Our internet friend, Kevin Shinnick, sent me this article. Read the many related articles on this website concerning this neglected issue, the neglect of which costs YOU about $444 BILLION annually! One major problem is that at least 1/4 to 1/3 or more (nobody knows the real number) of our more than 2 million people in prisons and jails have one or more serious mental illnesses, and receive no effective treatment!
Excerpts from the Article:
About a fifth of America’s 1.7 million homeless population suffer from untreated schizophrenia or manic depressive illness. That translates, if you can imagine it, to 385,000 individuals, roughly more than the population of cities such as Dayton, Des Moines, Ft. Lauderdale, Grand Rapids, Providence, Richmond, or Salt Lake City. And of that number, a percentage will wind up in prison.
The facts about homelessness get even worse when you break down the numbers. According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, when you focus in on single adult homeless males, about 16 percent of them suffer from some form of severe and persistent mental illness.
Not surprisingly, mental illness often prolongs homelessness. Approximately 26 percent of homeless adults staying in shelters live with serious mental illness and an estimated 66 percent live with severe mental illness and/or substance use disorders.
At any given moment in time, there are many more people with untreated severe psychiatric illnesses living on America’s streets than are receiving care in America’s hospitals. To wit: approximately 90,000 individuals with schizophrenia or manic-depressive illness are in all hospitals receiving treatment for their disease.
Despite the disproportionate number of severely mentally ill people among the homeless population, most experts on the subject do not believe that increases in homelessness are attributable to the release of severely mentally ill people from institutions.
Indeed, most patients were released from mental hospitals in the 1950s and 1960s, yet vast increases in homelessness did not occur until the 1980s, when incomes and housing options for those living on the margins began to diminish rapidly. Most homeless persons with mental illness do not need to be institutionalized, but can live in the community with the appropriate supportive housing options. Problem is, many mentally ill homeless people cannot obtain access to supportive housing and/or other treatment services. And state and city budgets have been drastically cut, leaving the mentally ill, and other less fortunate, literally out in the streets. Some of those people turn to crime.
Although prevalence rates vary considerably across studies, there is general agreement among researchers that the number of mentally ill individuals in jail is substantial, and that many of these individuals are arrested for minor crimes, particularly disorderly conduct. There is evidence that a large percentage of jailed individuals may also have been homeless at the time of arrest. The most striking finding was that nearly 21% were classified as homeless when they were arrested and 40 percent said they had been homeless at some time during the past few years. The researchers concluded that homelessness significantly increases the risk of indictment for violent criminal offenses among mentally disordered offenders (MDOs).
Problems associated with being homeless are compounded when homeless individuals also have a history of hospitalization for a mental disorder. Homeless persons with a history of prior hospitalization in a mental health facility also had greater involvement in criminal activities than homeless individuals with no such history. In New York City, researchers looked into what type of crimes are committed by the homeless.
Once incarcerated, even stronger links between mental illness, homelessness and crime were found. Prison inmates who had been homeless (that is, those who reported an episode of homelessness anytime in the year before incarceration) made up 15.3 percent of the U.S. jail population, or 7.5 to 11.3 times the standardized estimate of 1.36 -to 2.03 percent in the general U.S. adult population. Compared to other inmates, those who were homeless were more likely to be currently incarcerated for a property crime, but they were also more likely to have past criminal justice system involvement for both nonviolent and violent offenses, to have mental health and substance abuse problems, to be less educated, and to be unemployed.
Homelessness and incarceration appear to increase the risk of each other, and these factors seem to be mediated by mental illness and substance abuse, as well as by disadvantageous socio-demographic characteristics. Criminal behavior appears to serve various functions among the homeless, and the homeless who engaged in illegal behavior can be classified as chronic criminals, supplemental criminals, criminals out of necessity, substance abusers, or the mentally ill. While the homeless as a whole engage in relatively high levels of illegal activity, for many, this is an adaptive response to dealing with severely limited resources.
The links between homelessness, mental illness and crime could possibly be broken by the Affordable Care Act. For many of the homeless, it’s the very lack of access to health insurance that leads to a constant struggle to survive. By not having health insurance, people who are homeless often forgo treatment for mental illness, substance use, chronic health conditions, acute care and injuries making it difficult to focus on the goal of finding housing.
Without health insurance, mental health and medical crises and ongoing related costs can lead a lower-income household down the path to homelessness and in some cases, criminal behavior. The Affordable Care Act could help in providing a safety net of needed services, insurance coverage plays a critical role in helping a person who is homeless access those services needed to regain stability – mental, physical, and residential. Linking people who are homeless to Medicaid – the health insurance program for lower – income Americans – has become an increasingly important federal priority, and might, in the long term, help decrease the number of criminal acts performed by homeless individuals.
While we have yet to see the final details, this is getting more interesting. We see that tRump has committed at least two felonies. And we have a better idea of where Mueller is headed. Apparently, greed and the thirst for power may have driven tRump to commit very sinister crimes indeed. Time will tell.
Excerpts from the Article:
Federal prosecutors drew some more important lines between Russia and those connected to President Trump on Friday, in a trio of filings in the Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort cases. Beginning late Friday afternoon, we saw Cohen sentencing recommendations filed by both the Southern District of New York and special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation, and a document from Mueller’s team laying out Paul Manafort’s alleged lies to it.
In all three, the plot thickened for Trump just a little bit. Below are the big takeaways.
1. SDNY: Cohen has overstated his cooperation with Mueller
This might be the biggest takeaway when it comes to the SDNY document — and its relevance to Trump. We knew Cohen never technically had a cooperation agreement with SDNY or Mueller, but he made a big public show of looking like he was atoning for his wrongs by telling prosecutors whatever they asked.
It turns out to have been too much of a show for the SDNY team.
“Cohen’s description of those efforts is overstated in some respects and incomplete in others,” prosecutors say.
They add later: “While Cohen’s provision of information to the SCO merits credit, his description of his actions as arising solely from some ‘personal resolve’ — as opposed to arising from the pendency of criminal charges and the desire for leniency — ignores that Cohen first reached out to meet with the SCO at a time when he knew he was under imminent threat of indictment in this District. As such, any suggestion by Cohen that his meetings with law enforcement reflect a selfless and unprompted about-face are overstated.”
The prosecutors wound up requesting only a “modest” reduction in Cohen’s sentence, for which the guidelines recommend 51 to 63 months. (This is separate from the plea deal Cohen struck with Mueller last week — for lying — for which Mueller recommended his sentence run concurrent with his SDNY sentence.)
2. The government has implicated Trump in Cohen’s crimes
We knew from his plea deal, in which he admitted to eight crimes, that Cohen had implicated Trump in campaign finance violations involving the payment to Stormy Daniels. But, as The Post’s Philip Bump details, here the SDNY prosecutors also state Trump’s role in directing the payment as plain fact.
“In particular, and as Cohen himself has now admitted, with respect to both payments, he acted in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1,” they say (again referring to Trump as “Individual-1,” as the documents last week did).
Linking Trump to knowledge of the payment and the payment to the campaign is important. One of the defenses that might have been offered by Trump is that he regularly had his attorney pay off women to keep their stories quiet. The government filing indicates that AMI and Cohen discussed the company helping to make such payoffs as early as 2014. But the references to the rationale behind the payments in 2016 and the inclusion of the phrase “at the direction” of the candidate bolsters the evidence that the McDougal and Daniels payments were not just run-of-the-mill behavior.
Given that Cohen indicated that the payments were meant to influence the election and that they came at the direction of Trump, Lawrence Noble, former general counsel for the Federal Election Commission, told The Post, “there is little question Cohen, the campaign and the candidate are liable for the campaign finance violations.”
3. Cohen was contacted by a Russian national in 2015
One potential clue for the collusion investigation has to do with a contact Cohen received in 2015 from a “Russian national” seeking “synergy” between the campaign and the Russian government.
From Mueller’s document:
The defendant also provided information about attempts by other Russian nationals to reach the campaign. For example, in or around November 2015, Cohen received the contact information for, and spoke with, a Russian national who claimed to be a “trusted person” in the Russian Federation who could offer the campaign “political synergy” and “synergy on a government level.” The defendant recalled that this person repeatedly proposed a meeting between Individual 1 and the President of Russia. The person told Cohen that such a meeting could have a “phenomenal” impact “not only in political but in a business dimension as well,” referring to the Moscow Project, because there is “no bigger warranty in any project than consent of [the President of Russia].” Cohen, however, did not follow up on this invitation.
4. Mueller appears to be keying on Russia ties in Trump’s business
The writing was on the wall for this when Mueller reached that plea deal with Cohen for lying about such matters last week; it was the best explanation for Cohen’s continued pursuit of Trump Tower Moscow being entered into the public record. But the Mueller document makes clear Cohen has given it information about these matters, information it is interested in and called “useful.” “Second, Cohen provided the SCO with useful information concerning certain discrete Russia-related matters core to its investigation that he obtained by virtue of his regular contact with [The Trump Organization] executives during the campaign,” Mueller’s team says.
Elsewhere in the document, they elaborate:
The defendant’s false statements obscured the fact that the Moscow Project was a lucrative business opportunity that sought, and likely required, the assistance of the Russian government. If the project was completed, the Company could have received hundreds of millions of dollars from Russian sources in licensing fees and other revenues. The fact that Cohen continued to work on the project and discuss it with Individual 1 well into the campaign was material to the ongoing congressional and SCO investigations, particularly because it occurred at a time of sustained efforts by the Russian government to interfere with the U.S. presidential election. Similarly, it was material that Cohen, during the campaign, had a substantive telephone call about the project with an assistant to the press secretary for the President of Russia.
This is Mueller laying out a rationale for why it would be fair game to look into Trump’s attempt to do business in Russia, and why it matters in the collusion investigation.
5. Manafort’s alleged lies were also Russia-focused — and deal with a big unknown
As soon as we found out last week that Manafort had allegedly lied to Mueller’s team, in violation of his cooperation deal, the question was about what. What was worth lying about for a man whose cooperation was required for the leniency he apparently sought? Friday’s filing in that case doesn’t shed much light on what Mueller knows, but it is noteworthy how much of Manafort’s allegedly lying pertain to his business colleague in Ukraine, Konstantin Kilimnik, whom the U.S. government has said has ties to Russian intelligence.
Mueller’s team says Manafort lied about a meeting with Kilimnik and also about Kilimnik’s role in “a criminal conspiracy” to get two witnesses against Manafort to alter their testimony.
Much of the document is redacted, but the sheer volume of Kilimnik in it leads to an obvious question: Why was Manafort trying to protect him? And could this link somehow play in the broader collusion probe? Was Manafort really worried about a foreign national being in trouble, or was he worried about Mueller connecting some dots that he didn’t want connected?
A recent headline suggested that the class action lawsuit recently filed by Dover attorney, Stephen Hampton, added “complexity” to the ongoing criminal trials of several inmates concerning the death of corrections employee, Steven Floyd.
We write to explain that this lawsuit, a massive case detailing many outrageous abuses against more than 100 inmates, seeking to hold accountable dozens of state official, adds the truth to the situation! And I, Ken Abraham, a criminal trial attorney with hundreds of trials under my belt, see no real “complexity” added to the criminal cases … none at all.
We have been all too aware of ongoing abuses in our prisons for years, and we have frequently called the problems to the attention of officials who could do something about it. It is long past time that somebody does, before more prison staff and/or inmates die due to preventable violence.
This comment by Mr. Hampton is perhaps the understatement of the decade. Truer words were never spoken: “The DOC hasn’t held themselves accountable in the past, I don’t see why they would this time,” said Mr. Hampton. “The only DOC employees fired or dismissed are the ones that have some sort of disagreement with management — someone seen as a troublemaker who is going to raise complaints. If you were going to fire people for incompetence or malfeasance, there’s a substantial portion of DOC management that should go right now.”
Equally frustrating and cruel to inmates is the abominable “health care,” deliberate neglect of serious illnesses and injuries, and the total lack of effective mental health treatment. Regarding mental health, inmates are given a piece of paper telling them how to breathe and relax. That’s it!
As the complaint in the lawsuit points out, many men at JTVCC have been punched, kicked and pepper sprayed while they were restrained and fully compliant with all of the instructions given them.
All of us should care that DOC has such disregard for the law and the inmates under its supervision. Our state government has taken a “business as usual” approach to the atrocious things happening in our prisons, probably sensing that there are not many votes to be had through real prison reform. As it is now, anyone employed at DOC who points out the real problems, gets demoted or fired. Our hope for this lawsuit is that it inspires someone with governmental authority to have the political will to acknowledge the problems at DOC and address them head-on.
We would be remiss if we did not also remind all readers that more prison jobs, more education and rehabilitative programs, and better pre-release programs would benefit all of us. Ninety-six percent of all prisoners will be released. The better prepared they are to reenter society, the less recidivism — future crime — we will see.
We come together to write this because so many of these problems, which affect all of us, clearly are illegal, unconstitutional and immoral.
Former deputy attorney general
Founder of Citizens for Criminal JUSTICE
The Rev. Christopher Bullock
Founder and pastor of Canaan Baptist Church
Former president of New Castle County Council,
Former chairman of the Delaware Black Caucus
President of Link of Love
Chairwoman of the Kent County Partnership for Reentry
God Bless the litigation team at PLN’s parent organization, HRDC! Now they need to win their much bigger case with the same issues in Florida!
Just look at the BULLSHIT spouted by D O C personnel: according to Major Kirk Keller, Greene County’s jail administrator. Keller said HRDC’s correspondences with inmates were prevented out of safety concerns, in part because there were staples in some of the literature. “Staples are often used in the process of tattooing, and it becomes a health risk to the inmates,” Keller said. “We want to keep inmates safe and secure. Having reading material is not the issue. If inmates have material to occupy their minds … that’s a good thing.”
They caved as soon as PLN pointed out that they were also seizing publications with no staples!
Excerpts from the Article:
Greene County has changed its jail policies and now must pay tens of thousands of dollars as part of a settlement agreement ending a federal case filed by a national nonprofit group that sends publications to people in jails and prisons. County commissioners recently approved paying Human Rights Defense Center $45,000 as part of the agreement that ends HRDC’s lawsuit that began with a federal injunction request in October 2017.
The Dayton Daily News first reported about the case in January. HRDC filed for a federal injunction, demanding the judge to stop Greene County Jail’s practice of stopping the delivery of their publications and correspondences to inmates, including their newsletter titled Prison Legal News.
”By refusing to deliver HRDC’s publications and correspondence to the prisoners, defendants are violating HRDC’s free speech rights,” HRDC’s complaint read.
Within a matter of weeks after receiving the court injunction, jail policy and practices were changed, according to Major Kirk Keller, Greene County’s jail administrator. Keller said HRDC’s correspondences with inmates were prevented out of safety concerns, in part because there were staples in some of the literature. “Staples are often used in the process of tattooing, and it becomes a health risk to the inmates,” Keller said. “We want to keep inmates safe and secure. Having reading material is not the issue. If inmates have material to occupy their minds … that’s a good thing.”
Court records show lawyers for HRDC state the organization’s mission is “to educate prisoners and the public about the destructive nature of racism, sexism, and the economic and social costs of prisons to society.”
Wright said stopping publications from being delivered to inmates because of staples is “a bogus claim” in-part because the jail was intercepting other publications that didn’t have them. “The cost of the case was relatively low because the jail settled the case fairly quickly and didn’t drag it out too much,” Wright said. “If they had just followed the law in the first place, they wouldn’t have been sued.”
Prison Legal News or HRDC is listed as a plaintiff in dozens of court cases. Wright said his organization has a team of lawyers whose top mission is to make sure prisoners across the country can receive his organization’s book, magazines and other publications.
“The First Amendment doesn’t defend itself,” Wright said. “I think this illustrates the importance of federal courts to safeguard our First Amendment rights … to be able to send and receive ideas and information in this country.”
Only at the hands of Texas politicians (here, judges) could a prison be called a “daycare”!
This is a dreadful ruling, because those who know what really goes on in these ICE facilities, operated by huge private prison corporations, know that these are among the worst prisons in America!
We can be sure that many children will be raped, denied medical care, and worse… just as they are in other prisons run by CoreCivic (formerly CCA) and GEO Group!
Excerpts from the Article:
The Texas 3rd Court of Appeals on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit that sought to block efforts to license immigrant detention sites holding women and children as daycare centers. The Austin-based nonprofit Grassroots Leadership, an advocate for immigrants, had filed the litigation in challenging efforts by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to license a pair of South Texas detention centers used to house undocumented immigrants as official daycare centers.
The detention sites — euphemistically referred to as “family residential centers” by some politicians and the sites’ operators — are two of the nation’s largest facilities of their kind. The South Texas Residential Center in Dilley and the Karnes County Residential City in Karnes City, Texas, are run by CoreCivic (formerly CCA) and GEO Group, respectively.
Attorney General Ken Paxton applauded the move by the appeals court. In a press advisory on Wednesday, Paxton painted the litigant’s motivation in filing the suit as one rooted in disagreements with federal government policy rather than genuine disagreements over specific uses for the detention sites. “The appeals court’s dismissal of the lawsuit against Texas correctly recognizes that the challenge is really about one group’s disagreement with federal policy, and a state court can’t order the federal government to change federal policy,” Paxton claimed. The AG suggested the move to license the sites as daycare centers was aimed at safety for children being housed there: “Texas strives to keep children as safe as possible by providing independent oversight over the family residential centers in the state through its child care licensing program,” Paxton said. He added the specialized licensing “…helps ensure the safety an well-being of children by requiring that family residential centers meet Texas’ comprehensive standards for operating a child care center and allows state employees to conduct random inspections, incident investigations, and background checks.”
To view a copy of the 3rd Court of Appeals ruling, click here.
Grassroots Leadership officials took a decidedly different view of the court’s decision. They took issue with Paxton’s assessment that safety aims were the impetus for the licensing. “The appeals court issued no such ruling,” officials at the nonprofit said. “Instead, the court only held that Texas courts lack jurisdiction to protect children.
Indeed, the group had a diametrically opposed take on the appeals court decision than Paxton’s: “Today, a court ruling opened the doors for implementation of a state agency rule that would allow jails to be licensed as child care centers, and unrelated adults to be assigned to children’s bedrooms.”
The 3rd Court of Appeals decision represents a reversal of a 2016 trial court judgment that ordered the state to refrain from licensing such facilities. Grassroots Leadership and detained families had successfully argued in front a district court that the licensing of family detention centers violated Texas law.
The same year, Judge Karin Crump of the 250th District Court invalidated the Texas regulation that allowed for the licensure of the family detention centers, Grassroots Leadership officials reminded. According to that ruling, the regulation would have also authorized licensure without compliance with fundamental state minimum standards that ordinarily apply to child care facilities — including a standard prohibiting children from sharing bedrooms with unrelated adults — Grassroots Leadership officials noted. In overturning Crump’s ruling, the 3rd Court of appeals effectively decided that no one can ever challenge the rule, officials of the nonprofit said in a press advisory.
Bob Libal, the executive director of Grassroots Leadership, expressed his disappointment of Wednesday’s ruling: “We are obviously disappointed and horrified by this decision,” he said. “Licensing of these facilities hurts children. Texas agencies refused to license these facilities for years, and only did so under pressure from the Obama immigration services. Now children will be hurt and the courts say they can’t be involved.”
Libal added that the true beneficiaries of the appeal court’s ruling are not the immigrant children being run there, but operators CoreCivic and GEO: “The only ones who may benefit from this ruling are the private prison companies which make millions off their massive baby jails,” Libal said.
Still, he vowed Grassroots Leadership would continue to challenge the presence and continued operation of the detention sites: “We are committed to continuing this fight, in the courts, in the legislature, and by fighting alongside families in these notorious detention centers until they are released,” Libal said.
The state appeals court decision comes one day after an Associated Press report revealed the Trump administration waived fingerprint checks for caregivers at a burgeoning migrant tent city in Tornillo, Texas, housing more than 2,300 teenagers. The West Texas site is located amid a desert landscape in El Paso County.
As a result, according to the report, none of the 2,100 staffers at the detention site have undergone rigorous FBI fingerprint background checks, according to a Health an Human Services inspector general memo published Tuesday. “Instead, Tornillo is using checks conducted by a private contractor that has access to less comprehensive data, thereby heightening the risk that an individual with a criminal history could have direct access to children,” the memo obtained by the AP reads in part.
The report has led to many calling for the detention center’s shutdown, drawing condemnation from such advocacy groups as Families Belong Together. The site was originally intended to serve as short-term shelter for up to 360 migrant children. But the AP reports that less than six months later — as the Trump administration expands its crackdown on immigrants — the facility has grown into a full-fledged detention camp housing thousands of teenagers, with signs it may become a permanent facility.
As of Tuesday, 2,324 mostly Central American boys and girls between the ages of 13 and 17 were housed inside the highly guarded facility. More than 1,300 teens have been transported to the site since the end of October alone, according to the AP report.
Not all homeless shelters are created equal! We are blessed to have one of the best in America right here in Delaware, DIMH. They do a tremendous job helping newly released inmates. This article shows that New Yorkers in the same shoes, however, are not so fortunate.
When we help ex offenders and the homeless, we help our communities!
We must devote more resources to effective shelters. Meanwhile, this book may help some.
Excerpts from the Article:
Released from prison, many New York parolees – instead of getting back on their feet through re-entry programs – are heading to homeless shelters in New York City. Of approximately 9,300 prisoners paroled from state prisons in 2017, 54 percent (around 5,000) went directly to shelters – up from 23 percent just three years earlier.
Those 5,000 parolees represented about one in seven of the state’s 35,500 parolees and about one in five new arrivals at New York City homeless shelters last year. The state’s Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) does not track how long they stay there, but said the population is fluid enough that only about 1,600 parolees are in the city’s shelter system at any given time.
“It’s like living in a maze,” said Fred Henderson, who was released from prison in 2009. “The shelter system is worse than prison. At least in prison you know how long you’re gonna be in there and then you get released. In the shelter system, you’re allegedly free, but you’re not. It’s like doing another sentence.”
Henderson, 58, served 10 years for bank robbery at the state’s Franklin Correctional Facility. Released on parole, he spent another three years at Wards Island Shelter – where the city’s police department recorded 27 violent assaults in 2013. Parole officers did not respond to Henderson’s repeated requests to relocate, so he willfully violated parole to get back before a judge. Since then, he has been struggling through the “three-quarter house” system, a loosely-regulated collection of privately-operated, for-profit residential programs. [See: PLN, May 2014, p.1].
Prisoners released in New York have three options if they cannot live with their family: three-quarter houses, a homeless shelter or the street. Three-quarter houses, however, have been subject to charges of corruption – the one Henderson entered was operated by Narco Freedom, which was indicted for stealing $27 million from Medicaid amid accusations of insurance fraud and paying kickbacks. [See: PLN, Sept. 2016, p.58].
In September 2015, the city’s Human Resources Administration (HRA) transferred responsibility for Narco Freedom’s 1,100 parolees to Samaritan DayTop Village. But just 258 of those parolees have been placed in permanent housing. The rest, including Henderson, remain in squalid housing overseen by a court-appointed landlord.
“I’ve been doing this for almost eight years,” Henderson said of living in his building, where a bed bug infestation persists and a broken elevator means the wheelchair-bound parolee must haul himself up two flights of stairs. “You start to lose hope.”
New York City pays between $100 and $300 per night to house a parolee in a homeless shelter – where he or she is locked out during the day. But if arrested again and sent to jail, the average housing cost skyrockets to $748 nightly. A 2002 study by the University of Pennsylvania found that over 32 percent of prisoners released to a homeless shelter were reincarcerated within two years of release.
“If you put somebody who’s not going to have any support in an environment like a shelter, the risk is going to be much higher that they go back to what they know” – namely, illegal activities, said Stephen Metraux, the study’s author.
DOCCS insists that homeless shelters are a destination of last resort for its parolees – even though more than half of them ended up there last year. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio blasted the state for “dumping” parolees into shelters.
“This is exacerbating our homeless problem,” he said. “The state needs to step up and give these parolees some actual support.”
The office of New York Governor Mario Cuomo responded that the prison-to-shelter rate has gone down, and that parolees make up only a small number of the city’s entire shelter population – which is estimated at 60,000 people on any given night.
Driving the homelessness problem is an expensive rental market on one hand and, on the other, a steady flow of people recently released from prison or other institutional settings. The 9,300 state prisoners who are paroled every year represent just part of more than 25,000 people released from New York prisons annually, according to DOCCS statistics. They are joined by another 68,000 released from city jails each year, according to the Mayor’s Management Report.
“You’ve got this kind of perfect storm,” observed Ann Jacobs, Director of the Prison Reentry Institute at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “No amount of discharge planning is going to get folks housing if there’s no housing on the back end,” agreed Erin Burns, senior program manager at the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH), a non-profit that creates supportive housing for the homeless and those living in extreme poverty.
“Without the support that goes with your supportive housing, someone with a criminal justice background will not be able to succeed in the community,” explained CSH director Kristin Miller. “In addition to having special needs, like mental health disorders, substance abuse in their history and medical issues, they also face a challenging time finding affordable housing and employment.”
In 2008, CSH’s Frequent User Services Enhancement (FUSE) project, which identifies those with the longest involvement in the city’s health, shelter or jail systems, placed 200 people in a pilot supportive housing program. By 2009, 91 percent remained off the streets and out of shelters. Compared to a similar group not in the program, they had spent 147 fewer days in a shelter over a two-year period and 19 fewer days incarcerated, saving the city over $7,300 per person annually in costs associated with medical and behavioral crisis services.
“To be isolated [on the street or in a shelter], you’re almost in a state of perpetual crisis,” said Jeff Nemetsky, executive director of Brooklyn Community Housing and Services (BCHS), which was part of the FUSE project. “Almost by definition you’re not creating a support network for yourself and you’re going to live in the world in a precarious state where you don’t have comfort or confidence in yourself and the future.”
Developing social skills, Nemetsky explained, was the primary benefit of participating in the community that was formed among those who were enrolled in BCHS. But the organization is part of just a small group of supportive housing providers in the city, which offers in total less than 1,000 housing units to people involved with the criminal justice system.
Think about this: Someone else is now running his cartel = “business as usual”. We are spending a fortune prosecuting this one man, while illegal drugs continue to flood our towns and cities.
IT IS TIME TO END OUR ABSURD WAR ON DRUGS!
Before you start ranting and raving, you should look at the countries which already have done so: addiction is down, crime is way down, and they are saving Billions of $$$$$$$$$$ for more useful purposes!
Excerpts from the Article:
The U.S. trial of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has offered a screenplay-worthy picture of the lawlessness and excesses during his rise to power as Mexico’s most infamous drug lord. Since the trial got underway on Nov. 13, witnesses have described how Guzman used tunnels dug under the border and fake jalapeno cans to smuggle tons of cocaine into the United States during the 1990s and early 2000s.
The Sinaloa cartel, sometimes referred to by insiders as “The Federation,” made hundreds of millions of dollars, most of it in U.S. currency collected in such volume it had to be stashed in safe houses while the gang figured out what to do with it. Guzman spent some of it on a private zoo, a diamond-encrusted pistol and paying off police and politicians.
That’s all according to a cast of characters who have taken the witness stand ranging from former cartel members to a Colombian drug kingpin with a freakish face that he chose to alter with plastic surgery in a failed attempt to stay under the radar.
Here’s a look at some testimony highlights from the trial, which is expected to last until early next year:
The Sinaloa cartel had many crafty ways to smuggle drugs across the border, but perhaps none were craftier than La Comadre brand pepper cans. Former cartel member Miguel Angel Martinez testified in federal court in Brooklyn he helped supervise a warehouse in Mexico City where workers hid cocaine in the cans so it could be trucked over the border.
The trucks carried 3,000 cans at a time to Los Angeles, he said. He estimated about 25 to 30 tons of cocaine worth $400 to $500 million got across the border each year.
Behind the scenes, the workers packing the coke into the cans “got intoxicated because whenever you would press the kilos, it would release cocaine into the air.” Proceeds ended up in Tijuana, where Guzman would send his three private jets every month to pick it up, Martinez said. On average, each plane would carry up to $10 million home.
The cash, he said, helped pay for luxuries like an Acapulco beach house featuring a private zoo and a trip to Switzerland for Guzman to get an exotic “anti-aging” treatment.
BRIBERY AS USUAL
A turncoat cartel member named Jesus Zambada took the stand to describe how he kept watch over tons of cocaine stashed in a Mexico City warehouse. But a more important job for him was buying off authorities at a cost of about $300,000 a month — a price that earned Guzman a police escort after one of his notorious escapes from prison.
He testified that Guzman looked troubled at the sight of the Mexico City police approaching the car. “Don’t worry about it,” Zambada told Guzman. “These are our people. No one is going to touch us from here on out.” Testimony suggested the prisons were on the take, too. Martinez claimed when he and Guzman visited a drug boss behind bars, other inmates had put together a lavish meal. “There was a music group and they had everything, whatever you would want to eat. Whiskey, cognac,” Martinez said. “You could choose between lobster and sirloin and pheasant.”
The latest star witness for the government has been more notable for his appearance than his testimony. Former Colombian drug lord Juan Carlos Ramirez Abadia is perhaps best known for his plastic surgery. He told the jury last week that he has had at least three surgeries to change his appearance.
The work altered “my jawbone, my cheekbones, my eyes, my mouth, my ears, my nose,” he said.
His testimony made a case for ranking him at the top of the narco-patheon with Guzman: He said he smuggled 400,000 kilos (881,840 pounds), ordered 150 killings and amassed a fortune so large that he forfeited $1 billion after his arrest in Brazil in 2007.
Ramirez Abadia said he had a cartel business model that included a division entirely devoted to using drug money to bribe authorities to “not do their jobs” to enforce drug laws. He testified that it was clear Guzman had similar arrangements when he flew planes loaded with Colombian cocaine to Mexico, where they were greeted by police officers who helped unload the goods.
Don’t be distracted!
The abuse in Delaware prisons continues unabated, continues because those in control allow it to continue! Guards enter a cell, cuff the inmate, beat him steal or brake his property. They intimidate by threatening to plant drugs in their cells and charge them with “possession of contraband”. Medical care is virtually non existent.
How do I know? Two guards who know me call me from their homes and tell me. My friend Steve Hampton just sent me another email with several detailed incidents of brutality and cruelty related in letters from inmates.
One inmate has his TV smashed. I have SEEN this for five years, and the situation only worsens. It worsens because authorities do not have the will to stop it, and that is a disgrace to them.
They roll out things like the new “Commission to Reduce Recidivism”, which, I dare predict, will accomplish no more than keeping the executives at some of the nonprofit corporations involved in it employed! Hell, I can tell the governor how to reduce recidivism in five minutes. These “Commissions” and “Committees” are pure window dressing, and behind the windows, the abuse marches on. The abuse is a major cause of the recidivism they say they want to prevent! READ Prison Abuse – Why Massive Indifference is a Massive Mistake
YOU tell me in 5 years what this new “Commission” actually accomplished!
Excerpts from the Article:
Governor John Carney on Tuesday signed Executive Order #27, which focuses on improving reentry procedures for incarcerated individuals in Delaware. The Executive Order creates a commission focused on reentry reform, policies, and procedures, with a goal of helping former inmates more successfully reenter their communities. The Order will more effectively coordinate service delivery, strengthen data sharing among agencies, create a comprehensive reentry protocol, improve the availability of academic and vocational programming prior to an inmate’s release, and strive to reduce recidivism in Delaware.
“It’s our responsibility to look out for every Delawarean. We need to make sure offenders who serve out their sentences are able to reenter society ready to positively contribute to their communities, and have the support they need to succeed,” said Governor Carney. “This Executive Order will improve our existing reentry procedures, and in turn, reduce recidivism. That will help strengthen communities across our state.”
Executive Order #27 is the result of Delaware’s participation in the National Criminal Justice Reform Project, an initiative led by the National Governors Association and the National Criminal Justice Association Center for Justice Planning to assist states in implementing evidence-based criminal justice reforms.
“This Executive Order enhances the ability for the Department of Correction to meet its goals of ensuring public safety and providing opportunities for rehabilitation to justice-involved individuals preparing to return to the community,” said Perry Phelps, Commissioner of the Delaware Department of Correction. “I look forward to working with Governor Carney and our sister agencies to reduce barriers and collateral consequences for the men and women exiting the correctional system.”
Approximately 23,000 incarcerated adults are released from the State of Delaware Department of Correction (DOC) facilities annually. Seventy-six percent of those who are released from DOC facilities are rearrested within three years. Sixty-eight percent of those released had a reconviction and sixty-five percent had a recommitment. Delaware’s percentage of probationers is approximately forty-six percent higher than the national average, and its percentage of incarcerated adults is approximately twelve percent higher than the national average. Reentry reforms in Executive Order #27 are intended to directly confront Delaware’s high rate of recidivism.
“The Delaware Criminal Justice Council is excited to work with Governor Carney and the newly-established commission to build on the continuing work of improving reentry services to all justice involved individuals,” said Christian Kervick, Executive Director of the Delaware Criminal Justice Council. “This Executive Order includes best practices and reforms to improve our Criminal Justice System and increase public safety throughout the State.”
The Delaware Correctional Reentry Commission will consist of members of the Governor’s Cabinet, the Chief Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, the Attorney General and others who work closely on this issue, including the Executive Director of the Criminal Justice Council. This Commission will oversee implementation and further develop the State’s comprehensive strategic reentry initiatives, ensuring that federal, state, and local resources are used most efficiently to reduce duplicative reentry services and align with the application of evidence-based approaches.
“Ninety-eight percent of the people who enter Delaware prisons will return to the community. They are our neighbors. We live, shop, and work in the same community,” said Adam Balick, Chair of the newly-created Delaware Correctional Reentry Commission. “It is in all of our interests to give them the tools they need to succeed when they return to our community. We know the factors that lead to recidivism. Homelessness, unemployment, drug addiction, among other things. We can lower recidivism rates in Delaware by helping these men and women reintegrate successfully.”
Executive Order #27 is the result of Delaware’s participation in the National Criminal Justice Reform Project, an initiative led by the National Governors Association and the National Criminal Justice Association Center for Justice Planning to assist states in implementing evidence-based criminal justice reforms.
This is a story I have heard/seen too many times. Open the whole article; it is so long I have had to edit out much of it. Private prisons are THE worst development in criminal justice! Here we see brutality committed by LaSalle Corrections, a family business that runs the Parker County jail, where 24 out of 77 officers don’t have permanent licenses. If this company is underbidding the two biggest private prison companies, as indicated, you KNOW their training, staffing, and medical care must be God Awful!
Excerpts from the Article:
Andy DeBusk’s family thought a night in jail might save him. It was Christmas Eve of 2016. He was in the Parker County jail in Weatherford, west of Fort Worth, coming down from a meth high. He called his mother to ask for bail money.
Hoping a night in a cell would sober him up, his family decided to wait until Christmas Day to bail him out. But before their holiday dinner was over, the phone rang again: DeBusk was dead.
Video obtained by The Dallas Morning News shows him shackled after guards used pepper spray on him in a cell. Jailers then placed him face down and piled on him, making it hard for him to breathe and contributing to his death at age 38, an autopsy found.
The jail operator has rules that strictly limit the use of pepper spray and bar guards from holding down prisoners in ways known to cause asphyxiation. But at least four jailers that night had virtually no training, state records show. An officer who dug his knee into DeBusk’s back minutes before his death had been on the job just seven weeks and hadn’t gone through any of the state’s mandated instruction.
Every year, thousands of untrained jailers work all over Texas under a loophole that allows jails to employ so-called temporary guards for up to 12 months, The News found. That means these officers haven’t received all 96 hours of the state training that teaches guards how to handle volatile prisoners, when to use force, and what constitutes basic safety techniques.
They are sometimes paid less than licensed jailers.
Many untrained guards work for LaSalle Corrections, a family business that runs the Parker County jail, where 24 out of 77 officers don’t have permanent licenses, according to the county sheriff’s office. The Louisiana-based firm runs the main jails in six of the 10 counties where the most temporary jailers work, according to a News analysis.
We found LaSalle has hired more than 370 jailers with temporary licenses at less than a dozen facilities around the state since 2017. That’s a lot: Half of the agencies that have used temporary jailers since 2017 employed four or fewer.
As LaSalle has amassed a growing empire of county jails, state prisons and immigration detention centers, it has been plagued by complaints about temporary workers and lax training, court records show. Among the lawsuits is one filed by DeBusk’s family, alleging negligence in his death; the company has not responded in court.
Eason said LaSalle’s internal records showed the company had fewer temporary jailers than reflected in state records, but did not provide specific numbers. He noted the numbers may change as jailers are hired, fired or quit; and the company sometimes struggles to staff its facilities, depending on the location. The company has hired recruiters and held job fairs to fill positions at short-staffed jails, he said.
In recent years, LaSalle has won contracts by bidding significantly less than competitors GEO Group and CoreCivic (the prison company formerly known as Corrections Corporation of America).
The company has gotten a growing number of contracts in Texas to operate jails by promising to house inmates for as little as $30 per person per day; the company’s contract with Parker County is for less than $50. In Dallas, the county-operated jail estimates it spends about $70.
Police and jailers must have a license to work in Texas. But if you’re 18 or older, graduated from high school or earned a GED, can pass a criminal background check, drive a car and carry a gun, you’re allowed to work in a Texas jail for up to one year on a temporary license before completing the state-required coursework to get a jailers license. Texas issues between 4,000 and 5,000 temporary licenses a year.
The permanent licensing process includes 72 hours of instruction that can be completed online, plus 24 hours in a classroom, said Kenny Merchant, director of operations for credentialing at the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement. It’s illegal for jails to employ guards who don’t take the licensing exam within a year. But Merchant said it’s not uncommon — though risky.
“The liability issue that comes in for the jails and the employers is just huge,” he said.
To get their permanent licenses, guards must pass a 100-question multiple-choice test. One online practice exam asks test takers to identify when inmates may play games, to pick parts of federal law that relate to civil rights, and to agree sliding keys across a jailhouse floor is a bad idea.
In addition to the Parker County jail, LaSalle runs at least eight other facilities in Texas. They include local jails in Beaumont, Cleburne, Waco, Texarkana and Fannin County, north of Dallas. It also contracts with federal officials to detain immigrants and houses hundreds of inmates for Harris County in a jail in Louisiana.
While its Texas operations continue to increase, LaSalle has also been the target of lawsuits and complaints about treatment of inmates.
In 2015, at the LaSalle-operated Bi-State Jail in Texarkana (which holds people from Texas and Arkansas), Michael Sabbie was found dead on the floor of his cell. The day before he died, jailers piled on top of Sabbie and pepper sprayed him, according to video of the encounter included in court filings. Like DeBusk, Sabbie repeatedly yelled that he couldn’t breathe as the officers pushed down on his back. Federal prosecutors determined jailers did not violate civil rights laws, LaSalle’s court filings say.
LaSalle Corrections, the private company that operates the facility, requires officers record on video any time they use force against an inmate. DeBusk died minutes after this moment was recorded on this video, which was obtained through his family’s lawsuit.Erik Heipt, a Seattle lawyer, represents Sabbie’s wife in her civil lawsuit against LaSalle. Heipt, who specializes in cases involving deaths at jails and in police custody, called the use of pepper spray at the jail “shocking and extraordinary.”
Three nurses he deposed said they had seen at least 100 people sprayed in less than five years.
The warden is supposed to approve all uses of pepper spray, according to a company “use of force” policy included in court filings. Employees must know how to use the spray and how to treat people exposed to it. But in depositions Heipt took from officers, several said they had no training on how to spot medical distress.
In Parker County, prosecutors presented the DeBusk case to a grand jury in 2017; it declined to indict the jailers. DeBusk’s family sued LaSalle Corrections for negligence in September, alleging his death “was clearly caused by the actions of LaSalle personnel violating their own use of force policies.”
Through their lawsuit, the family got a copy of video which captures most of the encounter between DeBusk and the guards.
Jailers told investigators from the Texas Rangers that DeBusk became belligerent, taking off his clothing, throwing water around the cell and yelling insults. They decided to move him to a cell for violent offenders.
The video does not show the moment DeBusk allegedly swung his fist at a jailer. The state’s investigative report contains conflicting statements about whether DeBusk actually punched the guard or missed. An officer told investigators DeBusk kicked the camera out of his hand during the scuffle in the cell. Two jailers were inadvertently hit by the pepper spray, forcing one to leave to seek medical treatment.
LaSalle’s videotape resumes with DeBusk screaming as jailers pin him to the floor outside of the cell.
“They’re gonna kill me,” he yells. Seconds later, officers joke about the pepper spray. “Tastes good to me,” one jailer can be heard saying.
Four officers hoist DeBusk into the air. Pants around his knees and arms behind his back, he is carried to the cell for violent inmates by his elbows and the chains securing his feet. Officers place him face down on the floor of the cell, panting after carrying the nearly 200-pound man through the jail hallway. DeBusk yells “I can’t breathe!” as officers push knees and hands into his back.
DeBusk vomits. An officer tells a colleague “knee in,” prompting the jailer to drive a knee into DeBusk’s back. He groans, and the officer tells the other guard to “ease up.”
“I’m gonna die!” DeBusk yells. Vomit drips from his nose. He doesn’t speak. His face grows increasingly blue. One jailer tells her colleagues: “Hey guys, he’s turning a different color.” Seconds later, a jailer says DeBusk is “out.” “He’s fine, get the cuffs,” an officer responds. Although one jailer says DeBusk is breathing, another says medical staff should be ready to act. DeBusk’s arms remain behind his back. The cell door slams shut as he makes faint gasping sounds.
Records show at least seven minutes passed between the time guards closed the door and the time they called 911. Paramedics could not revive him.
A medical examiner said too many factors contributed to DeBusk’s death to choose a definitive cause, so she labeled his manner of death “undetermined.” But her report, which is a public document, states that the pepper spray and restraints played a role in his death. Food in his airway was a choking hazard, and the pepper spray used in the cell made it difficult for DeBusk to breathe, the autopsy states. “There were prolonged periods of prone restraint with compression of the torso and extremities, potentially contributing to a reduced respiratory capacity,” the report says.
When investigators questioned jailers involved in DeBusk’s death, several said they didn’t hear DeBusk say he couldn’t breathe. One said he ignored DeBusk, because he figured if he could scream, he could breathe. Another said he thought DeBusk was lying.
For several guards, this was their first job at a jail. Ty Ashley was 21 and had no formal training when he rushed into the cell for violent inmates and pushed his knee into DeBusk’s back. He was the officer told to “ease up” on the pressure.
State records show the jailer who filmed DeBusk’s death, James Duryea, never received his full license, despite working at the Parker County jail for 21 months. He could not be reached for comment. A LaSalle official said the company has records showing Duryea passed the licensing exam but never received his full license due to a paperwork error.
Of the 17 Parker County officers interviewed by Texas Rangers in connection to DeBusk’s death, 11 no longer work at the jail, according to state records.
Since DeBusk’s death, records show three people have died at the jail: two men died from heart conditions and a woman died of a drug overdose.
In his jail booking photo, his hair and eyes are wild. He had lost at least 30 pounds in the two prior months. When he was taken into custody, he said he hadn’t slept for more than 24 hours, according to state records.
DeBusk’s family members say they are haunted by their decision to not bail him out when he called on Christmas Eve. Normally, he would have been with them — playing Santa for the kids at his mother’s house.
His sister, Ashley Bourdelais, said she rushed to the hospital after receiving the call he was dead. Looking at her brother’s naked body, covered in bruises with vomit on his face, she wondered how things have could have gone so wrong so quickly.
“We were all together,” she said, “and he died alone.”
A recent proposal to pass a new law to arrest panhandlers prompted this letter from my good friend, and one who knows as much about homelessness as anyone on the planet, Jeanine Kleimo. She knows that such laws will not help anyone, and are unnecessary. This Christmas season, let us give generously of our resources and our time to those less fortunate than we are.
As one who works with those in our community who experience homelessness, I have read with great interest the proposals regarding panhandling as well as public comments. Clearly, there is no easy solution.
Many people are now aware that those who are homeless cannot afford local housing. Some will never be in a position to afford a place to live without scarce assistance. If not housing, what is available to the homeless? Shelters in the Dover area do not provide enough space for everyone who needs a place to stay. Places such as the Dover Interfaith Mission’s Resource Center, Hopes & Dreams, and the Dover Public Library provide a daytime space for those living on the street to come in from the cold and to access a variety of help, including assistance with job applications.
At a minimum, patrons of the Resource Center can shower, do laundry, and have a mailing address. Most can — as a result — access food stamps. This access to food along with a community network of daily meals for the homeless should reduce the need for homeless individuals to beg for food. Housing access is a much greater challenge.
There are at least three ways to look at addressing the issue of homelessness in our community:
1. Continue on the current path in which nonprofit shelters struggle to raise funds to survive, compete with one another for grants, and rely on the considerable generosity of volunteers to provide meals, managerial support, and an array of services aimed at addressing the critical needs of the most destitute members of the community.
2. Devise a more comprehensive strategy with resources for employment and training targeted at employing those able to learn, to work, and to maintain jobs in combination with temporary or long-term housing that is affordable to those earning wages in the entry-level jobs created. This needs to be accompanied by residential facilities for those with mental illnesses or other serious obstacles to self-reliant and productive lives.
3. Recognize the “big picture” of the social costs of homelessness and provide the housing and other resources that can prevent the health, crime, and other costs estimated at $40,000 per homeless person annually by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Until there is the political will to address homelessness in a more holistic manner, compassion and kindness in individual cases is all that is available to those unable to access scarce beds in shelters. The lack of public resources to address the issue of homelessness effectively and completely shifts the burden of meeting the gap in services to individuals, substituting private costs for public ones.
Rarely do we at the Dover Interfaith Mission for Housing encounter a homeless person who is violent or dangerous. Most simply struggle to meet their daily needs, though it is true that some will use cash received to buy drugs or alcohol, regardless of whether the funds obtained are from work, contributions, the sale of food stamps or illegal activities.
Now, back to panhandling: when approached by someone, providing food or guidance to access services is helpful. Contributing to existing programs that offer shelter and assistance is better. Certainly, treating each individual whom we encounter with the kindness we hope to receive ourselves may provide the hope and encouragement needed for them to take steps towards self reliance.
Jeanine Kleimo is chairwoman of Dover Interfaith Mission for Housing.
The Newspaper Article: