As a former prosecutor myself, I say LOCK THESE ASSHOLES UP!
Listen to the audio and hear them say that they do not care about guilt or innocence, only about getting convictions!
Where are the feds? The U S Attorney for this district, who should investigate and then PROSECUTE these maniacs?!
WHAT A MURDEROUS, DANGEROUS IDIOT! tRump Ordered Crucial Medical Supplies Not be Sent to States Whose Governors Criticized Him!
He thinks everything, even a natural disaster, is political, tRump is dangerously deranged!
That fool in our White House actually tried to stop shipment of life saving medical supplies to Wyoming and to Michigan because the governors of those states had criticized his response to the crisis! He soon reversed himself on that, after the story broke.
FOLKS, if you don’t vote him out you DO need a good shrink!
You think this idiot can effect any meaningful criminal justice reform?! No way.
As one of our LinkedIn friends said: “The people of all states deserve better than this selfish, ruthless and immoral conduct by Mr. Trump.
I hope they will remember this in November”.
READ https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/03/27/coronavirus-michigan-gov-says-supply-orders-are-being-cancelled/ = Coronavirus: Michigan gov. says supply orders are being cancelled
President Trump publicly criticized Gov. Whitmer in a phone call Thursday with Fox New
https://www.propublica.org/article/heres-why-florida-got-all-the-emergency-medical-supplies-it-requested-while-other-states-did-not = Here’s Why Florida Got All the Emergency Medical Supplies It Requested While Other States Did Not
The Department of Health and Human Services has come under fire as several states’ requests for supplies from the emergency medical stockpile go unfulfilled. A chaotic distribution plan is buckling under a big problem: Nobody has enough.
This is One Way Alcohol Kills People
Letter to the Editor – Alcohol is an “essential business”?- 3/28/20
With virtually all businesses shut down, in Delaware and in some other states liquor stores remain open! Governor Carney, when asked about this, said that he had been advised that closing them might flood health care providers – at a time when all are needed to fight coronavirus – with problems due to those calling with withdrawal symptoms.
Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can vary widely in severity. Symptoms may occur from two hours to four days after stopping alcohol, and they may include headaches, nausea, tremors, anxiety, hallucinations, and seizures. Although in severe cases, the condition can be life-threatening, in most cases the symptoms do not require medical attention.
Having a healthy skepticism of statements from politicians, I wonder whether liquor stores remaining open is linked to the fact that the alcohol industry spends tens of millions of dollars lobbying federal lawmakers and agencies each year. I cannot ascertain how much they spend in Delaware nor in any other state how much they spend lobbying state officials and donating to their campaigns, but you can bet it is a bunch!
Alcohol is, by far, the most harmful and most costly drug, harming individuals and society alike. Perhaps some good investigative reporting can examine whether it is more likely that liquor stores remain open because the main concern of too many politicians is their re-election!
Ken Abraham, former Deputy Attorney General, founder of Citizens for Criminal JUSTICE, Dover, DE 302-423-4067
Folks, I went to look for this story to respond to a question from someone, and could not find it! Computer organization is not my strong point: I AM computer “challenged”.
So I relate it here, with a title that will let me find it in the future.
Here it is … At Kenyon College, in my last semester of senior year the question on the final exam in one of my philosophy classes was: “What is Justice?”
I wrote the usual shit, what Aristotle, Plato, Socrates and others had to say about it. And then, as I sat there, after writing for about 40 minutes, I thought “What the hell, I already have been admitted to law school. The grade in this course is totally inconsequential – so I can get an F! Let’s have some fun.” So I crumbled up what I had written, got out a clean sheet of paper, and wrote: “This is my three word answer to your three word question: I don’t know.” And I turned that in when the bell rang.
Now, the professor did give me an odd look; he had seen me crumble up my paper – he couldn’t miss it, for there were only about 10 or 12 of us in the class, like most classes at Kenyon. But he said nothing when I turned in my answer. Now – Professor Shavzin was his name – this guy was a weirdo! All he did was think! He was one smart dude, for sure, but an odd duck – what we call today a “Geek”. I wondered whether he ever ate, for all he did was read, think, and teach!
Well, about a week later he announced: the person with the highest grade on the final exam is Kenneth Abraham. I about fell out of my chair. And he said “please see me after class, Mr. Abraham”. He had given me an A-. Those were the days before “grade inflation”, and an A- at Kenyon was unheard of! Nobody ever got an A. If you got a B+ in any course, you were “king of the hill”!
After class he pulled me aside and he said; You know, I had a hard time grading your paper; it took me quite some time to decide whether to give you an F or to give you an A-. I decided to give you an A-, for courage. Courage is important in this life.”
That’s the story. And he was right: courage is important. As I look back on my life, I realize that I fear nothing. Nothing. Never did. Odd, but that’s just me. It led me to take some stupid risks, but I survived.
Here is the “moral of the story” – occasionally take a calculated chance. Also, today I DO know the answer to that three word question. The answer is: “Justice is being FAIR”!
‘Disaster waiting to happen’: Thousands of inmates released as jails and prisons face coronavirus threat- Not enough! – kra
Having SEEN the abominable health care in prisons, their sloppy operations, and now getting emails and calls about the same every day, I can safely say that THOUSANDS of inmates will die needlessly. They should release all non violent offenders, and I see other solutions, but they will implement none of them.
As I have said so many times: for every 1 person arrested, 29 make money. That is why powerful groups [police unions, guard unions, prosecutors, and many others] spend billions of dollars lobbying to BLOCK needed solutions and reforms. For them, it’s job preservation.
You see, D O C staff and the “health care” providers do nothing right, so tests will not be done properly, areas will not be sanitized, and social distancing will not be maintained, as surely as I sit here! 🙁
Open “The Whole Story” to see where you can click to get updates on this issue!
Excerpts from the Article:
Amid fears that the coronavirus will carve a deadly path through prisons and jails, counties and states are releasing thousands of inmates — New Jersey alone began freeing hundreds of people this week — and the federal prison system is coming under intense pressure to take similar measures.
Public health and corrections officials have issued dire warnings that cramped and unsanitary conditions could turn prisons into a haven for the virus, endangering not just inmates but also corrections officers and prison health-care workers as well as their families and communities.
Criminal-justice reform advocates from across the political spectrum urged President Trump on Tuesday to use his clemency power to commute the sentences of inmates eligible for “compassionate release” and others who could be at risk, particularly the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions. “This is a real disaster waiting to happen,” David Patton, the executive director of he nonprofit Federal Defenders of New York, said Sunday, the day after the first federal inmate tested positive at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. “These are places that are particularly susceptible to contagion.”
Inside a county jail in Alabama on Friday, two inmates threatened to commit suicide if newly arrived Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees they feared had been exposed to the virus were not removed. According to video live-streamed on an inmate’s Facebook page, the two detainees stood on a ledge over a common area, nooses fashioned from sheets wrapped around their necks, and threatened to jump. “We’re not having no more people come in here with that symptom,” another inmate says in the video, which was obtained by The Washington Post. “We’re not trying to put no more lives at risk.”
The three new detainees had described being brought to the facility in the same van as an individual who was visibly ill and wearing a mask, inmates said in interviews with The Post. An ICE spokesman, Bryan Cox, said none of the three had flu-like symptoms, but he did not know whether they had been tested for the virus.
The hours-long standoff ended when guards moved the new arrivals to a different unit of the jail, the Etowah County Detention Center in northern Alabama, inmates said.
About 2.3 million people are incarcerated in local jails and state and federal prisons, according to the Prison Policy Initiative, an organization that opposes mass incarceration. Among them is Anh Do, 78, a former doctor who said he has coronary artery disease, hypertension and diabetes. Do, a Houston resident, was convicted in 2018 on Medicare fraud charges. In January, the Bureau of Prisons denied his request for compassionate release, which allows for home confinement of prisoners who are gravely ill.
“We are living three feet apart, in bunk beds, like a dormitory,” Do said in a telephone interview from a low-security federal prison in Seagoville, Tex. “I’m at very high risk. If one person gets sick, it’s like a death sentence in here.”
On Monday, 14 senators from both parties sent a letter to the Justice Department, which oversees the federal prison system, asking that it make full use of its power to release elderly, terminally ill and low-risk inmates to home confinement.
“We write to express our serious concern for the health and well being of federal prison staff and inmates in Federal custody, especially those who are most vulnerable to infection, and to urge you to take necessary steps to protect them,” the lawmakers — including Sens. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) — wrote to U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr and Bureau of Prisons Director Michael Carvajal.
Advocates for criminal justice reform have been pressing the Justice Department to release more elderly and terminally ill inmates early since late 2018, when President Trump signed a law that expanded eligibility for home confinement.
The Justice Department has resisted those appeals. As recently as December, the department warned that prisoners who had committed serious crimes could be released if Congress passed a bill meant to expand the number of elderly prisoners eligible for release to home confinement.
But the immediate threat posed by the coronavirus has brought new urgency to the calls for releases.
In a news conference on Sunday, Trump said that he is considering an executive order that would free elderly nonviolent offenders from federal prison. “We have been asked about that and we’re going to take a look at it,” Trump said. “It’s a — it’s a bit of a problem. But when we talk about totally nonviolent — we’re talking about these are ‘totally nonviolent prisoners.’ We are actually looking at that, yes.”
The Justice Department in recent weeks asked Congress for discretion to release low-risk offenders to home confinement even if they don’t meet current eligibility rules, which allow inmates to spend the last 10 percent or six months of their sentence at home.
The department also asked Congress to prioritize the ordering of test kits and personal protective equipment for Bureau of Prisons employees — suggesting it is girding for a possible outbreak behind prison walls.
At the same time, the Justice Department is contemplating a scenario in which some inmates may actually remain in custody longer than they otherwise would while trials or other hearings are delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to proposals it submitted to Congress.
The bureau’s covid-19 plan, posted to its website, includes suspending social visits, limiting inmate transfers and screening newly arrived inmates for exposure risk factors and symptoms. In a letter Friday to prison leadership, a union representing correctional officers protested the continued transfer of inmates from county jails and state prisons into the federal system, saying it “poses a great risk” and that many inmates are from “hot spot” areas and could be contagious.
County and state facilities across the country are already racing to remove people from jails and prisons.
In Ohio, Cuyahoga County officials launched an early-release program two weeks ago after the county jail’s medical director identified hundreds of county prisoners with serious health conditions. The result: In a matter of days, the county jail population dropped from nearly 1,900 to less than 1,300. “We really compacted the time frame,” said Cuyahoga County Presiding Judge Brendan J. Sheehan. In the San Francisco Bay area, Alameda County officials last week released 314 people from the local jail. In Washington County, Oregon, outside Portland, more than 120 inmates were released from the local jail, freeing up enough space for each remaining inmate to stay in their own cell.
In Racine, Wis., Sheriff Christopher Schmaling has directed the local jail to stop accepting all new prisoners except those accused of violent felonies or of misdemeanor crimes, such as domestic violence, that pose a threat to public safety.
In Iowa, the state corrections department said it will begin this week to release about 700 inmates who were already deemed eligible for release by the Iowa Board of Parole.
And in Mercer County, in far western Pennsylvania, the county jail released 60 of 308 inmates — nearly one in five — to free up two cell blocks for the quarantine of anyone exposed or infected with the coronavirus.
“We’re not putting low-level punks in jail at the moment,” said Peter C. Acker, the district attorney.
Regardless, many advocates, defense lawyers and health and some corrections officials fear that inmates and prison workers across the country will die because releases have been too few and too late.
“A storm is coming,” Ross MacDonald, the chief medical officer for New York’s Correctional Health Services, which includes the notorious jail at Rikers Island, wrote on Twitter last week. “We have told you who is at risk. Please let as many out as you possibly can.”
Last Wednesday, one inmate and one corrections officer in the city jail system tested positive; by Saturday, that number had risen to 21 inmates and 17 employees, according to the city’s board of correction, warning that number was “certain to rise exponentially.” Dozens of others were being monitored for the disease, the board, an independent oversight body, said in a letter to city officials.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced last week that the city planned to release 40 vulnerable inmates, a number the board said was “far from sufficient.” On Tuesday night, de Blasio tweeted that he is moving to release 300 inmates immediately. Many inmates in the city’s jails are awaiting trial. As of Saturday, more than 900 of the jail system’s inmates were over 50 years old, according to board figures. Of those, nearly 200 were in for technical parole violations. More than 500 people were serving sentences of less than a year for low-level offenses.
“Responding to this epidemic, we should be aggressive in our efforts to make the jail smaller because that’s going to be safer for everyone,” Robert L. Cohen, a member of the Board, said in an interview.
The Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association, the union for officers at Rikers, opposes the early release of prisoners but agrees that the jail is at serious risk of a disaster, according to spokesman Michael Skelly. The union is asking for more hand sanitizer, gloves and specialized face masks to protect officers from infection.
“The second-biggest jail system in the country is really at the precipice of a catastrophic event,” Skelly said.
According to criminal justice advocates, early-release programs have long faced resistance from the Justice Department. The federal Bureau of Prisons houses 187,000 inmates ranging from nonviolent drug offenders to white-collar criminals such as Bernie Madoff.
In 2018, the bipartisan First Step Act expanded the number of people who could qualify for early release into home confinement through the Elderly Home Detention Pilot. The law lowered the age of eligibility for the program from 65 to 60. It also increased the portion of a sentence that can be served at home from one-quarter to one-third.
The House passed legislation in December that would require the Justice Department to also use “good conduct time” in making that calculation, which would lead to earlier releases. As the Senate prepared to act, a Justice Department memo warned lawmakers that the measure would allow people who had committed serious crimes — including drug trafficking and fraud — to get out of prison too early. The bill remains stalled.
A politically diverse group of organizations that has been pushing for the House bill is now redoubling its call for early releases, arguing that it is a matter of public health as the virus bears down.
“This is life and death now. It is not about criminal-justice policy and whether you believe in second chances,” said Holly Harris of the Justice Action Network, an organization that advocates for criminal justice reform.
As of Saturday morning, the federal prison system reported that no inmates or staff members had tested positive for the virus. On Tuesday, the bureau said three inmates and three staff members had tested positive.
The Criminal Justice System is so Fucked Up that You Cannot Predict Anything! – short essay by kra – 3/24/20
I am not trying to impress you [when younger, I wanted to impress people; today I don’t give a shit what anyone says or thinks about me, I just tell it like it is!], but I have had over 700 trials and lost only two… by being prepared!
From ’73 to “83, when I was a full time “hot shot trial lawyer”, I knew well before trial, each time I stepped into the courtroom, that I was going to “kick ass”. Now, I never said to a client “we’ve got this one”, because it ain’t over ’till it’s over. But I had my client prepared.
My client almost always testified. If they had to take the 5th Amendment, I hammered this into the jury more than once in closing argument: “Now, folks, Mr. (or Ms.) X invoked the 5th Amendment a few times. The judge will instruct you to not conclude anything from that. Folks, when someone does that, it does not mean that they are trying to hide something from you. THE RULES OF EVIDENCE ARE DESIGNED TO GET TO THE TRUTH, and they do a very good job of doing that. In every criminal case, the burden of proof is on the State, to convince you folks, beyond any reasonable doubt, of the accused’s guilt. And that is how it should be, with all of the State’s power and resources, before anyone is convicted of a crime”! If the State had 2 prosecutors on the case against me, as they often did, I pointed that out: “Look, the State has two lawyers here, they have the state police, endless money … but YOU stand between them and a grave injustice: convicting an innocent person.” Look the jurors in the eye, and tell them shit like that!
But I knew the law, I knew the rules of evidence, I knew the facts, and my closing argument would be most persuasive! 🙂
But those were the days when the system worked well. Jurors had time to do the right thing. Today, due mostly to our “war on drugs”, one cannot predict anything. I have seen recent trials; the judge … nobody … takes time to do things right. The courts are so overloaded -here in Delaware the caseload for judges is three times the number recommended. It’s crazy, and the result is that the system is a train wreck. Civil courts, including Family Court, are no less discombobulated.
It is so fucked up … judges are so stupid, lazy, and or sloppy, that one cannot predict anything!
READ http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/how-the-war-on-drugs-has-destroyed-justice/ = I remember when the system worked well; justice nearly always was the result. Today it is a total train wreck – perhaps the most vivid manifestation is that we are imprisoning hundreds of innocent people every year. This is WHY it is a train wreck!
Texas: man dies by apparent suicide at Ice family detention center Death comes Ice faces calls to reduce detainee population and unauthorized arrests of migrants amid coronavirus outbreak
This reminds us that this shit goes on and on and on in our tRump inspired “detention centers”, the worst prisons in America.
http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/prosecution-imprisonment-will-stop-prison-abuse-demand-avoid-deaths-prison-guards/ = How to avoid the deaths of prison guards and inmates … or do you want to join the countless officials who refuse to acknowledge this huge problem called prison abuse?
And you should remember that most people being detained are guilty of nothing more than seeking opportunity in America! READ Letter to the Editor or Op Ed Submission – The “Illegal” Immigrants – 6/19/19 – PUBLISHED! Updated. = http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/letter-to-the-editor-or-op-ed-submission-the-illegal-immigrants-6-19-19/
Excerpts from the Article:
A man died by apparent suicide at a US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) family detention center, according to a legal group that was representing him. The group, Raices, did not identify the man, and Ice did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
But in a statement late on Wednesday, Raices said it was representing the man while he was detained at the Karnes county residential center in south Texas, around 160 miles from the US-Mexico border, between Laredo and San Antonio.
His death on Wednesday was the ninth to occur in Ice custody since the start of the governmental fiscal year in October, exceeding the eight deaths that occurred in the prior year.
It comes as advocates have called on Ice to reduce its detainee population and its operations to arrest migrants in the US without authorization amid the coronavirus outbreak. Ice said on Wednesday that it would scale back enforcement to focus on detaining “public safety risks and individuals subject to mandatory detention based on criminal grounds”.
“We anticipate that this won’t be the last death at Karnes unless Ice immediately releases all those detained at this detention center and in custody around the country,” Lucia Allain, a spokeswoman for Raices, said in a statement.
And she added, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the US: “A dirty and cramped detention center in the face of a pandemic is unsafe and inhumane.”
In sworn legal declarations the group released on Tuesday, two migrants reported getting sick from the drinking water they are provided at Karnes, which had 680 people in detention last week. Another migrant said detainees are denied access to hand sanitizer. They are instead told to use body wash used in the showers to clean their hands at all times.
Already, illnesses spread quickly in Karnes and other detention centers, said Andrea Meza, the director of family detention services for Raices.
“When you’re there, all the kids are coughing,” she said. “Everybody has a runny nose and a sore throat and diarrhea.”
17 Employees, 21 Inmates Test Positive For Coronavirus In NYC Jails In addition to the 38 people who tested positive for COVID-19, 58 more are being monitored in contagious disease units.
Coronavirus will spread like mad in a prison because they don’t do anything right! You think I am kidding; just watch! And they lie about the numbers, like they lie about everything!
If you have a friend or loved one in jail or prison, you’d better start praying!
Excerpts from the Article:
In a letter to criminal justice leaders, Board of Correction interim chairwoman Jacqueline Sherman wrote that at least 58 other people were currently being monitored in contagious disease and quarantine units. “It is likely these people have been in hundreds of housing areas and common areas over recent weeks and have been in close contact with many other people in custody and staff,” Sherman warned, predicting a sharp rise in the number of infections.
“The best path forward to protecting the community of people housed and working in the jails is to rapidly decrease the number of people housed and working in them.”
In the past six days, she wrote, the board learned that at least 12 Department of Correction employees, five Correctional Health Services employees, and 21 inmates have tested positive for the virus.
The city’s jail agency and its city-run healthcare provider did not respond to messages seeking comment on the letter. On Friday, the city’s Department of Corrections said just one inmate had been diagnosed with coronavirus, along with seven jail staff members.
Late Saturday, the department acknowledged 19 inmates had tested positive — two fewer than in the board’s letter — and 12 staff members. The city-run agency that provides inmate health care did not respond to messages seeking comment on the board’s assertion that some of its employees were also infected.
New York has consistently downplayed the number of infections, The Associated Press has found in conversations with current and former inmates.
More than 2.2 million people are incarcerated in the United States — more than anywhere in the world — and there are growing fears that an outbreak could spread rapidly through a vast network of federal and state prisons, county jails and detention centers.
It’s a tightly packed, fluid population that is already grappling with high rates of health problems and, when it comes to the elderly and the infirm, elevated risks of serious complications. With limited capacity nationally to test for COVID-19, men and women inside worry that they are last in line when showing flu-like symptoms, meaning that some may be infected without knowing it.
The first positive tests from inside prisons and jails started tricking out just over a week ago, with less than two dozen officers and staff infected in other facilities from California and Michigan to Pennsylvania.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and even death.
The vast majority of people recover from the virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe cases may take three to six weeks to recover.
Our prisons are utterly unprepared for coronavirus! If you have a loved one in prison … PRAY!
Excerpts from the Article:
A few weeks ago, I found myself watching the TV news from here in a Washington state prison, while drinking my morning coffee. This was my normal routine. Apparently, there had been some sort of an outbreak in China that officials were starting to call the coronavirus.
At the time, I didn’t pay much attention. Like most things, I figured it was far away — everything can feel especially far away when you’re in prison — and would hardly have an effect on me or those around me.
In fact, my fellow prisoners and I were essentially joking about how the world was coming to an end. A good friend of mine and I are huge fans of apocalyptic movies and shows, so we started to shoot the breeze about how a zombie virus had taken hold in China and would soon spread across the globe. I remember telling him in jest, “This is it, my friend. We better stock up on food and be ready with a plan of defense.” He laughed. We discussed how we could make body armor out of magazines and where we would steal the tape to do so.
But before long, we learned from TV not only that the virus had spread throughout the world, but also that the state of Washington had become the United States’s ground zero. As each day passed, the numbers continued to get worse. The nursing home where the national news was saying that so many people were infected was less than 20 miles away from us.
Like everyone in the free world, those of us on the inside began to worry about our families, especially our older folks, and their safety in the face of an unknown predator. Even in the best of times, it’s hard to know how our families are doing.
And then we started to wonder about our own safety. What measures were being taken to safeguard us from the spread of the virus within the crowded prison walls? We knew that on the outside, people were buying everything they could to prepare for disaster, especially toilet paper.
Toilet paper scarcity is no stranger to us — having more than two rolls in your room at any given time is an infraction — so we became focused on the things we weren’t prepared for, and just how little we each have in our cells for protection. We don’t have cleaning wipes, alcohol-based hand sanitizer (it’s contraband), or anything else that the CDC is recommending citizens use to prevent spreading the virus. The only cleaning solution we have is a mild “all-purpose cleaner” that is not germicidal and, rumor has it, is safe enough to drink.
As the virus continued to spread in the outside world, I along with many others inside waited for instructions on what we would do to keep the prison prepared for when it came knocking on our door — or rather came knocking on our sally ports, metal bars, and barbed-wire fences.
Prisoners and corrections officers alike inquired about what was being done to disinfect the facility. The unit porters (prisoners who work as janitors) usually can’t use bleach on the common areas. Having a small amount of bleach, even if you’re just using it to clean, will get you in trouble.
Eventually though, I noticed that the porters were given spray bottles filled with diluted bleach to wipe the living areas down. Nevertheless, one cannot expect someone who is paid at most $55 a month for full-time work to do a thorough, painstaking job of cleaning. On one wall, non-alcohol-based sanitizer was taped there without a proper dispenser; it’s just a useless substance sloshing around in a plastic pouch. Even things like cleaning rags can be impossible to find, which is difficult to comprehend, as there are large bins of old scraps in our clothing room. Possessing too many rags is also considered contraband, and could get you an infraction, which could mean losing recreation or getting sent to solitary.
The DOC has sent out messages to prisoners via paper handouts instructing us to keep our hands clean, not to touch our faces, and to clean our cells. But how can we do any of this if the proper cleaning equipment is criminalized?
I was not surprised last week when an employee who works in the living units opposite of mine tested positive for COVID-19. After that, they posted signs down by the phones instructing us to put a sock — yes, like you wear on your foot — over the phone receiver before using it in order to avoid spreading germs. There was no mention of where these socks were meant to come from; we’re only allowed a few socks at any given time or we risk being written up.
The most drastic measure they’ve taken so far is putting the entire side of the prison where the employee worked on “quarantine.” My fellow prisoners on quarantine are functionally on lockdown, which is what happens when there’s something like a fight. They are confined to their windowless cells for almost the entire day.
There is pretty much only one way for quarantined prisoners to communicate with the outside world: JPay, the prison email system. But given that many people cannot afford the $150 it costs for a JPay tablet, there are many who have no way of communicating with their loved ones during lockdown.
Further, even if you have a tablet, many of our outside loved ones who are at most risk for COVID-19, the elderly, may not have access to or know how to use the complicated JPay email system. When I talked on the phone with my 76-year-old grandma, who has a severe heart condition and no internet, she was full of worry. I tried to explain the situation in here and had to tell her that soon, a time may come when I will have no access, or very limited access, to the phones. I’m one of her only sources of emotional support as she awaits her heart surgery.
When I walk through the unit now, I cannot help but linger on the faces of the elderly prisoners, some of them who have been like father figures to us younger men, and think about how they are unlikely to survive this.
I think about my friend Bill. He’s in his eighties, newly in remission from cancer, and has been a mentor to many of us over the years. I’ve watched Bill, who has an MBA, patiently tutor younger men through their math classes as they earn GEDs and other degrees. He has also been a facilitator for the Alternatives to Violence Program—the impact of his kindness surely extends far beyond these prison walls. Bill is one of the many prisoners currently under lockdown. He, and people like him, are in severe danger. I continue to dwell on what would happen if he does contract the virus. How can we protect people like Bill in a place many have referred to as a “tinderbox” for a virus like COVID-19?
My prison may be one of the first to have a known case, but we are not unique. There are 2.3 million people incarcerated in the United States—something has to be done beyond dirty socks on phone receivers.
Everyone in the cell block is speculating about what will happen when one of us shows signs of infection. The consensus among those who’ve been around longest is that guards in hazmat suits will take us to the Hole. I mean, they can’t take us to the infirmary. Prisoners with cancer and suppressed immune systems are there.
But of course, we all know what that means: The prospect of the Hole is likely to preclude people from volunteering to report symptoms.
If you actually think Barr will do the right thing here, he has deceived you again!
Excerpts from the Article:
The Justice Department is creating a special task force to address criminal misconduct by federal Bureau of Prison officers at several correctional facilities after a loaded gun was found at the same jail where wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein killed himself, Attorney General William Barr told The Associated Press. In an interview with the AP, Barr said he was planning to establish the task force that would “have a very aggressive review of potential misconduct by correction officers in certain institutions around the country.”
Those facilities include the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City, where Epstein killed himself last summer and where federal investigators found a loaded gun earlier this month. The gun’s discovery followed a weeklong lockdown that turned up other contraband —including cellphones, narcotics and homemade weapons — and led to a criminal probe by prosecutors in Manhattan into guard misconduct focusing on the flow of contraband into the lockup.
The establishment of the task force comes as the nation’s jails and prisons are on high alert in response to the threat of the coronavirus, stepping up inmate screenings, sanitizing cells and canceling visitation at all 122 federal correctional facilities across the country. Correctional officers and other Bureau of Prisons staff members who work in facilities in areas considered hotspots for the coronavirus or at medical referral centers — which provide advanced care for inmates with chronic or acute medical conditions — are also undergoing enhanced health screenings, including having their temperature taken before they report for duty each day.
The ability to smuggle a gun into the Manhattan jail, which had been billed as one of the most secure in America, marked a massive breach of protocol and raised serious questions about the security practices in place at the Bureau of Prisons, which is responsible for more than 175,000 federal inmates.ber of high-profile inmates, including attorney Michael Avenatti, who gained fame by representing porn actress Stormy Daniels in lawsuits involving President Donald Trump. Federal prosecutors allege that the two correctional officers assigned to watch Epstein’s unit were snoozing and shopping on the internet when he took his own life in his cell in August, and later forged records to make it look like they checked in on him.
Barr named a new director earlier this month to take charge of the Bureau of Prisons, which has been the subject of intense scrutiny since Epstein took his own life while in custody in August. The agency has been plagued for years by serious misconduct, violence and staffing shortages so severe that guards often work overtime day after day or are forced to work mandatory double shifts.
Just this month, an inmate was killed by another prisoner inside a high-security federal prison in Illinois, four Bureau of Prisons officers were indicted for lying about three inmate deaths at a prison in North Carolina in 2019 and the Justice Department’s inspector general found a warden at another facility directed an acting warden not to report misconduct to internal affairs for a week, among other issues.
After Barr swore in Michael Carvajal as the new director of the Bureau of Prisons, the two met privately and Carvajal told him he wanted to “step up, substantially, enforcement efforts against correctional officers or managers who engage in wrongdoing,” the attorney general said.
Barr said with the leadership changes at the Bureau of Prisons, including the appointment of Carvajal and his immediate predecessor Kathleen Hawk-Sawyer, who remains at the agency as a senior adviser, he is “very optimistic we’ll be able to turn things around” at the agency.