave better in prison and are more likely to succeed in reentry! This is more B S, and it is called GREED!
One mother says that even with the “through the glass” visits: they’re not allowed any physical contact, but still, Hughes says, “I can see his face, his skin, his hair, his beard. I can see if he’s doing OK. As a mother, these things are important.”
Excerpts from the Article:
Once a week for nine months in 2016, Barbara Hughes drove the 90 minutes from her home in Springfield, Ill., to visit her son at Tazewell County jail in Pekin, where he was awaiting trial. But she never got to see him in person. Instead, she had to enter a room with video phones lining two walls and sit down at her assigned station.
At Tazewell, inmates’ loved ones are allowed one free 20-minute session a week at the video phones. The stations are so cramped and narrow that Hughes and her ex-husband couldn’t sit side by side while they talked to their son. (Hughes declined to give her son’s name or specify his charges, wanting to protect his future employment prospects.) “It doesn’t seem real, even though you’re in the same building,” she says. The monitors were so high that Hughes, a petite 5-feet-4, had to crane her neck to see. And there was always the ticking clock. “It’s a hurry-up thing,” she says. “You have to know what you’re going to say, because you might get shut off.” She could have video-called from home as much as she wanted but would have had to pay $6.95 for 20 minutes.
There are 650 U.S. correctional facilities offering some form of video viewing. Like Tazewell, most are county jails, and three-quarters have eliminated in-person visits, often as a stipulation of their contract with the company charging for the video feeds. Tazewell did so in 2014, when it hired Securus Technologies Inc., a prison phone company that now controls about a third of the video market. The business has been lucrative enough to attract the attention of the private equity world. In February, Platinum Equity LLC, the firm run by Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores, agreed to buy Securus for $1.6 billion, more than double the company’s 2012 valuation. The proposed deal has come under scrutiny from both regulatory commissions and prisoners’ advocates, delaying its likely approval.
He estimates Securus will oversee 2.4 million video calls this year, two-thirds of them remote, i.e., paid. Rates vary by jail, from $5 to $12.99 for a 20-minute call and, in at least one jail, $40 for 40 minutes.
Even on the low end, though, these charges can be unmanageable: More than two-thirds of people incarcerated in the U.S. reported earning less than $12,000 before their arrest, and their families tend to fall into the same income bracket.
For now, the bulk of Securus’s revenue comes from traditional phone services to 3,500 correctional facilities, a market historically associated with price gouging. In 2000 homebound grandma Martha Wright filed a class action to limit prison phone rates on the grounds that she couldn’t afford to communicate with her incarcerated grandson. Her case became a cause célèbre for prisoner-rights advocates, many of whom joined the suit and came to be known collectively as the Wright Petitioners.
The suit was referred to the Federal Communications Commission, which ruled in 2013 to cap interstate calling rates and in 2015 to extend that cap to in-state calls and prohibit certain fees. This June a federal court ruled in a countersuit filed by Securus and four other companies that the FCC lacked the authority to limit in-state rates. Interstate caps remain intact.
The Wright Petitioners, represented by attorney Lee Petro, are now pressing the FCC to deny the sale of Securus to Platinum Equity, arguing that the company has continually violated the commission’s previous rulings. “They’ll still find ways to extract as much revenue as possible from inmates and their families,” Petro says.
While the deal awaits approval, Gores, a favorite son of Flint, Mich., has had to weather criticism from prisoners’ family members and advocates. “Securus charges an average of $15.78 for a 15-minute intrastate call in Michigan, while other providers charge substantially less,” Petro says.
BOTTOM LINE – Video visiting is lucrative for prison phone companies, but it’s prohibitively expensive for prisoners’ families and a poor substitute for in-person contact.
GOOD NEWS. 12/14/17
I spent most of the morning at hearings of the Board of Pardons. Long enough to say a few words on behalf of inmate Joe Walls, whom I met in prison, greet a few lawyer friends, meet others, hear about 30 presentations and hear the Board rule on about 50 applications for Pardons and for Commutations.
They recommended that the Governor grant Joe Walls’ Application for early release. In Delaware, like 47 other states, the Board makes a recommendation and then the final decision is up to the governor.
But more significantly, the Board GRANTED about 3/4 of all applications I heard. They did this even over the opposition from the A G’s representative in some cases. This really is amazing. They never would have done this 2, 3, 4, or 5 years ago. The questions they asked, the comments they made, and the decisions they made, all show that they are starting to realize that the old “deny”, deny”, “deny” does no good and does not work, and that people who are worthy deserve a second chance. We ARE making a difference! 🙂
I shall be writing an Op Ed piece to send out soon, praising them for their flexibility, common sense, and enlightenment.
My discussions with some lawyers and other officials in attendance showed that they too are having “an attitude adjustment” in the right direction!
CA will soon end lifetime registration for some SOs under bill signed by Gov. Brown – End the “Sex Offender Hysteria”! kra
At least a few people are starting to see some of the absurdity in our sex offender laws. Today’s S O laws are not born from logic, from fairness, nor from sound public policy (the do not protect our children!); they are born from:
Excerpts from the Article:
Thousands of Californians will be allowed to take their names off the state’s registry of sex offenders as a result of action Friday by Gov. Jerry Brown. Brown signed legislation that, when it takes effect Jan. 1, will end lifetime listings for lower-level offenders judged to be at little risk of committing new crimes.
The measure was introduced at the request of Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey and other law enforcement officials who said the registry, which has grown to more than 105,000 names, is less useful to detectives investigating new sex crimes because it is so bulky.
“California’s sex offender registry is broken, which undermines public safety,” said Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), who introduced the bill. “SB 384 refocuses the sex offender registry on high-risk offenders and treats low-level offenders more fairly.”
The registry currently requires law enforcement officials to spend hours on paperwork for annual evaluations of every offender, including those who are low risk and have not committed a crime for decades, Wiener said.
“SB 384 proposes thoughtful and balanced reforms that allow prosecutors and law enforcement to focus their resources on tracking sex offenders who pose a real risk to public safety, rather than burying officers in paperwork that has little public benefit,” said Ali Bay, a spokeswoman for the governor, last month.
The measure was opposed by many Republican lawmakers and Erin Runnion, who in 2002 founded the Joyful Child Foundation, an Orange County advocacy group for victims, after the abduction, molestation and murder of her 5-year-old daughter, Samantha.
California is one of only four states that require lifetime registration of sex offenders. The others are Alabama, South Carolina and Florida.
The new law signed by the governor creates a tiered registry, with high-risk offenders on the registry for life and others able to petition to be removed after either 10 or 20 years without re-offending, depending on the offense.
Wiener and gay rights activists said it is unfair that the registry includes the names of people caught having consensual sex parks decades ago, when law enforcement often targeted gay men for enforcement.
In appeals courts, like the lower courts, judges do not even read anything filed by anyone without an attorney. Just ask Judge Richard Posner, who resigned for that very reason. READ Pro Bono/Pro Se Law Group – Richard Posner at the Helm! Ken Abraham Consulting on the Project. Final name: Team Posner Law Group
I have read, literally, thousands of cases where it was clear that the decision below was merely rubber stamped by the appellate court. It’s an absolute disgrace.
Reversing a criminal conviction is unpopular, which is another good reason why judges should be appointed, not elected.
Excerpts from the Article:
It’s always good news when an innocent person is exonerated. But how many wrongful convictions that come to light would have been reversed years earlier if appellate courts had done their job?
The public hears about miscarriages of justice caused by lying witnesses, prosecutors hiding evidence favorable to the accused, forensic expert testimony based on hooey. But few people besides appellate lawyers and their clients know that there’s another leading cause: a system of appellate review that is often so biased and perfunctory that it might as well be called “appellate rubber-stamp.”
For example, Yusuf Salaam, one of the Central Park Five, was convicted based on his confession in the highly publicized case of the 1989 assault and rape of a jogger. All five were exonerated decades later when the real How Appeals Courts ‘Rubber Stamp’ Injusticeperpetrator came forward. But New York’s Court of Appeals should have reversed Salaam’s conviction at the time. Even the abbreviated facts recited in its 1993 decision show that his confession was involuntary and should have been thrown out.
As the dissenting judge argued, the police had isolated this 15-year old from his family, falsely told him that his fingerprints were on the jogger’s pants and suggested that he’d be released if he admitted to participating in the attack. Any court conscientiously following the law would have suppressed a confession obtained by such coercive tactics. But the majority, in a rather testy opinion, ignored the facts and concluded that Salaam “chose” to implicate himself.
Another example is Martin Tankleff, a 17-year old convicted of murdering his parents. In denying his appeal, the court saw nothing coercive about the detective’s extorting his confession by falsely telling him that his father had regained consciousness and identified him as the attacker. Rather, the court inexplicably concluded that the confession was all the more reliable for having been induced by a trick.
The court also saw nothing unconstitutional about eliciting the confession without Miranda warnings, asserting that Tankleff was “clearly” not in custody and therefore not entitled to them. The lone dissenting judge reminded the majority that it had overlooked a few facts: the police had isolated this teenager from his family and subjected him to hours of accusatory questioning. Thus, he clearly was in custody so that his statements were involuntary and should have been suppressed.
Salaam and Tankleff were able to prove their innocence after many years in prison—an extremely rare occurrence. What’s not so rare is the way the appellate courts ignored the facts and the law.
You’d think courts would examine appeals with the care of a mechanic inspecting an airplane before takeoff, of a doctor reading an X-ray. “We must be deeply mindful of the dire consequences of a criminal conviction,” the judges would exhort one another. “So we’d darn well better scrutinize each appeal carefully.”
But that’s not the spirit they bring to appellate review, at least not in criminal cases. Criminal appeals are handled by a battery of anonymous clerks who are apparently given to understand that their job is to uphold the conviction by any means necessary.
They write memos for the judges that are mostly if not entirely based on the prosecution brief. They draft the decisions affirming the conviction.
Only once in a blue moon is any error considered prejudicial enough to warrant a reversal, even if all that means is a new trial. Did the prosecutor tell the jury she wouldn’t be prosecuting the defendant unless she knew he was guilty? “Did not exceed the permissible bounds of rhetorical comment,” the court will conclude.
Was the defense lawyer a potted plant? “We cannot say he was not pursuing a reasonable strategy.”
Did the judge conduct the trial with the defendant involuntarily absent? “We find no constitutional violation under the [unstated] circumstances.”
As Dave Barry would say, we’re not making this up.
Why should appellate review be such a contradiction in terms? Maybe because reversing a criminal conviction is unpopular. “Three judges overturn 12 jurors!” howled New York Times columnist Jim Dwyer when former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s conviction was recently reversed.
No judge wants to be howled at. But a jury verdict is only as fair as the trial.
This reminds us that women are the fastest growing prison population. Most are there for victimless crimes, like addiction and prostitution. I don’ think that is justice nor a wise use of our resources (locking them up at a cost or about $40,000 per person per year), when they can be treated for about 1/3 the cost! READ Crime Prevention Bill
With the injustice here so obvious, why is this happening? I can tell you why: 1. Money, and 2. Stupidity. Read articles on our website explaining both.
Read other articles on our website about how this cruelty punishes their children. Having a parent in prison is even more traumatizing for kids than divorce!
This is institutionalized “violence against women”!
Excerpts from the Article:
Considering our nation’s merciless criminal justice policies, it comes as no surprise that the United States has the largest prison population and highest incarceration rate in the world. What you may not know, however, is that women are a fast growing demographic of the prison population. There are currently 219,000 women — mostly mothers — behind bars in our nation’s overlapping criminal justice systems, according to a new report released last week by the Prison Policy Initiative and the ACLU’s Campaign for Smart Justice. To put that in perspective: Only five percent of the world’s female population lives in the U.S., yet nearly one-third of all the female prisoners in the entire world are here in the United States.
Nationwide, the criminal justice system is failing communities, hurting the economy, and destroying families — and putting women and mothers disproportionately behind bars for drug and property crimes. We’ve narrowed down some of the most horrific impacts the United States’ culture of incarceration has on women and mothers:
Many states still shackle women during labor and delivery. You read that right. Some women are shackled while being transferred to the hospital and even in their beds while giving birth, making labor and childbirth all the more challenging. Even in states where anti-shackling laws have been put in place, this inhumane practice continues to occur all too often.
Women are separated from their children. Eighty percent of women in jails are mothers. Most of them are primary caretakers of their children. Excessive incarceration hurts innocent children the most, causing them to experience severe feelings of isolation and trauma. And, since the criminal justice system disproportionately locks up people of color, children of color also disproportionately suffer. As a society, we should know better than this. Period.
Economic impact. This country’s pay gap problem — the yawning gap between the wages of Black women and white men — can have especially onerous implications in the criminal justice system. Economically disadvantaged Black women have fewer resources to make bail, causing them to wind up behind bars for far too long, even for crimes they’ve only been charged with and often are not found guilty of.
Sixty percent of women in jail, according to the ACLU’s Smart Justice Campaign and the Prison Policy Initiative, have not been convicted of a crime and are awaiting trial. That means that poor people are automatically criminalized more often and for longer periods of time. This extra time in jail can lead to a seemingly never-ending downward financial spiral. Defendants can lose their jobs, along with access to benefits and even their housing. In short, incarcerating a woman who is poor will only make her poorer.
Too many women in prison are there for drug offenses. Twenty-five percent of the women in state prisons are serving nonviolent convictions related to drugs. Strict penalties designed to combat the distribution of illegal drugs have done little to stem the drug trade. Instead, these overly harsh penalties have swept up people experiencing challenges related to drug addiction into an ever-expanding criminal justice system. These folks need treatment and counseling, not jail time.
We must divest from mass incarceration and invest in our families and children instead.
More useless nonsense. Many people have no interest in “sex offenders”, but if you knew the FACTS and the truth behind such a label, you would. I can give countless examples of people who should NOT be branded with that label for life, yet they are. i.e those who had to go to the bathroom behind a bush, the 21-year-old in a relationship with his nearly 18-year-old girlfriend, and, yes, the vast majority of “sex offenders” – people looking at inappropriate pictures. There is NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER that the last group is more likely to be dangerous than YOU are! They need counseling, not prison, and need not be branded for life.
Our current laws in this area are nothing more than “sex offender hysteria”, do not keep kids, safe, ruin lives needlessly, and cost YOU a fortune!
Excerpts from the Article:
America’s registered child sex offenders will now have to use passports identifying them for their past crimes when traveling overseas. The State Department said Wednesday it would begin revoking passports of registered child sex offenders and will require them to apply for a new one that carries a “unique identifier” of their status. Those applying for a passport for the first time will not be issued one without the identifier, which will be a notice printed inside the back cover of the passport book that reads: “The bearer was convicted of a sex offense against a minor, and is a covered sex offender pursuant to (U.S. law).”
The department said in a statement posted to its travel.state.gov website that registered child sex offenders will no longer be issued smaller travel documents known as passport cards because they do not have enough room to fit the notice. The changes come in response to last year’s “International Megan’s Law,” which aims to curb child exploitation and child sex tourism, but also has been criticized by civil libertarians for being overly broad and targeting only one category of convicted felon.
The law is named for Megan Kanka, a 7-year-old girl murdered by a convicted child sex offender in New Jersey in 1994. The case drew widespread attention and led to the creation of several state sex offender registries. Government agencies notified Congress on Wednesday the passport requirement of the law had taken effect.
The State Department, which issues U.S. passports, said it will start notifying those affected as soon as it receives their names from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the Department of Homeland Security. That agency is charged with identifying child sex offenders and is the sole agency that can add or remove someone from the list.
Affected passport holders will be able to travel abroad on their current passports until the revocations are formalized, the department said, and it wasn’t immediately clear when immigration and homeland security officials would provide that list.
Given the FACTS, all that tRump has said and done, it is just laughable that he thinks showing up here with scripted comments will lead anyone to think that he cares about civil rights!
He does not understand … has no respect for … and has sought to destroy … civil rights!
Excerpts from the Article:
President Trump looked somber as Reuben Anderson, Mississippi’s first African-American Supreme Court justice, gave him and a handful of dignitaries a private tour of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. “I didn’t have the courage to do what they did,” former justice Anderson told the president about the Tougaloo Nine, college students who held a sit-in at the whites-only Jackson Public Library in 1961. “They took their lives in their hands.”
Trump’s visit to the Civil Rights Museum brought protest and boycotts. Some state and national leaders, including civil rights veteran U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia (who was beaten and jailed in Jackson in 1961 as a Freedom Rider), U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, former Mississippi Gov. Ray Mabus and Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba refusing to attend the event because of Trump.
“These buildings embody the hope that has lived in the hearts of every American for generations,” Trump said. “The hope for a future that is more just and is more free … Here we memorialize the brave men and women who struggled to sacrifice, and sacrifice so much, so that others might live in freedom.”
We shall see what comes from the investigation as to whether the shooting was justified. Too many police shootings have not been. I just loved the one (that officer finally was sentenced to 20 years) where the officer said he feared for his life as he shot the unarmed black man who was running away from him.
In too many of these cases we see that a young teen was running the streets at 1, 2, or 3 A M! WHERE the hell are the parents?! Surely they deserve some responsibility. Perhaps one or both were in prison. Though subtle, one of the most damaging and lasting consequences of our insane mass incarceration criminal justice system is that millions of children have been left to grow up without parental guidance because Mom, Dad, or both were in prison. Judges never think of that when they send “down the river” nonviolent offenders, like addicts (who need treatment, not prison) and many others. The should; the cost to society is enormous, and to some children, deadly.
On Saturday afternoon, the intersection of Kenton Road and Fieldstone Court in Dover was quiet, save for the falling snow. Hours earlier, around 3 a.m., it was the site of a police shootout that left a 16-year-old male suspect dead. Delaware State Police spokesman Master Cpl. Michael Austin said the initial investigation determined that a trooper assigned to Troop 3 in Camden, made a the initial traffic stop near the intersection. The vehicle was a Saturn sedan with three passengers: an 18-year-old driver, 16-year-old front seat passenger and a 15-year-old back seat passenger.
Cpl. Austin said the trooper approached the vehicle, at which time the front seat passenger displayed a weapon and an exchange of gunfire ensued. The 16-year-old male was shot during the exchange, and died from his injuries after being transported to an area hospital.
The driver sustained a gunshot wound to his leg and was treated and later released from the hospital. The back seat passenger was uninjured in the incident. The trooper was also uninjured.
Cpl. Austin noted that a hand gun was recovered from the vehicle.
A Delaware State Police Homicide Unit investigation is ongoing. Police officials declined to comment further on the incident and said updates with more details will be released as they become available.