FAMM, Mississippi Dreams Prisoner Family Support Urge Mississippi Legislature to Close Parchman – Mississippi prison system is in dire need of broad reform
Shut it down. In the name of humanity, shut it down!
“Mississippi has the third largest prison population in the nation.” You know why? Because the racists lock up so many black people!
Excerpts from the Article:
FAMM President Kevin Ring and Mississippi Dreams Prisoner Family Support Director Amanda Hamilton released the following statement in response to the ongoing crisis at Mississippi State Prison, also known as “Parchman Farm.”
“Parchman’s horrendous reputation goes back more than a century — it’s a place of hopelessness,” Ring said. “This recent spate of deaths is sadly nothing new in the prison’s legacy of despair. The time has come to end that legacy, and close Parchman forever.”
In addition to closing Parchman, Mississippi must address the growing number of problems in many of the prisons across the state. Mississippi has the third largest prison population in the nation. The prisons are overcrowded and understaffed. State legislators should enact critical sentencing reforms to address the growing prison population, and create an independent oversight body to make sure these issues are addressed.
“Our loved ones deserve to live in a safe, humane environment – not one with walls crumbling down around them,” Hamilton said. “The photos, the violence, and stories that come through the walls of Parchman and other prisons have us worried about our fathers, brothers, sons, cousins and friends.”
For nearly three decades, FAMM has united the voices of affected families, the formerly incarcerated, and a range of stakeholders and advocates to fight for a more fair and effective justice system. FAMM’s focus on ending a one-size-fits-all punishment structure has led to reforms to sentencing and prison policies in 6 states and is paving the way to programs that support rehabilitation for the 94% of all prisoners who will return to our neighborhoods one day.
The Whole Story:
Washington could become the next state to ban private prisons – Last year, California banned private detention centers and was promptly sued. Now, Washington state legislators are considering a similar ban.
ALL states should ban the cruel, greedy, MoFos! They are a disaster in every way, as you know by now if you read my articles. And I predict that the lawsuit filed by GEO Group (America’s second largest private prison company) will fail.
Excerpts from the Article:
On a recent Saturday, immigration advocates packed Washington Hall, shared tamales and discussed the various ways they planned to put an end to immgiration detention in Washington state. They had already managed to stop deportation flights in King County, the activists boasted.
After giving a brief historical overview of the burgeoning private prison industry in the United States (the first private prison opened in the 1980s), and the costs and abuses associated with the facilities, the activists revealed a bill a number of groups have been working on with Washington state legislators. The bill’s intention: Ban all private detention facilities. The Latino Civic Alliance, Washington State Labor Council, American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, La Resistencia, among others, have supported the bill.
Sponsored by state Sen. Rebecca Saldaña, D-Seattle, and in the House, Lillian Ortiz-Self, D-Mukilteo, the bill aims to prevent private companies that contract with local, state and federal agencies, such as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, from operating in Washington state. “There are numerous documented abuses of people held in private detention facilities in Washington state and elsewhere,” the bill reads. “Incarcerating persons in private detention facilities leads to cutting operational costs, which is dangerous and detrimental to Washingtonians.”
Under the bill, Washington state’s one private detention facility, the Northwest ICE Processing Center in Tacoma, would continue to detain people only for the duration of its contract, which expires in 2025. The bill could prevent other private facilities — whether criminal or civil — from opening.
Leading presidential candidates, such as Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, have already identified the private prison industry as a primary target, vowing to do away with private jails. Grisel Ruiz, supervising attorney at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, one of the groups behind the push to ban private prisons, said “this really is a national movement.”
“Our North Star is to see some change at the federal level,” Ruiz said. Ortiz-Self said: “We should not be profiting off our most vulnerable communities. Locking people up should not be a moneymaking venture.”
Saldaña pointed out many of those held are not violent individuals, and many end up in worse condition after they come out.
If signed into law, Washington state would join a handful of other states that have already tackled this issue. Last summer, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed legislation that bars private companies from contracting with local communities to detain immigrants. The new law expands on the state’s already existing 1990 private prison ban.
The goal of the Illinois legislation was to prevent the construction of a 1,300-bed facility in Dwight, a small town roughly 80 miles southwest of Chicago. Immigration Centers of America, or ICA, the private prison company that attempted to open the facility, has also been defeated in two other locations: in Michigan, where the governor vetoed its proposal, and in Wisconsin, where the town of New Richmond said the proposal for a 500-bed facility didn’t fit with the city’s long-term plan.
Months later, in October, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation that bans for-profit lockups in that state — both criminal and civil. Specifically, the new law bars the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in the state from entering into or renewing a contract with a private company after Jan. 1. Privately run facilities will be banned altogether by 2028.
GEO Group, one of the largest private prison companies, runs dozens of facilities across the country, including the Northwest ICE Processing Center. It has challenged California’s law in court. In December, the Florida-based company sued California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Xavier Becerra in U.S. District Court in San Diego. The lawsuit argues that the new California ban aims to “undermine and eliminate the congressionally funded and approved enforcement of federal criminal and immigration law.”
It is a “transparent attempt by the state to shut down the federal government’s detention efforts within California’s borders” and “a direct assault on the supremacy of federal law,” the lawsuit says. The suit came days after ICE rushed to sign new contracts for four private immigrant detention centers ahead of the ban.
Three other states, Nevada, New York and Iowa, have banned private correctional facilities but not civil detention. When asked whether the California lawsuit made Washington legislators nervous, Ortiz-Self said she was hopeful California would win in the end.
Nicole D. Porter, director of advocacy at the Sentencing Project, a Washington, D.C., advocacy and research center that focuses on incarceration, said the California lawsuit could settle the question of whether “states have legal authority to prevent federal contracts.”
“I don’t think it’s consistent with what Washington stands for,” she said.
Letter to the Editor – Shoot More … Pictures! 1/20/20 PUBLISHED
We have shootings galore on the streets of Wilmington, but the police need to start shooting … pictures! We have had four years of talking about Body Cams for Wilmington P D; Enough talk.
The city owes it to its citizens and the cops to fund Body Cams for police and activate them as soon as possible. Maybe take money from some of the contractors dealing with the City who are falling short on their performance.
The goal of any investigation involving police is determining the truth, and Body Cams are the best way to do that. Yes, there may be the odd case where there is “more to the story” than the camera shows, but those situations are rare.
Increase the safety of officers and enhance the chances of convicting criminals by equipping Wilmington P D officers with Body Cams!
Ken Abraham, former prosecutor, founder of Citizens for Criminal JUSTICE, 302-423-4067, Dover, DE
This letter was PUBLISHED in the state’s largest paper on the day of its largest circulation: P A 25 The Wilmington News Journal on 1/26/20.
Excerpts from the Article:
The adoption of body cameras for Wilmington’s police force may hinge on expected negotiations with the city’s police union this year. City officials still disagree with some City Council members on how to pay for the long-proposed camera program, which over the past four years has been delayed amid the department’s transition to a new police chief and the rejection of a federal grant.
Now, the program must clear another hurdle before the city purchases the cameras: The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 1, which represents Wilmington officers, has told Mayor Mike Purzycki’s administration that any disciplinary procedures or consequences stemming from a body camera program is a condition of employment that must be negotiated with the union before officers begin wearing them.
At another public safety committee meeting Monday, activists supporting Yahim Harris, a teenager who was shot by Wilmington police last year as he ran from a stolen car, confronted Chief Robert Tracy about the department’s lack of body cameras.
But officials say there is currently no way to enforce any discipline resulting from the cameras or camera footage, or if an officer does not turn on the camera during an incident.
Not all police unions have demanded negotiations on body camera-related policies as a condition of police officers’ employment, though it is not uncommon nationally.
New Castle County’s police department, which has used body cameras since 2015, specifies when a camera must be turned on but does not specify sanctions.
“A large majority of the time our officers are doing the right things,” he added. “We don’t really push back on that policy all too often.”
Plans to outfit police in Delaware’s largest city with body cameras to record their interactions with civilians have been discussed since 2015, when the department began testing a handful of camera models.
At the time, a wave of municipalities were adopting body cameras as the nation reeled from high-profile police shootings, particularly of unarmed black men.
Since then, many cities have backed out of those programs, balking at the high cost of video storage and redaction. Wilmington’s pilot of body cameras concluded in September 2017, shortly after Tracy became chief.
After City Councilman Trippi Congo’s prompting last year, Tracy issued a report on the costs over five years, which includes equipment, upgrades and video storage from Axon (formerly known as Taser International), and the hiring of one sergeant and three officers to administer the program.
He estimated it would cost more than $1 million in the first year and over $800,000 each year after that. That estimate came in May, and the city budget – which was passed that same month – did not include funding for body cameras.
Instead, city officials applied for a $2 million federal grant that would have covered the initial costs. But the department was not awarded the grant.
Tracy told the public safety committee in November that the department lost out because of errors in the “technical wording” of the grant application. He said Wilmington police will reapply this year.
I have been designated a “Delaware Influencer” by Delaware Today magazine! I’m sure this is why; I send out a Letter every week. YOU can too!
How you can influence people by speaking out on important issues:
Practical Tip: How YOU can become a “prison reform advocate” – or any ADVOCATE! Here is how! EASY as 1, 2 ,3 ! DO IT! –
Practical Tip – Get Empowered! How YOU Can Create a Powerful, Effective Force for Reform
As dangerous as any bank robber, this guy should get some time. My guess is he will get about 10 years, followed by deportation.
Excerpts from the Article:
Aleksei Burkov, 29, pleaded guilty to charges of access device fraud and conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, identity theft, wire and access device fraud and money laundering, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia said in a statement.
Prosecutors say that he ran a website called “Cardplanet” in which stolen debit and credit card numbers were sold and that the stolen data resulted in more than $20 million in fraudulent purchases on U.S. cards.
He also allegedly ran another site where people advertised personal information, malicious software and other criminal services, prosecutors said.
Burkov was arrested at Israel’s Ben-Gurion Airport in late 2015 and fought extradition to the United States. An Israeli Supreme Court approved his extradition to the U.S., and he was sent to America in November. Russian officials objected to the extradition. Israeli officials have suggested Russia sought Burkov’s release by offering an exchange for Naama Issachar, a 26-year-old Israeli woman who received a seven-year prison sentence in Moscow on marijuana charges, The Associated Press reported.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said that Burkov faces a maximum of 15 years when he is sentenced May 8.
A plea agreement also says that Burkov is eligible to be deported after he serves any sentence and that he will not contest removal from the country. A statement of facts filed in the case says that Burkov operated Cardplanet from October 2011 through at least August 2013 and that the site sold stolen card information from virtually all major U.S. payment cards.
Burkov also offered a fee-based “checker” service to allow buyers to instantly validate the stolen card information, the document says.
Customers could also search the site to ensure that the stolen information would be used in the state where the victim lived, so that fake purchases would be harder to detect. The people who bought the stolen card information would then encode it on counterfeit cards.
The other website was called “Direct Connection.” Prosecutors said that was a secure forum for “elite cybercriminals” to meet and plan crimes.
More indications of race in the system! I think the main reason is too much reliance on criminal history.
Excerpts from the Article:
The racial disparity between black and white people sent to state prisons is declining, and it has been for some time. But criminal justice researchers say people of all races still aren’t treated equally when it comes to one important measure: time served behind bars. While arrest and prison admission rates are dropping for black people—in 2016, black people went to state prison at five times the rate of white people, down from eight times in 2000—they are spending longer in prison than their white peers. This trend, noted in a report published by the nonpartisan think tank the Council on Criminal Justice, potentially offsets broader efforts to make the system more equitable, the researchers say.
When it comes to drug and property crimes, black people are serving increasingly more time, growing at a rate of 1 percent or more on average every year, as the time served in prison by white offenders dropped. For violent crimes, although both groups served longer from 2000 to 2016, the prison time for black people grew at a rate almost twice as fast, according to the report.
The question is why.
Experts note that actors at several stages of the criminal justice system can influence how long someone ends up spending in prison. For example, prosecutors decide what charges to bring and what sentences to recommend. Judges have the discretion to hand down sentences. Correction officers can discipline people in prison, which then becomes an important factor when parole boards consider if they will release someone.
Criminal history also plays an important role, said William Sabol, a professor at Georgia State University who authored the report. During the decades of rising incarceration in the United States, a lot of people—especially black men—were arrested and pulled into the criminal justice system, leaving them with long criminal histories, Sabol said. Those records are often considered at sentencing and may contribute to today’s disparity in time spent in prison.
Prosecutors rely heavily on someone’s prior criminal history when they are deciding what to charge and what sentence to recommend, said Daniel Nagin, a criminology professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy. In Pennsylvania, for example, prosecutors determine what sentences to recommend by considering the severity of the crime and the defendant’s past arrest history. A longer criminal history can lead to a longer sentence.
Many states, Nagin said, adopted similar guidelines in the 1980s. The initial intent was to make prosecutors’ decision-making process more transparent and less prone to personal bias. The unintended consequence, however, was that communities that are heavily policed and prosecuted would now often be subject to longer prison terms.
Another potential explanation may come from the adoption of risk assessment tools, school zone enhancements or gang sentencing enhancements—initiatives that ended up disproportionately affecting people of color and how long they stay in prison, said Leigh Courtney, a policy associate at the Urban Institute.
Using school zone enhancement as an example, Courtney said if drugs are sold near a school the penalty can be much higher. The policy may sound logical, but it’s much more likely to affect people who live in urban areas with a dense population.
The increase in prison terms among black people may also be associated with the movement away from aggressive prosecution of low-level crimes, said Lucy Lang, executive director at the Institute for Innovation in Prosecution at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. In order to avoid appearing “soft on crime,” prosecutors who decline to prosecute minor offenses and quality of life cases may double-down on violent and serious drug crimes, Lang said, prosecuting them more aggressively, which can lead to longer sentences.
“We need to rethink our responses to serious and violent crimes because lengthy prison sentences not only don’t seem to be working,” Lang said, “but they are part of what is perpetuating the unconscionable racial disparities in the system, despite efforts to eliminate disparities on the front end.”
This needs to become law!
Excerpts from the Article:
Nearly 30 members of the public turned out to speak Wednesday for a committee hearing on legislation to outlaw “ghost guns,” homemade firearms considered to be untraceable because they lack key identifying markings.
After about 50 minutes of public comments, the House Administration Committee voted 3-2 on party lines to send the measure to the full chamber. It’s not expected to be voted on immediately because the main sponsor is working on amendments.
Filed last week, House Bill 277 would prohibit any gun that has no serial number, is “constructed in a shape or configuration such that it does not resemble a firearm,” is made “entirely of non-metal substances” or is otherwise undetectable by metal detectors. The measure is intended to counter the rise of 3D-printed firearms, which authorities say are dangerous because they can be built at home and made to be almost impossible to track, giving individuals prohibited from having guns another avenue to obtain deadly weapons.
While opponents only slightly outnumbered backers Thursday, the gap between the two sides is as wide as an ocean. To proponents, the legislation is common sense, the kind of thing that can prevent criminals from acquiring illegal guns. But others see it as an unconstitutional attack on their civil liberties, something that will be a major nuisance or worse for gun enthusiasts but do nothing to stop crime.
“Are we going to outlaw cutting down hickory trees so we can make bows and arrows?” asked Carroll Boone. Under the measure, federally licensed gun dealers and manufacturers would be able to possess and transfer unfinished parts if the frame or receiver displays the manufacturer’s name and the serial number. The restrictions also would not apply to members of the military or law enforcement who are authorized to have covert guns.
Possessing an unfinished firearm would be a Class D felony, which carries with it a maximum sentence of eight years in prison. Making a covert or untraceable gun would also be a Class D offense, while simply having such a weapon would fall under a Class E felony. The highest allowable sentence for a Class E crime is five years in jail.
House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst, D-Bear, is drafting changes to the bill that would exempt muzzle-loading rifles and antique firearms, grant more privileges to dealers and push back the effective date to give individuals time to add serial numbers to currently untraceable guns.
The measure is supported by the Department of Justice, the Delaware State Police and Gov. John Carney. “There is no valid argument for anyone to possess unregistered, untraceable, undetectable firearms,” said Wyatt Patterson, a student activist.
“Part of why we supposedly feel safe in this room today is that we passed through a metal detector on our way into this building,” said Mara Gorman, a member of Moms Demand Action. “Anyone carrying a ghost gun could come in here with it or into an airport or into any other public place that screens entrants because of the threat of violence. Do you want to live under that kind of threat? I don’t.”
An April poll conducted by SurveyUSA on behalf of Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund reported 71 percent of recipients support “making it illegal to possess or manufacture undetectable, plastic firearms that can be made at home with a 3-D printer.”
Legislation being drafted by Rep. Kevin Hensley, R-Townsend, would restrict individuals from possessing most guns that lack a serial number or violate the federal Undetectable Firearms Act of 1988. Breaking it would be a Class F felony, which carries a maximum sentence of three years in jail.
That bill is not expected to advance.
Justice for more than 40 women! If convicted he will die in a prison isolation cell. They keep in isolation famous inmates and rapists, for their own protection.
Thanks to advances in DNA science, a little luck, and diligent police work, the police finally “got their man”!
Excerpts from the Article:
They called him the Pillowcase Rapist. For years, he stalked through South Florida like a ghost, breaking into women’s homes, raping them at knifepoint, then disappearing into the darkness. Police suspect he assaulted at least 44 women between 1981 and 1986. Victims said he blindfolded them with pillows or linens during the attacks while hiding his own face under a towel or hood.
Investigators vetted hundreds of suspects, chased thousands of leads and distributed more than 1 million fliers in a desperate effort to track him down. At one point, authorities even hired a sculptor to create a clay bust of the suspect. Somehow, he evaded arrest. “He’s not invisible,” one frustrated detective said in 1985, “but he might as well be.”
Three decades after she left her baby for dead, police knocked on her door. She had been waiting. Now, more than three decades after the case went cold, police say they have found the man they believe is the serial rapist, according to the Miami Herald.
New DNA evidence led investigators to Robert Eugene Koehler, a 60-year-old registered sex offender from Palm Bay, Fla., who was arrested over the weekend on a sexual battery charge. The evidence came not from the suspect, but from his son, who was arrested in an unrelated case. Koehler was taken into custody in Brevard County, Fla., and extradited to Miami-Dade, where he was booked into jail on Wednesday afternoon, records show. For the time being, Koehler is charged in connection with one rape, authorities told local media, but dozens of other counts could follow.
Courtroom video showed Koehler on Tuesday making his first appearance before a judge, who ordered him held without bond. He wore a green smock, known as a suicide gown, that authorities often place on high-profile prisoners.
“I’m not guilty,” Koehler told the judge.
A warrant reveals it was the arrest of Koehler’s son that led authorities to zero in on him as the suspect in a previously unsolved rape from 1983. In that decades-old case, a 25-year-old woman identified only as E.V. was inside her Miami-Dade home three days after Christmas when a man appeared, carrying a sharp object that might have been an ice pick. She screamed, and the intruder put a hand over her mouth before knocking her to the floor. He stabbed her in the abdomen and threatened to kill her if she did not stop screaming. She went quiet. The man led E.V. to a bedroom, where he pushed her to a bed and covered her face — first with a blanket, then with a pillow. He raped her, telling her to “shut up” when she said she could not breathe. Then he was gone.
Police obtained a DNA profile from the evidence collected in a rape kit. It was entered into the FBI database CODIS, but the suspect would elude them for decades — even though Koehler was arrested in a separate sex crime. A rape kit wasn’t tested for 23 years. Police just matched the DNA — to a man suspected all along.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement records show he was convicted of sexual battery in a 1991 case out of Palm Bay. As a result, he was required to register as a sex offender. But his conviction came before Florida began requiring convicts to submit DNA, the Herald reported.
Notified of the DNA hit, authorities began tracking the elder Koehler. They followed him to a public area on Jan. 16, gathering DNA evidence from items he had touched. Analysts with the Miami-Dade Police Department crime laboratory compared it to the DNA from the nearly 40-year-old case and made a match.
The arrest of the Pillowcase Rapist suspect represents a victory for investigators who poured countless man-hours into the search for one of the most-hunted suspects in the region’s history. It could bring long-awaited relief to dozens of victims, some of whom say their attacker continued to stalk them weeks after raping them.
“Thank goodness for the victims. I’d talked with most all of them over the years,” retired Miami-Dade sex crimes detective Dave Simmons told the Herald. “They would call periodically to check on the progress of the case. It’s good for them to have closure.”
These emails should indeed be confidential!
As Jumana Musa, Director of the NACDL’s Fourth Amendment Center, said: “It’s common sense, a bedrock principle of American law: when your attorney communicates with you, that’s supposed to be privileged.”
Excerpts from the Article:
To email someone in a federal prison, you can’t just fire up your inbox, type a message and hit “send” — electronic correspondence is part of a government-run service that makes clear that your messages “are accessible for review and/or download.”
This lack of privacy has long been a sticking point for attorneys representing incarcerated clients, especially since 2011, when federal prosecutors used a former Pennsylvania state senator’s “explosive” prison emails with his lawyers to obtain a lengthier sentence.
Representatives for the U.S. Department of Justice and Bureau of Prisons have repeatedly said they consider all emails to be fair game for review and potential use at trial, and judges have repeatedly agreed, on the basis that users of the government email systems consent to monitoring when they sign up.
But last week, a bipartisan bill in the U.S. House of Representatives proposed to protect attorney-client emails from being monitored at all, let alone used in cases. “Email is the most efficient way for an attorney to communicate with an incarcerated client and should enjoy the same protection as telephone calls and other forms of private communication,” said Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., a congressman who introduced similar legislation in the past, to no avail.
The latest bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., would require the BOP to “exclude from monitoring” the emails sent between attorneys and clients. Called the Effective Assistance of Counsel in the Digital Era Act, it has support from the American Bar Association, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and numerous other proponents of justice reform. ABA President Judy Perry Martinez personally applauded the proposal in a letter to Collins and Jeffries.
“While traditional letter mail, unmonitored telephone calls, and in-person meetings between attorneys and their clients incarcerated in Bureau of Prisons facilities are already protected communications, your bill would expand that protection to also cover any electronic communications between them,” she noted.
The DOJ did not respond to requests for comment on the measure, but Jumana Musa, Director of the NACDL’s Fourth Amendment Center, told Law360 it would drastically increase access to counsel for people in prison. Other communication methods, she noted, have major shortcomings. Written mail comes with one- to two-week lag periods, and in-person meetings can be logistically and financially infeasible.
Visiting federal facilities requires attorneys to spend hours traveling and hours more waiting on a client to come down from the cells. All that time is billable to either the defendant or, in cases involving public defenders, American taxpayers.
Lawyers and their incarcerated clients can alternatively set up unmonitored phone calls to discuss privileged information. But Musa said scheduling such calls can be arduous in its own right — inmates must write letters to wardens, wardens must agree, schedules must line up, and in the end, calls are typically capped at 15 minutes.
Noting that, in the 21st century, most attorneys use emails to confer with clients, she said the bill “is really about making justice accessible to people.”
“It’s common sense, a bedrock principle of American law: when your attorney communicates with you, that’s supposed to be privileged,” Musa added.
The U.S. government disagrees: In June 2014, a letter from an assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York put the Federal Defenders of New York on notice that “emails between inmates and their attorneys … are not privileged, and thus the office intends to review all emails.” The announcement set off alarm bells in the defenders’ office, where many attorneys had assumed their emails were screened out of government monitoring. Within weeks, an attorney representing a doctor on charges related to Medicare fraud filed a letter of objection with a New York federal judge, but the government countered there was no way around the monitoring.
“Because of the technology that the BOP has and because of the way the emails are provided to the government, the possibility exists…, that the individual prosecutors, as they read through the scroll of emails, may see attorney-client emails,” said F. Turner Buford, the federal prosecutor in the case.
Between June 2014 and October 2017, however, the government’s technological capability apparently changed. In a letter to the Federal Defenders of New York, then-acting U.S. Attorney Bridget Rohde noted “BOP now has the technical capability to filter out of its production of BOP email communications emails to and from a particular email address.”
“The government now agrees to request that the BOP exclude from most productions communications between a defendant and his or her attorneys and other legal assistants and paralegals on their staff,” Rohde wrote.
That letter spurred the NACDL to submit Freedom of Information Act requests, seeking to determine how many other U.S. Attorney Offices were proactively filtering out attorney emails — and how many weren’t. After those requests went unanswered, the organization filed a FOIA lawsuit in October 2018. According to Megan Graham, an attorney representing NACDL, litigation has since led to scores of disclosures, but it’s still hard to tell how often the government is reading through attorney client emails sent on its servers.
Graham, who works as the clinical supervising attorney in the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic at University of California Berkeley, School of Law, added that the newly proposed legislation would erase any uncertainty about emailing incarcerated clients.
“It doesn’t just bar the prosecutor from reading those emails,” she said. “It says emails between attorneys and clients are privileged and the government can’t monitor these — both prosecutors and the BOP and any other government entity that might seek the inmates’ emails.”
New Mexico jail bans on-site visits, offers video chats – Another move in the WRONG direction! – kra
You should know 1,2,3,4!
- All studies show that inmates with personal contact with loved ones are far less likely to re-offend.
- This is another financial squeeze on some of America’s poorest: families of inmates.
- This obviously is a load of typical BULLSHIT from prison officials: “It comes down to technology and convenience for family members,” … If that were true, it would be optional, not a requirement!
- Many prisons have ended personal visits, saying it would reduce the contraband being smuggled in. This is one of the biggest lies most often told by D O C officials, as everyone who knows what REALLY goes on knows that the guards bring in most of the drugs and cellphones being snuck in!
Excerpts from the Article:
A northwestern New Mexico jail is no longer allowing family and friends to speak to detainees on site and will now offer only off-site phone or online video chats. The San Juan County Adult Detention Center announced this month all visits must be done over the phone or through the approved online video chat app called Getting Out, the Farmington Daily Times reports.
San Juan County said the change is a positive step that will reduce the travel burden families face while visiting inmates. “It comes down to technology and convenience for family members,” said county spokesman Devin Neeley.Neeley told The Associated Press before visitors were allowed to come to the jail and speak to an inmate through video at the facility. This change allows visitors to speak to inmates through an app without leaving home, Neeley said.
He said the jail hasn’t allowed in-person sites since 2005. The change will also increase security by decreasing the number of people going in and out of the detention center each day, Neeley said. He said that will allow the detention center to reassign officers to other parts of the facility. This will also save taxpayers money, according to Neeley.
But the Massachusetts-based nonprofit Prison Policy Initiative says not allowing in-person visits can have negative impacts on inmates as well as safety at the jails and prisons. “The feeling of being physically close to your loved one can’t be replaced by fancy technology,” said Wanda Bertram, a communications strategist for Prison Policy Initiative, in an email to The Daily Times. “But even if it could, this technology is far from fancy. This isn’t Skype; it’s shoddy technology that is glitchy, grainy, doesn’t allow you to look the other person in the eyes, and can break and go down for weeks.” Bertram said family visits are often the only source of hope for people in jail. “When you take that away, it can seriously hurt people psychologically, and that puts everyone in the jail at risk,” Bertram said
Hundreds of jails and prisons across the United States have moved away from in-person visits in favor of video visitation, the Prison Policy Initiative said.
Prison Policy Initiative teamed up with a group called Face to Face Knox to study the impacts ending in-person visitation had at the Knox County Jail in Knoxville, Tennessee. Knox County ended in-person visitation in 2014. The Face to Face Knox report was released in January 2018. The Face to Face Knox study found that ending in-person visitation did not lead to a substantial drop in the amount of contraband entering the jail, and that ending in-person visits made the jail more dangerous by increasing the number of assaults on other inmates or staff.
According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, people using the video visitation software complained that calls would fail halfway through the visit, and sometimes they couldn’t even get it to connect. Neeley said each detainee at the San Juan County Detention Center will have a free 15-minute video visit each week. Additional visits or time will be charged 25 cents per minute.
Neeley said the county is aware that the phone or online visitation may not work for everyone. He said the court can notify the detention center and, when necessary, it will make allowances for visits.