Who’s really bringing contraband into jails? Our 2018 survey confirms it’s staff, not visitors – When jails cut family visits in the name of security, advocates should demand evidence.
I have said in numerous articles over six years now, that it is staff, not visitors! Indeed, much of what prisons claim to do in the name of security is utter bullshit! Like throwing inmates who dare speak out about prison abuse and abominable medical neglect into isolation cells.
They claim “security” because judges will not interfere when they say that, saying that prison personnel (not judges) are the best ones to conduct the orderly administration of our prisons. This is a HUGE mistake because prison personnel are not interested in that; their main interest is covering up their own crimes! READ Culture of Cover Up
Side effects of such lies, and new policies like video visits, are all harmful to America. ALL studies show that inmates receiving real visits are less likely to commit crimes when released; that is just one example of dozens.
Excerpts from the Article:
Sheriffs are increasingly welcoming video calling technology into their jails, with more than 500 local jails now contracting with video calling providers like GTL and Securus. Usually, sheriffs simultaneously do away with in-person visits, despite studies showing that they are crucial for maintaining family bonds.
To ward off claims that this is just a money-grubbing scheme, sheriffs invoke the argument that doing away with face-to-face visits “increase[s] the safety and security of our facilities,” presumably by stopping contraband brought in by jail visitors.
This argument is demonstrably false, and yet jail administrators repeat it at every possible opportunity. Sheriffs raise the specter of visitors loaded down with drugs, somehow passing them through physical searches and through body scanners and through glass partitions, with the only solution being a move to remote technology. For one thing, this scenario is implausible, given that in-person jail visitors are virtually always separated from their loved ones by a glass window. But more importantly, by blaming contraband on in-person visitors, sheriffs distract from a far more likely source: jail staff.
I reviewed news stories of arrests made in 2018 of individuals caught bringing contraband into jails and prisons. What I found wouldn’t surprise any person in jail, but it’s a truth that sheriffs prefer to avoid: Almost all contraband introduced to any local jail comes through staff. This year alone, 20 jail staff members in 12 separate county jails were arrested, indicted, or convicted on charges of bringing in or planning to bring in contraband.
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?
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.
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.
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:
My good friend and great lawyer, Steve Hampton, Esq., sent me this article. Steve specializes in suing DOC personnel and their “health care” contractors for gross mistreatment, abuse, and neglect of inmates. If you have a loved one being abused in prison, you can reach him at:
Grady and Hampton LLC
6 North Bradford Street
Dover, DE 19904
The compelling art exhibit discussed in this article from Newsweek, no doubt will open some people’s eyes to some of the problems facing our prisons. See related articles here to see that racism is rampant in our criminal justice system. We need only to look to Norway and other Scandinavian countries to see that the humanitarian treatment of prisoners reduces costs, reduces crime, and actually works to keep us safer!
Excerpts from the Article:
With roughly 2.3 million incarcerated people (a 500 percent increase over the past 40 years), the U.S. now leads the world in prison population—and African-Americans and Hispanics make up 56 percent of those behind bars. That disturbing reality inspired The Writing on the Wall, a collaboration between artist Hank Willis Thomas and Baz Dreisinger.
Dreisinger, an author who also teaches writing in prisons around the world, collected essays, poems, letters, stories, diagrams and notes to create the installation with Thomas, a conceptual artist and co-founder of the 50-state art collaboration project For Freedoms. The words of the incarcerated—handwritten and typed—are a moving testament to the often ignored humanity of those in prison.
The installation, which debuted at the Frost Art Museum at Florida International University in Miami in August, runs through December 9 and will be part of the international fair Art Basel Miami Beach, beginning December 6.
The two responded to Newsweek ’s questions about the need for systemic change within the justice system.
How does mass incarceration illustrate racism in America?
As Ava DuVernay masterfully laid out in her film 13th, there is a direct line from slavery to the new Jim Crow system, in which formerly incarcerated people—overwhelmingly black and brown—face the same ills that African-Americans faced under segregation, including second-class citizenship and disenfranchisement. It’s impossible to talk about mass incarceration in America (and in many other countries) without talking about racism.
The installation was part of the For Freedoms 50 State Initiative, the largest creative collaboration in American history, which was timed to highlight critical political issues ahead of the midterm elections. The Frost Art Museum’s Amy Galpin saw the necessity of presenting this exhibition during the lead-up to the Voting Rights Restoration for Felons Initiative (Florida Amendment 4), which was approved on November 6. If even one person who saw our installation was prompted to vote in favor of voting rights for felons, we believe our project was a success.
What, realistically, can people do to help change the system?
What’s clear is that it’s not working for either the person committing the harm or the people being harmed. People living behind bars are people and should be treated as such. Consideration and education are simple tools that we can offer the imprisoned that will help them upon release. It is also important that we hire formerly incarcerated people and that we not use stigmatizing language like inmate or ex-con and correct others when they use it. Donate time and money to organizations doing the work all over the U.S.
Who are the thought leaders, beyond Bryan Stevenson and his Equal Justice Initiative, who are addressing the crisis of mass incarceration?
Our project is inspired by the realization that the greatest thought leaders on this issue are behind bars. But there are grass-roots organizations doing the work locally and nationally— advocacy organizations fueled by directly impacted individuals, like Just Leadership USA, Impact Justice and Common Justice, as well as educational programs like the Prison-to-College Pipeline and the ACLU’s 50-State Blueprint.
This could be of tremendous importance, given the number of seizures by police in recent years. Did you know that in 2014 the police “stole”* more cash and property than was taken in all reported burglaries combined!?
The bottom line for the whole system is that courts and the law should be FAIR. Now it seems the Court will add the “Excessive Fines” to the Due Process clause of the Constitution to (there’s more than one way to …) “skin the cat” = remedy bad laws!
*The way these forfeiture laws are enforced, it has been “legalized theft”!
Excerpts from the Article:
The Supreme Court left little doubt Wednesday that it would rule that the Constitution’s ban on excessive fines applies to the states, an outcome that could help an Indiana man recover the $40,000 Land Rover police seized when they arrested him for selling about $400 worth of heroin.
A decision in favor of 37-year-old Tyson Timbs, of Marion, Indiana, also could buttress efforts to limit the confiscation by local law enforcement of property belonging to someone suspected of a crime. Police and prosecutors often keep the proceeds.
Timbs was on hand at the high court for arguments that were largely a one-sided affair in which the main question appeared to be how broadly the state would lose. The court has formally held that most of the Bill of Rights applies to states as well as the federal government, but it has not done so on the Eighth Amendment’s excessive-fines ban.
Justice Neil Gorsuch was incredulous that Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fisher was urging the justices to rule that states should not be held to the same standard. “Here we are in 2018 still litigating incorporation of the Bill of Rights. Really? Come on, general,” Gorsuch said to Fisher, using the term for holding that constitutional provisions apply to the states.
Justice Stephen Breyer said under Fisher’s reading police could take the car of a driver caught going 5 mph (8 kph) above the speed limit. “Anyone who speeds has to forfeit the Bugatti, Mercedes or special Ferrari, or even jalopy,” Breyer said. Fisher agreed.
It was unclear whether the justices also would rule to give Timbs his Land Rover back or allow Indiana courts to decide that issue. Some justices seemed willing to take that additional step.
“If we look at these forfeitures that are occurring today … many of them are grossly disproportionate to the crimes being charged,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor said.
But Chief Justice John Roberts said the question of whether what happened to Timbs was excessive might be a closer call. Timbs drove his car to the place where he twice sold small amounts of heroin to undercover officers, and he carried the drugs in the car, Roberts said. Police have long been allowed to seize property in such situations. “You will lose assets you used in the crime,” Roberts said. “You can see how that makes a lot of sense.”
Lawyer Wesley Hottot, representing Timbs, told the justices that in rural areas people drive places. He said the use of the Land Rover was incidental to the sale of the drugs.
The case has drawn interest from liberal groups concerned about police abuses and conservative organizations opposed to excessive regulation.
Timbs said his own view of the case has changed over time.
“At first it was about getting my truck back because I was mad, and I wanted my stuff back. Now it’s a lot different,” he said. “I was curious to see how often they did this to people. They do it a lot around here, and apparently it’s done all over the country.”
Timbs’ criminal sentence included no prison time, a year of house arrest and five years on probation.
In earlier cases applying parts of the Bill of Rights to the states, the court used the due process clause of the 14th Amendment, passed after the Civil War to ensure the rights of newly freed slaves. The court also has relied on that clause — “no state shall deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law” — in cases that established a woman’s right to an abortion and knocked down state laws against interracial marriage and gay sex.
The story of how Timbs ended up in the Supreme Court began with steel-toed boots he bought for work in a truck factory. The boots hurt his feet, but he couldn’t immediately afford the insoles he was told to buy. A doctor wrote a prescription for hydrocodone. Before long, Timbs was hooked on heroin. He tried several times to get clean but said he wasn’t ready. A more than $70,000 life insurance payout he received after his father’s death seemed a blessing, but it wasn’t, he said.
“A drug addict shouldn’t have a whole lot of money,” said Timbs, who used some of the money to buy the Land Rover.
A decision in Tyson Timbs and a 2012 Land Rover LR2 v. Indiana, 17-1091, is expected by June.