Massachusetts jail is first in state to end in-person visits, allow only video calls – Another idiotic move! kra
Another idiotic move! Why?
- The GUARDS probably are bringing in more drugs than the inmates, and they will continue!
- ALL studies show that personal visits improve prisoner behavior and reduce recidivism.
- The prison staff will no doubt pocket – steal – some or all of the fees.
- Policies like these hit the poor the hardest.
- Clearly, the clown running this prison just wants to keep inmates coming back … it’s called “job preservation” for the prison staff, but it sure as hell is not helping society!
Excerpts from the Article:
The Bristol County House of Corrections in North Dartmouth will no longer offer in-person visits, limiting visitors to video calls only with inmates, MassLive reported.
Correction officials hope that the change will keep illegal substances from being brought into the jail by visitors. “We want to keep visitors out of the secure portion of our jail,” County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Jonathan Darling told MassLive.
In the next week few weeks, a trailer on prison grounds will be set up and equipped with rows of video conferencing equipment for visitors to use.
Remote video calls will also be possible. Visitors will be charged for these calls but correction officials are not yet sure what the exact fees will be.
This has been one of several controversial decisions for Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson. Hodgson has also discussed charging prisoners a daily incarceration fee as well as sending Massachusetts inmates to work on the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
Good news, though it remains to be seen whether “MTC is any better!
Excerpts from the Article:
Nashville-based CoreCivic, a company formerly known as Corrections Corporation of America that owns and manages private prisons, is laying off more than 500 employees throughout Texas after failing to retain a contract with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, according to state filings. The company notified the Texas Workers Commission of its plans to lay off 518 workers at facilities in Rusk, Willacy and Rusk counties. The notifications are in compliance with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act requiring employers with at least 100 workers to give a 60-day advance notification of mass layoffs.
Patch requested accompanying correspondence submitted at the time of the layoffs notifications to glean more information about the mass CoreCivic layoffs. Recently, the TWC stopped providing lists of job titles affected (citing issues related to worker privacy) as they did so for many years, making it impossible to know what positions will be affected.
What is known is that 518 layoffs will occur by the end of August. The Texas Board of Criminal Justice on June 30 announced that Utah-based Management & Training Corporation (MTC) would be awarded operation and management of the Lindsey State Jail in Jacksboro, Texas, (Jack County) and Bradshaw State Jails in Henderson, Texas, (Rusk County), agency spokesman Robert Hurst wrote to Patch in an email responding to queries.
“[CoreCivic] deliberately failed to adequately screen those entering its facility, respond to inmate requests for medical attention, treat those infested with the parasite, quarantine the infected individuals in its care, or to take any other precautions to prevent the spread of scabies outside the facility,” the lawsuit reads, as reported by Nashville Scene. “This caused a foreseeable and preventable systematic outbreak which spread to the Plaintiff and all others similarly situated.”
Closer to home, the company—under its former Corrections Corporation of America iteration—was the subject of frequent protests centered on conditions at a detention facility in Dilley, Texas (located 150 miles south of Austin) used by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency to house undocumented women and children. Critics have called the detention center tantamount to a jail, despite its sanitized South Texas Family Residential Center name.
The facility was hastily built in 2014 in an effort to deal with a sudden influx of Central American mothers and their children that summer. Lawsuits by immigrant advocates were filed that questioned the legality of the Obama administration’s family detention policy.
The Dilley contract was lucrative for CCA, with Reuters reporting that the company was paid $296 per person per day to run the site holding up to 2,400 detainees, making it the nation’s largest immigrant detention center. Unlike its contracts coming to an end in August with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, the one with ICE to run the facility in Dilley is all but assured after the Department of Homeland Security recently extended the terms in a new contract.
A small step in the right direction, if it becomes law.
It is about more than drugs: In Oregon, the incarceration rate for African Americans is 5.6 times that for whites.
Excerpts from the Article:
First-time offenders caught with small amounts of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and other illegal drugs will face less jail time and smaller fines under a new bill approved by the Oregon legislature that aims to curb mass incarceration.
The Oregon legislature passed a bill late last week that reclassifies possession of several drugs from a felony to a misdemeanor, reducing the punishments and expanding access to drug treatment for people without prior felonies or convictions for drug possession. Oregon lawmakers hope to encourage drug users to seek help rather than filling up the state’s prisons as an epidemic of abuse spreads.
“We are tying to move policy towards treatment rather than prison beds,” said state Sen. Jackie Winters (R), co-chair of the Public Safety Committee and a supporter of the bill. “We can’t continue on the path of building more prisons when often the underlying root cause of the crime is substance use.”
If signed into law, Oregon would be among several states that have reduced punishments for possession of small amounts of some illicit drugs, what some call the “decriminalization” of drug possession. Proponents say the bill marks a significant step toward addressing racial disparities in incarceration that developed as a result of the “war on drugs” approach to crime. The bill reflects a wider trend in which many states struggling to manage the opioid addiction crisis are working to treat drug abuse more as a public health concern than a criminal matter.
“Too often, individuals with addiction issues find their way to the doorstep of the criminal justice system when they are arrested for possession of a controlled substance,” Kevin Campbell, executive director of the Oregon Association Chiefs of Police, wrote in a letter of support for the bill. “Unfortunately, felony convictions in these cases also include unintended and collateral consequences including barriers to housing and employment and a disparate impact on minority communities.”
Studies have shown that Oregon conviction rates disproportionately affect minorities. A 2015 study by the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission found that African Americans in Oregon were convicted of felony drug possession at more than double the rate of white offenders; Native Americans were convicted of drug possession at five times the rate of whites.
In Oregon, the incarceration rate for African Americans is 5.6 times that for whites, according to a 2016 report by the Sentencing Project, a prison-reform advocacy group. Black people make up less than 2 percent of Oregon’s population but represent more than 9 percent of the people incarcerated in state prisons as of 2014, the study found.
In 2015, Oregon became the 31st state to pass a law addressing racial profiling, but it did not provide guidance for dealing with the issue. “The bill was incomplete,” Knott said. “It was saying to police departments, ‘Just don’t profile,’ and ‘Here is a definition of what not to do, and we expect you not to do it.’ ”
Legislators quietly dish no-bid, $3 million contract to private prison group- More bad private prison news! kra
Here is another story with the same lesson within it: Bribe enough lawmakers [“legal bribes” in the form of campaign donations and lobbying] private prisons are assured of continuing to make Billions of dollars in profits over the dead bodies of the inmates they abuse and neglect!
Excerpts from the Article:
Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones was visiting Graceville Correctional Facility, the private prison in North Florida run by The Geo Group, when she spotted a paperweight with a picture of handcuffs imprinted on it and the words “Continuum of Care.” She was startled, and a bit angry, to learn that the company had started branding an idea developed by a member of her staff, Abe Uccello, and was using it to promote a new line of business.
“I said, ‘You son-of-a-guns,’” Jones recalled of the meeting in late 2015. “They had taken a white paper of Abe’s and stolen the entire thing — the content — and claimed to have patented it.”
Jones was determined not to share anything again with the private prison vendor “because I don’t want them to profit off of what we’re trying to do,” she told the Herald/Times in an April 2017 interview. But Florida legislative leaders had a different idea.
Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones wants to reduce the state’s prison population by increasing the number of rehabilitative programs that reduce recidivism. Legislators this year increased funding for the rehabilitation programs in four privately run prisons that are not controlled by Jones’ agency.
In March 2016, legislators approved $330,000 for The Geo Group to operate a pilot program to be run at Blackwater Correctional, using the ideas Jones said Uccello had developed for Florida’s state-run prison system. This year, lawmakers expanded the program to $3 million, with the money going exclusively to four of The Geo Group’s five private prisons in Florida — Bay, Moore Haven, South Bay, and Blackwater — “for the provision of enhanced in-prison and post-release recidivism reduction programs.”
“They got it with no competition and no guarantee of performance,” said Rep. David Richardson, D-Miami Beach, who has been a critic of the state’s failure to determine if the private prisons are saving tax money as required by law.
Geo Group spokesman Pablo Paez said he wasn’t aware of Jones’ concerns about the company appropriating Uccello’s “white paper.” He said the company has been using the “Geo Continuum of Care” term since 2010, trademarked the idea in 2011, is financing the program at its Graceville prison with its own funds, and was “transparent” in its request for the $3 million.
The story illustrates the competitive forces at play within Florida’s prison system, which houses more than 98,000 inmates. Legislators intentionally put the oversight of private prisons under the Department of Management Services to keep it at arms length from the Department of Corrections, which operates the state-run prisons.
But the for-profit prisons get lower-risk inmates, are better funded, have more lobbying clout, funnel millions in cash into legislators’ campaigns and, as a result, often get more taxpayer dollars per inmate than prisons run by FDC.
The Geo Group, based in Boca Raton, had at least 15 lobbyists registered in Florida last session and steered more than $1.1 million into the campaign committees of the governor and legislators in the 2016 election cycle.
Richardson noted that while the “continuum of care” idea was a good one, giving $3 million to The Geo Group prisons — and not the two other private prisons or the 150 other correctional facilities run by the state — was not. He also said reporting requirements and performance standards should have been spelled out.
This year, The Geo Group has donated more than $480,000 to Florida political committees, including $150,000 to Gov. Rick Scott’s Let’s Get to Work committee, $50,000 to the Republican Party of Florida, and $50,000 to the political committee controlled by incoming Senate president Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, state records show.
“With more than 87 percent of inmates in Florida’s correctional institutions scheduled to transition back into their communities upon release, there is a critical need for comprehensive rehabilitative services,” she said.
Yes, the fastest growing group of people to be imprisoned is women; and, as I have written before, most need not be there!
Excerpts from the Article:
On Tuesday, July 18th the Brennan Center for Justice, in collaboration with the Justice Action Network and Google, co-hosted an event called “Women Unshackled: Policy Solutions to Address the Growth of Female Incarceration” in Washington, D.C. The first ever policy forum to specifically address female incarceration, the event brought together a diverse coalition of bipartisan policymakers, legislators, and criminal justice advocates that are committed to reducing the female prison population and improving the quality of life for current female inmates. Notable speakers included Senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, and Representatives Mia Love, Doug Collins, and Sheila Jackson Lee. Panels also included a number of formerly incarcerated women who shared their experiences and recommendations.
Topics discussed included the devastating effects of incarceration on mothers and their families, the unique circumstances that land so many women in prison and that go largely ignored (i.e., mental health issues, histories of trauma, and untreated substance abuse), and the extreme challenges women face upon reentry. Much of this is the natural consequence of over-relying on a criminal justice system that was designed with men in mind and that traditionally leaves women out of the now hot button issue of mass incarceration.
Fortunately, this narrative is beginning to change. Both Sen. Harris and Sen. Booker spoke about the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act, a bill introduced last week that aims to establish a more humane environment for incarcerated women by improving visitation policies, banning the shackling of pregnant inmates, and offering parenting classes, among other things. Governor Mary Fallin also discussed a series of programs being implemented in her home state of Oklahoma, which currently has the highest female incarceration rate in the country.
Read the Whole Story
This happens all too often with large jury awards, and I usually do not agree with it because a judge overrides the jury by saying the award was “excessive”. There are many examples of this. As a veteran of several hundred jury trials I believe in jurors – they take their job seriously and nearly always (before the days when the system was such a mess! READ How the War on Drugs Has Destroyed Justice) do the right thing! However, in this case the Court tossed it due to a “technical point” regarding the statute of limitations. I will read the entire case later, because the Court’s reasoning doe not make sense to me … there was no new “cause of action”; it was just an argument about the amount of the award.
Excerpts from the Article:
The Pennsylvania Superior Court has tossed a $38.5 million punitive damages verdict awarded to the families of two Kraft employees who were fatally gunned down by a disgruntled co-worker. A three-judge panel of the court ruled Tuesday in Wilson v. U.S. Security Associates to grant the defendants’ motion seeking judgment not withstanding the verdict with regard to the punitive damages award. The verdict was the largest award to come out of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas in 2015.
On appeal, the defendants specifically contended that the plaintiffs introduced the claim for punitive damages outside the statute of limitations.
According to Judge William Platt, who wrote the precedential decision, the plaintiffs initially sought punitive damages, but later the parties stipulated to keep punitive damages out of the case. However, after the plaintiffs obtained new counsel and midway through the 2015 trial, plaintiffs were allowed to introduce the punitive damages claim.
Platt said, while the plaintiffs may have been allowed to reinstate the punitive damages claim despite the stipulation, the trial court erred in allowing the plaintiffs to reintroduce the claim after the statute of limitations had expired.
“We conclude that the introduction of a claim for punitive damages, particularly after it had been previously withdrawn, improperly added a new cause of action after the statute of limitations had run,” Platt said in the 56-page opinion. “Appellees’ arguments (and those of the trial court) to the contrary are unpersuasive.”
The ruling left intact the $8 million compensatory damages that were awarded to the two estates.
Kline & Specter attorney Charles “Chip” Becker, who represented the plaintiffs, said the opinion misapprehended the case and could cause confusion regarding future punitive damages claims. “The decision concerning punitive damages badly misapprehends key facts and developments in the case and misapplies relevant Pennsylvania law,” Becker said in an emailed statement. “If permitted to stand, it will strip substantive rights and create a procedural morass for the litigation of a punitive damage claim.”
In total, the defendants raised nine issues on appeal, and requested, among other things, a new trial, or a reduction of the compensatory award. The plaintiffs also appealed on two points, but, other than the punitive damages award, the Superior Court affirmed the trial court’s rulings.
At a time when an increasing number of states (Connecticut most recently) are now requiring a conviction before seizing cash or property, due to the gross injustice resulting from what Sessions now proposes, this fool is heading the other way. This guy is such an idiot he is a danger to America!
Excerpts from the Article:
Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday said he’d be issuing a new directive this week aimed at increasing police seizures of cash and property.
“We hope to issue this week a new directive on asset forfeiture — especially for drug traffickers,” Sessions said in his prepared remarks for a speech to the National District Attorney’s Association in Minneapolis. “With care and professionalism, we plan to develop policies to increase forfeitures. No criminal should be allowed to keep the proceeds of their crime. Adoptive forfeitures are appropriate as is sharing with our partners.”
Asset forfeiture is a disputed practice that allows law enforcement officials to permanently take money and goods from individuals suspected of crime. There is little disagreement among lawmakers, authorities and criminal justice reformers that “no criminal should be allowed to keep the proceeds of their crime.” But in many cases, neither a criminal conviction nor even a criminal charge is necessary — under forfeiture laws in most states and at the federal level, mere suspicion of wrongdoing is enough to allow police to seize items permanently.
Additionally, many states allow law enforcement agencies to keep cash that they seize, creating what critics characterize as a profit motive. The practice is widespread: In 2014, federal law enforcement officers took more property from citizens than burglars did. State and local authorities seized untold millions more.
Since 2007, the Drug Enforcement Administration alone has taken more than $3 billion in cash from people not charged with any crime, according to the Justice Department’s Inspector General.
The practice is ripe for abuse. In one case in 2016, Oklahoma police seized $53,000 owned by a Christian band, an orphanage and a church after stopping a man on a highway for a broken taillight. A few years earlier, a Michigan drug task force raided the home of a self-described “soccer mom,” suspecting she was not in compliance with the state’s medical marijuana law. They proceeded to take “every belonging” from the family, including tools, a bicycle and her daughter’s birthday money.
In recent years, states have begun to clamp down on the practice. “Thirteen states now allow forfeiture only in cases where there’s been a criminal conviction,” said Robert Everett Johnson, an attorney for the Institute for Justice, a public interest law firm that represents forfeiture defendants.
In 2015, Eric Holder’s Justice Department issued a memo sharply curtailing a particular type of forfeiture practice that allowed local police to share part of their forfeiture proceeds with federal authorities. Known as “adoptive” forfeiture, it allowed state and local authorities to sidestep sometimes stricter state laws, processing forfeiture cases under the more permissive federal statute.
The Chickenshit Club 37 16 22 A new book indicts the Justice Department with a fiery passion. So why do its arguments feel so inert?
ALL must be held accountable, especially the rich and powerful, so as to deter others. I have seen many “chickenshit” prosecutors, lacking the guts to do the right thing.
Excerpts from the Article:
In April, the New York Times published a nearly 8,000-word story about what James Comey was thinking last year while overseeing FBI investigations into both sides of the 2016 presidential race. Through interviews with the former FBI director’s friends and associates, the story pulled off the neat trick of explaining the reasoning behind the difficult choices Comey made as the election raged around him while leaving no doubt that he had grievously miscalculated.
A few days after I read and enjoyed the Times piece, a colleague recommended I go back and download an episode of the paper’s new morning podcast, The Daily, in which one of the journalists who worked on the story, Matt Apuzzo, talked in a conversational, first-person mode about what was going through his head as events unfolded. Over the course of 30 minutes, I listened on the edge of my seat as Apuzzo, with the help of host Michael Barbaro, offered a vivid, gripping glimpse into what it was like to report on Comey during one of the most extraordinary years in FBI history. Listening to the podcast, I felt like I was getting a candid, emotional play by play about how it all really went down from a savvy, well-informed friend sitting next to me at a bar.
I thought about that episode of The Daily as I read Jesse Eisinger’s The Chickenshit Club, a new book that opens the hood of the Justice Department and follows the churn of its changing character from the beginning of the Enron scandal in the early 2000s through the aftermath of the financial crisis. Eisinger is a senior reporter at ProPublica who won a Pulitzer for his investigative work on Wall Street wrongdoing, and The Chickenshit Club can be read as a reaction to the years he spent covering the financial world in the wake of the 2008 crash. Why, Eisinger wanted to know, had federal prosecutors managed to put just one relatively obscure banker in prison in connection with all the misbehavior that had led up to and followed the crisis? Whose fault was it that the Justice Department, which brought cases against more than 1,000 people in connection with the savings and loan scandals of the 1980s, had become timid and soft on corporate crime since the turn of the century?
Named after a phrase James Comey once used to describe unambitious prosecutors who never lost cases because they played it so safe, Eisinger’s book describes the onset of a new age of caution and impotence at DOJ. His account is animated by clenched-jaw conviction: Eisinger sees a profound moral tragedy in the department’s failure to hold Wall Street executives criminally accountable for their role in causing and profiting from the crisis, and he believes the very notion of justice has been undermined by the government’s willingness to let wealthy, lawyered-up executives walk while zealously filling America’s prisons with poor people.
I can think of no subject that calls out for a personable, transparent narrator more urgently than financial crime, which requires journalists to write about abstract investment “instruments” and deceptive accounting procedures that by their nature are less immediate than “blue-collar” crimes like murder and drug dealing. Getting to sit firmly on the author’s shoulders while trying to wrap your head around stuff that complex can help a reader assimilate facts, form reactions to them, and remember them. At the very least, having a little more Jesse Eisinger in The Chickenshit Club would have made the book more accessible. It could have also created room for Eisinger to engage in a less inert, more discursive mode as he felt his way toward the truth.
This is great, needed legislation. The female prisoner population in the United States has exploded by over 700 percent since 1980, and today is a larger portion of the overall prison population than ever before. The Act would require prison officials to take into consideration the proximity of prisoners to their children when deciding where prisoners will be incarcerated.
Although the B O P houses only about 15% of America’s prisoners, the STATES should copy this Act!
Excerpts from the Article:
Declaring it a potential major step forward in the protection of prisoners’ rights, the Human Rights Defense Center today announced its support for the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act (S. 1524). The Act, introduced on July 11 by Senators Cory A. Booker (D-NJ) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), joined by Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Kamala Harris (D-CA), would extend several important protections to federal prisoners – particularly women. The female prisoner population in the United States has exploded by over 700 percent since 1980, and today is a larger portion of the overall prison population than ever before.
Women are often the primary caregivers in families, and their incarceration places additional burdens and stress on their children. The Act would prohibit the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) from charging for telephone calls made by prisoners. Presently, female prisoners are sometimes forced to choose between using their limited funds to either call family members or purchase hygiene items such as sanitary napkins or tampons while they are menstruating.
“As the co-founder of the national Campaign for Prison Phone Justice (www.phonejustice.org), the Human Rights Defense Center has worked with the Federal Communications Commission to regulate the prison telecom industry which has, for far too long, been allowed to price gouge prisoners and their families for simply wanting to stay in touch. The Act would require the Bureau of Prisons to provide phone calls at no cost to federal prisoners, thereby reducing the significant financial burden on their family members,” said Paul Wright, executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center.
In addition, the Act would require video calling be made available at all BOP facilities free of charge, and would prohibit prison officials from using video calling as a substitute for in-person visitation. Video calling is especially important in federal prisons, where prisoners may be housed hundreds or even thousands of miles from their families, and thus rarely receive in-person visits with their children. The Act would require prison officials to take into consideration the proximity of prisoners to their children when deciding where prisoners will be incarcerated.
The Human Rights Defense Center also supports other provisions of the Act, including a ban on shackling pregnant prisoners and placing them in solitary confinement; providing parenting classes to prisoners who were the primary caretakers of minor children; ensuring that female prisoners receive feminine hygiene products at no cost, such as tampons and pads; expanding eligibility for substance abuse treatment (the Residential Drug Abuse Program) to prisoners who are pregnant or were the primary caretakers of minor children; and creating an ombudsman’s office to monitor certain conditions and policy requirements in BOP facilities.
HRDC issued a letter in support of the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act (S. 1524) on March 29, 2017, before the bill was introduced, after reviewing an advance copy of the legislation. That letter, addressed to Senator Booker, is posted here.
HRDC executive director Wright noted that, importantly, many provisions of the bill would apply to male prisoners, too – many of whom also have minor children. It is estimated that 2.7 million children in the United States have a currently-incarcerated parent.
Practical Tip – FORGIVE him or her! Loved one committed a crime and you are angry with him or her ? kra
I have been having a conversation over the past couple of months with a lady who hired me to file an Application for Commutation to try to get her son out of prison, That was filed a couple of weeks ago.
But she told me that she is angry with her son about his crime, as I suspect many loved ones are with a brother, father, daughter, or other. Although she is helping him, she is angry. I told her, and still believe, that she must forgive him. Whatever the crime, no matter how revolting or stupid or senseless it was, you should – you must – do what we are taught and forgive him or her! She is getting better about it, but not quite there yet. As she said she is up and down and “It’s a daily thing.” So I said “You forgive him, “and it’s a permanent thing”!
I also suggest that you tell the ex offender about your feelings, and that you have forgiven him or her. This will help.
Just a suggestion from a wise oldfart!
My Dad forgave me, which only confirmed what I already knew: I had the world’s best Dad. 🙂