A wonderful [and most unusual] development in a world where too many judges don’t give a S@%# whether inmates succeed in reentry!
Excerpts from the Article:
An Oregon federal district court issued a preliminary injunction enjoining prison officials from releasing a disabled prisoner without assistance. Oregon state prisoner Steven Fox was an able-bodied person when he entered prison in 2010. Due to the neglect of prison officials, however, he sustained injuries that severely limited his mobility in July 2015. As a result he now has only limited use of his right leg, is unable to move his right arm and has only 10-15 percent use of his left arm.
Fox cannot move without a wheelchair attendant. In prison, helpers assisted him in moving, transfers and other tasks such as putting on his socks. It took him 15 minutes to get out of bed without assistance. Fox occasionally fell while transferring to and from his wheelchair, and could not get up by himself. He was also unable to obtain or prepare food without help. In short, he was essentially helpless and completely dependent upon others.
Fox had been confined to a community hospital or an Oregon Department of Corrections (ODOC) infirmary since July 2015. At the time of his August 12, 2016 release from prison, he was housed in a prison infirmary.
Dr. Michael Wilson recommended that Fox “have assistance with daily activities such as getting dressed and shopping for groceries.” Just prior to his release, however, prison officials revealed they intended to release him to a local motel with limited assistance, and virtually none after his initial check-in.
Fox moved for a preliminary injunction in a federal civil suit, seeking to enjoin prison officials from releasing him to a motel that was not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and without anyone to assist him with basic daily living activities.
The district court granted the injunction on August 11, 2016, observing that “Dr. Wilson’s opinion, combined with Fox’s declaration, demonstrates Fox requires at least some continued supervision or assistance at this time.”
“The duty to provide adequate medical care does not necessarily terminate once the inmate walks through the prison gate,” the court observed. “Depending on the particular circumstances, a former inmate’s inability to secure medical care ‘on his own behalf’ may extend the state’s duty to provide care beyond the period of confinement,” it added, citing Wakefield v. Thompson, 177 F.3d 1160 (9th Cir. 1999).
The district court agreed that “there is a grave risk of imminent harm and Fox has demonstrated a reasonable likelihood of success on his claim that, absent an injunction, defendants will violate his constitutional rights.”
Although “this sort of affirmative action on a prison is somewhat unusual,” the court ultimately ordered prison officials to assist Fox following his release.
“While requiring ODOC to check in on Fox could in fact save Fox’s life,” the district court found that “it will not be an enormous burden on ODOC.” Therefore, it ordered prison officials “to check in on Fox two times per day” for two weeks. “One contact may be by a phone call to Fox’s motel. One contact must be an in-person check at the hotel,” the order specified. See: Fox v. Peters, U.S.D.C. (D. Ore.), Case No. 6:16-cv-01602-MC; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107100.
Fox’s attorney voluntarily dismissed the case in September 2016, stating, “Because the need for the Temporary Restraining Order … is now moot, there is no need to proceed to judgment on the merits of the claims.” Fox was represented by Portland attorney Lynn S. Walsh.
Kentucky Department of Corrections officer fined $1,000 for having sex with inmate – Pitifully Inadequate! kra
This is just pitiful. At least she lost her job, but she should have been prosecuted for a felony. NO inmate is in a position to “consent” to having sex with a guard. They are completely at the mercy of the guards and under their control.
A state corrections employee was fined $1,000 for having sex with an inmate she supervised. While employed by the state as an officer for the Kentucky Department of Corrections, Jennifer Mitchell had sex with a male inmate, according to a release by the state’s Executive Branch Ethics Commission.
Mitchell, of Shepherdsville, admitted she violated the state’s Executive Branch Code of Ethics by using her official position to reap private benefits. In a settlement with the ethics commission, she agreed to pay a $1,000 civil penalty and never again seek employment with the executive branch.
In January, Mitchell pleaded guilty to second-degree official misconduct, a misdemeanor, in Oldham District Court, the news release notes. A charge of second degree sexual abuse was dismissed, court records show.
Who do you think is paying for all of this? YOU are! The judges, the staffs, the attorneys for the prisons, etc. …YOU are paying for it. And you are paying a more costly price in the anger and resentment of the victims of such abuse and their families. The millions in fines every year will not deter CoreCivic; it is a drop in the bucket compared to their billions in blood stained profits!
Tennessee corrections officials have fined a private prison company $43,750 because of problems it had counting inmates at a jail it operates, according to state documents.The state Department of Correction levied the penalty against CoreCivic in May over breach of contract due to the woes at Trousdale Turner Correctional Center, a medium-security lockup in Hartsville that holds up to 2,552 male inmates, a letter released in a public records request shows.
The letter says the counting problems were noted there in January and persisted into April. They were among 66 non-compliance issues found at the facility in a state audit, four of which were deemed critical. A June follow-up found the issues were addressed. According to state reports, officers weren’t counting correctly; inmates weren’t in the correct cells; and, in most cases, only one worker was counting inmates without another standing watch. The reports also said it was taking too long for officers to count and inmates were allowed to move around during count time.
The sections of the documents about counting are largely redacted to protect critical security procedures, said Department of Correction spokeswoman Alison Randgaard. One section says Trousdale staffers “knew what to do” but “just were not doing it correctly.”
Alex Friedmann, managing editor of the prisoner-rights publication Prison Legal News, said state corrections officials rarely fine private prison companies, so when fines are imposed, it’s usually for very serious or repeated contractual violations. “Count is one of the most important functions that prison officials perform — it verifies the number of inmates and detects escapes,” Friedmann said. “The failure to adequately perform one of the most basic security functions of a correctional facility speaks volumes about CCA’s ability to operate TTCC.”
The facility reached its capacity in September 2016 and housed 2,524 inmates on average in August, state records show
How We Misunderstand Mass Incarceration A new book argues that, in the effort to fix the prison epidemic, we are addressing the wrong things and missing the true problem.
Professor Plaff is WRONG! He counts as “violent crimes” crimes which are not violent at all. You see, most states label many non-violent crimes as “violent”. For example, in Delaware, and most states, entering a building illegally is a “violent” felony! When I wrote to him about 6 months ago, pointed this out and asked whether he had made any effort to know the number of truly violent crimes, he did not respond!
He is correct in his comments about prosecutors and some other observations.
Reformers are famously prey to the fanaticism of reform. A sense of indignation and a good cause lead first to moral urgency, and then soon afterward to repetition, whereby the reformers become captive to their own rhetoric, usually at a cost to their cause. Crusaders against widespread alcoholism (as acute a problem in 1910 as the opioid epidemic is today) advanced to the folly of Prohibition, which created a set of organized-crime institutions whose effects have scarcely just passed. Progressive Era trade unionists, fending off corporate thugs, could steer into thuggish forms of Stalinism. Those with the moral courage to protest the Vietnam War sometimes became blinded to the reality of the North Vietnamese government—and on and on. It seems fair to say that a readiness to amend and reconsider the case being made is exactly what separates a genuine reforming instinct from a merely self-righteous one.
The fight against mass incarceration in the United States is no exception to this rule. In recent years, the horror of what Americans have done to other Americans—and particularly white Americans to black Americans—has led to a steady, engaged anti-prison polemic, one with many authors singing more or less in unison. The numbers make their own case: 6.7 million people, mostly men, were under correctional supervision during the year 2015—more than were enslaved in antebellum America and more than resided in the Gulag Archipelago at the height of Stalin’s misrule.
In a new book, “Locked In” (Basic), John F. Pfaff, a professor of law at Fordham, calls this choired voice (in which this writer has been a participant) “the Standard Story.” The standard story, as he sees it, insists that, first, the root cause of incarceration is the racist persecution of young black men for drug crimes, which overpopulates the prisons with nonviolent offenders. Then mandatory-sentencing laws leave offenders serving long prison sentences for relatively minor crimes. This hugely expanded prison population, one that tracks in reverse the decline of actual crime, has led to a commerce in caged men—private-prison contractors, and a specialized lobby in favor of prison construction, which in turn demands men to feed into the system. (This exploitation is further supported by local communities in which a new prison can replace a closing factory, providing one of the few reliable sources of decent incomes for working-class, mostly white men.)
Pfaff, let there be no doubt, is a reformer. “Mass incarceration,” he writes, “is one of the biggest social problems the United States faces today; our sprawling prison system imposes staggering economic, social, political, and racial costs.” Nonetheless, he believes that the standard story—popularized in particular by Michelle Alexander, in her influential book, “The New Jim Crow”—is false. We are desperately in need of reform, he insists, but we must reform the right things, and address the true problem.
Pfaff takes on the elements of the standard story one by one, mostly concentrating on statistics involving state prisons, where the majority of inmates are housed. (American prisons operate in such a complicated patchwork of federal, state, and local jurisdictions that, as Pfaff points out, it is hard to get a good handle on the numbers.) First, he inspects the claim that it is predominantly nonviolent drug offenders, imprisoned against all moral logic, who populate our prisons. It’s a claim that President Obama endorsed as recently as 2015: “Over the last few decades, we’ve also locked up more and more nonviolent drug offenders than ever before, for longer than ever before, and that is the real reason our prison population is so high.”
In fact, Pfaff argues, drug convictions are a distinctly secondary factor in prison growth. During the great wave of incarceration—generally thought to have begun around 1980, and cresting about three decades later—state prisons added something like a million inmates, with about “half that growth coming from locking up more people convicted of violence,” Pfaff calculates. Nonviolent drug offenses accounted for only around a fifth of the new incarcerations.
What’s more, many of the drug convictions were meant to be what Pfaff calls “pretextual attacks on violence.” Violent crimes that are associated with drug dealing are more difficult to prosecute than drug offenses themselves, which usually involve hard evidence rather than the testimony of witnesses. This argument sets off some suspicious-skeptical alarms, since it seems cousin to the idea that we might as well lock ’em up for drugs as for anything else, since, if we didn’t, “they” would be committing violent offenses anyway. “It is, of course, completely fair to debate the morality . . . of using drug charges to tackle underlying violence,” Pfaff observes, to his credit. He accepts that “blacks are systematically denied access to the more successful paths to economic stability,” and therefore “face systematically greater pressure to turn to other alternatives.” But he also makes a more complicated argument, following recent sociological research: it’s not that the prohibition of drugs attracts crime, which then produces violence; it’s that violence thrives among young men deprived of a faith in their own upward mobility, making drug dealing an attractive business. In plain English, young men without a way out of poverty turn to gangs, and gangs always turn to violence. Since efficient drug dealing is, by its illicit nature, likely to involve violence, those accustomed to violence are drawn to drug dealing. One sees the logic: Lucky Luciano and Al Capone weren’t ambitious street kids who chose bootlegging as a business, and were then compelled to become gangsters to pursue it, as in “Boardwalk Empire.” They were already cadet gangsters, who saw that their acquired skills lined up neatly with those demanded by bootlegging.
And so the war on drugs, however misguided as social policy, was not, Pfaff insists, a prime mover of the epidemic of incarceration—the numbers just aren’t there. Even in New York State, famous for its Draconian “Rockefeller laws,” the decline in the number of inmates imprisoned for drug offenses in the past fifteen years has been dramatic—without changing the face, or the fact, of mass incarceration. Pfaff calls this his core claim: “If we define the people in prison as a result of the war on drugs to be those serving time for a drug conviction, then that war simply hasn’t sent enough people to state prisons for it to be a major engine of state prison growth.”
What about mandatory sentences? Pfaff notes that these outsized punishments are given to a very small part of the actual prison population. Most new inmates are serving relatively short sentences. This, Pfaff observes, is essentially good news. “Prison admissions are a flow, not a stock,” he writes. “They depend far more on choices made today than on the lingering effects of thousands of past decisions.” Pfaff deals with the issue of for-profit prisons with similar statistical efficiency: even if private prisons were banned tomorrow and all their inmates released, the prison population would drop by, at most, eight per cent. The numbers just aren’t there.
So what makes for the madness of American incarceration? If it isn’t crazy drug laws or outrageous sentences or profit-seeking prison keepers, what is it? Pfaff has a simple explanation: it’s prosecutors. They are political creatures, who get political rewards for locking people up and almost unlimited power to do it.
Pfaff, in making his case, points to a surprising pattern. While violent crime was increasing by a hundred per cent between 1970 and 1990, the number of “line” prosecutors rose by only seventeen per cent. But between 1990 and 2007, while the crime rate began to fall, the number of line prosecutors went up by fifty per cent, and the number of prisoners rose with it. That fact may explain the central paradox of mass incarceration: fewer crimes, more criminals; less wrongdoing to imprison people for, more people imprisoned. A political current was at work, too. Pfaff thinks prosecutors were elevated in status by the surge in crime from the sixties to the nineties. “It could be that as the officials spearheading the war on crime,” he writes, “district attorneys have seen their political options expand, and this has encouraged them to remain tough on crime even as crime has fallen.”
Meanwhile, prosecutors grew more powerful. “There is basically no limit to how prosecutors can use the charges available to them to threaten defendants,” Pfaff observes. That’s why mandatory-sentencing rules can affect the justice system even if the mandatory minimums are relatively rarely enforced. A defendant, forced to choose between a thirty-year sentence if convicted of using a gun in a crime and pleading to a lesser drug offense, is bound to cop to the latter. Some ninety-five per cent of criminal cases in the U.S. are decided by plea bargains—the risk of being convicted of a more serious offense and getting a much longer sentence is a formidable incentive—and so prosecutors can determine another man’s crime and punishment while scarcely setting foot in a courtroom. “Nearly everyone in prison ended up there by signing a piece of paper in a dingy conference room in a county office building,” Pfaff writes.
In a justice system designed to be adversarial, the prosecutor has few adversaries. Though the legendary Gideon v. Wainwright decision insisted that people facing jail time have the right to a lawyer, the system of public defenders—and the vast majority of the accused can depend only on a public defender—is simply too overwhelmed to offer them much help. (Pfaff cites the journalist Amy Bach, who once watched an overburdened public defender “plead out” forty-eight clients in a row in a single courtroom.)
Meanwhile, all the rewards for the prosecutor, at any level, are for making more prisoners. Since most prosecutors are elected, they might seem responsive to democratic discipline. In truth, they are so easily reëlected that a common path for a successful prosecutor is toward higher office. And the one thing that can cripple a prosecutor’s political ascent is a reputation, even if based on only a single case, for being too lenient. In short, our system has huge incentives for brutality, and no incentives at all for mercy.
Add to that the reality that the office of a prosecutor is too often a “black box,” where nobody knows anything about the deliberations that produced a particular outcome, and one sees that prosecutors in our time have something like the authority of Inquisitors in the old days of the Church. Though supposedly merely the instruments of investigation, they really hold all the effective power, reporting to no one save God, or their own ambition.
Even if private prisons account for a relatively small proportion of the prison population, that they are allowed to exist at all is an indictment of our system. Dickens, in writing about the injustice of debtors’ prisons, was unaffected by the fact that those institutions were largely in decline by the time he wrote. “Sanity is not statistical,” Winston says, in “1984,” and morality is not numerical. When we are talking about such immense numbers, the fact that anyone would be imprisoned for a long term for a nonviolent drug offense is a scandal. That anyone would be housed in a prison kept for profit by an entrepreneurial concern is an evil.
The Golden Age of Private Prisons The Obama administration moved to phase out private prisons in the United States, but Donald Trump has now reversed those policies. A boom in the industry is expected and investors are thrilled.Sessions kra
Yes, people are getting rich on the backs of tortured inmates. I certainly call the sustained refusal to provide health care (they won’t spend the money to do what they legally clearly are required to do!) torture. And most would agree that the repeated sexual abuse of female inmates (some children) is torture.
Second only to the “war on drugs” [READ How the War on Drugs Has Destroyed Justice}, private prisons are one of the worst development in criminal justice over the past 45 years.
The stock market in the United States has been rallying since Donald Trump’s election as president in November, with the Dow Jones Index breaking the 22,000-point mark in August, its third record in a short stretch of time. Yet the extent to which Trump is fueling the upward trend and how long it will last is debatable. Some are already warning of the inevitability of a crash.
Either way, Deutsche Bank has discovered at least two crisis-proof investments. In a recent analyst report, the bank said it was bullish about the prospects for a pair of U.S. companies for which it recently issued “buy” recommendations. These companies are CoreCivic (CXW) and GEO Group, the two largest operators of private prisons in the United States.
Trump’s tough law-and-order policies, which so far have resulted in increasing arrests of suspected illegal aliens, “reinforces our optimism,” Deutsche Bank analyst Kevin McVeigh wrote in the report. The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are both calculating that an additional 12,000 prison beds will be required in the 2018 budget, a development that is likely to benefit private facilities.
Even before the roundups of alleged illegal immigrants, the U.S. incarcerated more people than almost any other country. Roughly 1.7 million Americans are behind bars — and around one-tenth of them are being held in private, for-profit prisons as government-run correctional facilities are hopelessly overpopulated. The controversial reliance on private prisons has been blasted by critics as a form of modern-day slavery, both because of the wretched conditions and because 56 percent of the total prison population is black or Latino.
After the release of a damning report by the Justice Department’s independent inspector general, Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama decided to phase out private prisons for federal inmates by allowing existing contracts to lapse without renewal. The Justice Department found disproportionate violence and even fatalities in private prisons. Then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates wrote in August 2016 that the focus should return to “reducing recidivism and improving public safety.” But Trump fired Yates, and current Attorney General Jeff Sessions has since reversed her policy. A short time later, he also ordered federal prosecutors to seek the toughest possible sentences against crime suspects in the future — the type of sentences that Obama had sought to eliminate, particularly for nonviolent drug offenses.
It’s not only the companies in question that are pleased by this “golden age” for private prisons, as CNN has described it. One day after the release of Sessions’ memo in May, Deutsche Bank dedicated its first research report to industry leaders CoreCivic and GEO. It included the “buy” recommendation because of “potential bed activations.” In other words: the prospects of a surge in prisoners.
Others are also counting on a prisoner boom. GEO, for example, is “well positioned for new contracts, particularly with U.S. federal agencies,” Wall Street bank JPMorgan Chase wrote in a research note in July. The stocks are “attractive,” it added, because Trump’s new policies “will likely lead to an increase in federal prison populations and immigration detentions.”
JPMorgan did warn about “negative headlines” (“prisoner escape, riots or other disruptions”) as well as lawsuits relating to prisoner civil rights or sexual misconduct against prisoners. But it added that the company’s insurance would cover everything.
‘The Deadliest Immigration Jail in the Nation’. CoreCivic is classified as a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT). Among the institutional investors who have parked their money with the company are major Wall Street firms like Vanguard, BlackRock and Fidelity. Shares in CoreCivic, which closed at $14.19 the day before the election, have since shot up to just under $27, almost doubling in value. GEO has seen an even greater increase in share value, rising from $10.62 to $27, a 150-percent rise. Known as the Corrections Corporation of America when it was founded in 1983, the company has been the subject of frequent criticism. Last year, the company generated revenues of $1.7 billion with its more than 70 prisons and 70,000 prisoners. But there have been numerous incidents at its facilities. At the Eloy Detention Center in Arizona alone, there were 15 deaths between 2003 and 2015, including five suicides. This earned the facility the dubious honor of being the “deadliest immigration detention center in the nation,” according to the Arizona Republic newspaper.
The companies seemed to be aware of the windfall that Trump’s election might bring them. During the election campaign, CoreCivic donated $254,000 to the Republicans and also provided an additional $250,000 for Trump’s inaugural celebrations. The GEO Group spent even more, donating $1.1 million to the Republicans.
Two former staff members of Sessions, who spent years in the Senate before becoming attorney general, took jobs in October at a lobbying firm that now represents the GEO Group.
The bets these private prison operators made on the law-and-order duo Trump and Sessions are already paying off. Under their leadership, the U.S. prison population is likely to rise again — especially in the deportation detention centers along the border to Mexico.
Surely inmates have died or will die as a result of this cruel neglect. With the squalid conditions lingering, and KNOWING how atrocious the “health care” is, some will die from illnesses or infections the develop.
I am reminded of this great quote:
Written 9 years ago:
I knew this was going to be an uphill fight (getting something done about the wildly lawless, repetitive conduct of guards and management – from “Do Nothing Danberg” on down- (complete acquiescence in it), but the degree, the slope of this mountain is ridiculous! Justice Brennan did not realize the depth of the understatement in these words (the first 12 words!) when he wrote:
“Prisoners are persons whom most of us would rather not think about. Banished from everyday sight, they exist in a shadow world, that only dimly enters our awareness…….When prisoners emerge from the shadows to press a Constitutional claim; they invoke no alien set of principles drawn from a distant culture. RATHER, THEY SPEAK THE CHARTER UPON WHICH ALL OF US RELY TO HOLD OFFICIAL POWER ACCOUNTABLE. They ask us to acknowledge that power exercised in the shadows (I add: against virtually helpless individuals!) must be restrained at least as diligently as power that acts in the sunlight “ Olene v, Estate of Shabazz, 482 US 342,354-355, 107 S. CT. 2400, 96 L.Ed. 282 (1987)
Indeed, the problem is: NO accountability. KRA An FBI investigation is NEEDED!
Indeed, this is the problem: NO ACCOUNTABILITY! kra
The Massive Indifference is a Massive Mistake!
With all the stories of heroism and tragedy in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, one group of people have been left out of sight and out of our hearts: the incarcerated men and women in our federal correctional facilities.
While Texas and Florida authorities safely relocated most of the inmates in the state prisons, the men and women who were locked in our federal prisons were not so fortunate. The Federal Bureau of Prisons stated it did not intend to evacuate its facilities in the paths of Hurricanes Irma or Harvey in Beaumont, Texas or in Florida. And based on reports from several of those facilities, prisoners were not evacuated, could not flee and continue to suffer.
As a result, some incarcerated people in the hardest hit areas in federal prisons were left in their cells to face the flooding, water shortages and power outages. If reports from family members and loved ones of people in these facilities are accurate, their living conditions violated the constitutional prohibition against “cruel and unusual” punishment.
In stark contrast, the American people, who are big-hearted and compassionate, would not even allow animals in captivity to be left behind. Zoos were responsibly staffed or dutifully cleared. Animal shelters pleaded for the safety of stray cats and dogs. Hundreds of Florida horses were relocated. Dolphins were airlifted to safety.
Americans understood immediately that caged animals cannot get out of harm’s way when a hurricane comes. This heroism was necessary, justified and praiseworthy. After all, saving lives is what we are supposed to do in a crisis.
The federal government should learn from the American people’s example. Federal prison authorities have human beings in their care and custody who are equally unable to flee. Whatever their offense, an American jury would never sentence anyone to be deprived of medication, food or water for weeks on end — or to die in a flood. As extreme weather events like killer heat waves and hurricanes become more common, all levels of governments must develop common sense plans to better protect those whom they lock up.
The status quo is not working, especially not at the federal level. When Hurricane Harvey bore down on the Greater Houston region, the 2,109 people at a federal prison facility in Beaumont, Texas, were out of luck. Federal authorities left them behind to wait out the storm. Several prisoners told family members they were stuck in their cells as water rose above their ankles and the smell of sewage from backed-up toilets grew so intense they had to wrap towels over their noses just to fall asleep. Federal prison officials dispute the claims of water in cells.
According to a recent filing by the Prison Legal Advocacy Network, for two weeks now, individuals living in US Penitentiary (USP) Beaumont have continued to suffer from inadequate food and water supplies. We have heard first-hand accounts of people urinating and defecating in plastic bags to preserve the water in their cell’s toilet for drinking. The Federal Bureau of Prisons told The Houston Chronicle that due to limited water in the city, they are relying on water reserves and providing bottled water.
Some prisoners have also told family members that they have been unable to receive medication, despite the Federal Bureau of Prisons assurances that people in that prison are receiving 24-hour-a-day access to medical coverage.
No journalists or outside observers have been allowed in to see the conditions of the prison and the inmates. But if the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina is any indication, we have every reason to be concerned. In Orleans Parish Prison 11 years ago, sheriffs left 6,500 incarcerated people to fight for their survival as water rose to their chests. According to an ACLU report, they were told they would be shot if they tried to escape a flooding building. Some juveniles were sent to adult facilities, where pregnant girls went days without ventilation, food, water or medical care.
Here’s the thing. In Texas and Florida, both county jails and state prisons managed to evacuate most of the people in their care. Even SeaWorld and Busch Gardens had robust emergency plans to make sure their staff and animals would be moved somewhere safe — or at least had adequate water, food and medication.
It’s not rocket science. We know it can be done. But apparently the Federal Bureau of Prisons didn’t bother. In our country, we follow the rule of law; the founders forbade “cruel and unusual punishment” for a reason. And it is cruel to abandon human beings to face conditions that no American would allow a horse or a dog to suffer.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently appointed Army Maj. Gen. Mark Inch to head up the Federal Bureau of Prisons. We hope Inch gets to work. Because if we can airlift dolphins to safety, we certainly have the means to load people into vans and out of harm’s way.
We have the tools, we just need the compassion and the political will. Inch should act now to come up with an emergency plan to protect prisoners during extreme weather events. In fact, he is constitutionally bound to do so.
These are human beings we are talking about. The time to act is now.
This has failed in Texas, but watch for efforts to get it done in YOUR state! There seems to be no end to the creative ways that GEO Group, and the even larger private prisons company, CoreCivic, seek to feed their greed. They have broadened their endeavors to include “treatment” facilities, probation services, and now they are trying to get prisons called “day care centers”! These corporations are responsible for untold suffering. READ the many articles here on prison abuse.
Excerpts from the Article:
Legislation developed by private prison corporation GEO Group that would have licensed immigrant family detention centers as “child care facilities” failed in the Texas legislature in May 2017 following widespread opposition by child welfare, medical and immigrant rights organizations. Companion bills filed in the Texas House (HB 2225) and Senate (SB 1018) would have granted state officials the authority to issue licenses for immigrant family detention centers under lowered standards. The two family detention facilities in Texas, derisively known as “baby jails,” have been at the center of scandals involving medical neglect, sexual abuse, a ban on crayons for children in visitation areas, and multiple hunger strikes by detainees.
“The Texas legislature did the right thing,” said Dr. Laura Guerra-Cardus of Children’s Defense Fund-Texas. “Now it’s time for the Department of Homeland Security to follow the advice of their own advisory committee and discontinue detention [of children] as a matter of DHS policy.”
For-profit prison companies run both immigrant family detention centers in Texas. GEO Group operates the Karnes County Family Residential Center in Karnes City, while CoreCivic, formerly known as Corrections Corporation of America, runs the South Texas Residential Center in Dilley, which is the largest immigrant detention facility in the country. The attempt to license the family detention centers through the Texas legislature followed successful litigation brought by immigrant mothers held at the facilities and Grassroots Leadership, a non-profit organization that opposes prison privatization.
On December 2, 2016, District Court Judge Karin Crump invalidated a regulation promulgated by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) that permitted the licensure of Karnes and Dilley as child care facilities. According to the court, the regulation allowing the licensing of the family detention centers “contravenes Texas Human Resources Code … and runs counter to the general objectives of the Texas Human Resources Code.” See: Grassroots Leadership, Inc. v. Texas Dept. of Family and Protective Services, District Court of Travis County (TX), Case No. D-1-GN-15-004336.
The DFPS regulation would have also authorized licensure without compliance with fundamental state minimum standards that ordinarily apply to child care facilities – including a standard that prohibits children from sharing bedrooms with unrelated adults.
The private prison firms that run the detention centers spent big money pushing for the licensing legislation, according to a report released in April 2017 by Texans for Public Justice. That report found that private prison companies paid lobbyists $220,000 to $480,000 to advocate in the Texas legislature during the past session.
GEO Group had previously told its investors that attaining licensure for its Karnes County family detention facility would allow it to detain children for longer periods of time, saying: “Presently, the center operates as a short-term processing facility and this licensing process will allow for longer lengths of stay.” The Associated Press reported that a state representative who introduced the House bill said it came directly from GEO Group.
“The judge issued that ruling and then folks in the legislature were courted and lobbied by private prison companies that stand to make a lot of money off of these centers, who basically write the law to get them to license these centers,” said Cristina Parker, Grassroots Leadership’s immigration programs director.
“How we treat our most vulnerable reflects our values as Texans,” noted Marisa Bono, with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. “We’re gratified that the Texas legislature decided not to set up a separate standard of care for immigrant children in the state by allowing the licensure of detention facilities as childcare centers.”
Will Francis of the National Association of Social Workers Texas Chapter added, “Texas’ child welfare system was not designed to license family detention centers, and the conditions in these facilities run counter to what research shows is the best environment for the wellbeing of children. No amount of regulation will fix this issue, and all of the families in detention should be released into the community immediately.”
Inmates blame Virginia women’s prison for deaths, amputation – Not News to Me! Medical neglect, as I have said so many times, is one of the most pervasive and deadly forms of prison abuse. kra
Medical neglect, as I have said so many times, is one of the most pervasive and deadly forms of prison abuse! The “agreements” they sign to improve the care are a joke, because there is NO enforcement, no accountability. See many related articles on this website!
A Virginia women’s prison that settled complaints last year regarding substandard health care is continuing to fail inmates, according to a Wednesday filing in federal court that cited the recent deaths of two prisoners and the amputation of another’s leg.
The Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women (FCCW) settled with several female inmates in February 2016, signing an agreement to improve care. But the plaintiffs argue that the prison should be held in contempt for failing to live up to those promises. Two inmates died at Fluvanna in July — 70-year-old Carolyn Liberto, who was serving time in a murder case, and 38-year-old Deanna Niece, whose online court records show had convictions for forgery and probation violations. The plaintiffs allege that both women’s complaints of serious pain were ignored and that emergency equipment that could have helped them was unavailable.
Liberto suffered from hypertension and had a history of congestive heart failure, according to the court filing. Before she died of cardiopulmonary failure on July 21, the plaintiffs say, her medication repeatedly ran out and she was never referred to a specialist for her extremely high blood pressure. The day before her death, Liberto complained of chest pain and was told by a medical staffer that her vitals were fine and she should return to her cell, another prisoner wrote in an affidavit. That night, Liberto began complaining that she could not breathe, and emergency oxygen was not available, according to the plaintiffs; she died overnight.
The state attorney general’s office, which declined to comment on the plaintiffs’ filing, wrote in an April court document that the Troy, Va., prison and medical contractor Armor are in compliance with the settlement and working on outstanding issues.
In a June report, the doctor monitoring compliance with the settlement wrote that care and staffing have improved significantly but that problems remain, in particular with the response by nurses to sick calls and by the prison to medical grievances.
“It’s outrageous that we continue to hear about VDOC’s neglect and mismanagement from the women at FCCW,” Brenda Castañeda of the Legal Aid Justice Center said in a statement. The group is representing the plaintiffs, along with the firm Wiley Rein and the Washington Lawyers’ Committee.
Deal Resolves Lawsuit Over Inmate’s Emails With Reporter A settlement agreement resolves a lawsuit that accused Louisiana prison officials of retaliating against an inmate for exchanging emails with a reporter.
The great thing I got out of the this was another possible resource for so many abused by prison staff!!! READ item # 12 in PRACTICAL TIP FOR AFFORDABLE LEGAL HELP 🙂 🙂 🙂
Another case of outrageous, clearly criminally illegal retaliation by prison officials. These all too familiar cases cost you, the taxpayers, BILLIONS of $$$ each year for the defense costs!
Excerpts from the Article:
A settlement agreement on Tuesday resolves a lawsuit that accused Louisiana prison officials of retaliating against an inmate for exchanging emails with a reporter whose newspaper published a series of stories critical of the state’s corrections department. The agreement requires prison officials to rescind a disciplinary action against William Kissinger, restore his trusty status at Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola and give him a job that pays 16 cents an hour.
January’s lawsuit said Kissinger was transferred from Angola last year and placed in solitary confinement at another prison after communicating with an Advocate reporter about an alleged “culture of greed and corruption” in Louisiana’s prison system.
Burl Cain, Angola’s longtime warden, resigned in January 2016 following a string of Advocate reports about his private real estate dealings.
Kissinger’s attorney, Katie Schwartzmann, said her client was being transferred Tuesday from Elayn Hunt Correctional Center in St. Gabriel back to Angola, the state’s largest maximum-security prison. “Angola really was his home, and he was uprooted from his entire life and everything that mattered to him,” said Schwartzmann, a New Orleans-based attorney from the Roderick & Solange MacArthur Justice Center.
Kissinger, 64, was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. He has served most of his sentence at Angola over the past 27 years. In February 2016, Kissinger told the Baton Rouge newspaper’s reporter Maya Lau that he had information about “financial improprieties” at Angola, according to the suit. Less than a week later, Kissinger was taken from his Angola cell to the other prison, where he was placed in solitary confinement for 18 days and ultimately served 126 days in “punitive segregation,” his suit said.
The suit, which described Kissinger as a whistleblower, had asked the court to rule that prison officials violated his constitutional rights to free speech and due process. Corrections department spokesman Ken Pastorick said in an email Tuesday evening that settling the lawsuit was in the best interest of the state of Louisiana and its taxpayers. He added, “The department maintains the transfer was in the best interest of all parties, and that it did nothing wrong.”
With Trump’s decision to end DACA, this has never been more important! The abuses and neglect in privately operated ICE detention centers are appalling! Finding out the actual numbers is impossible – as this article points out – because the government, when signing these contracts with private prisons, doe not require accountability!
In ab0ut 45 minutes I shall be giving a talk about DACA, and will mention some of these facts!
Hundreds of thousands of people are held for varying amounts of time in America’s privately run detention centers every year. Want to know how well these private facilities are managed? What about how they treat their detainees? Or how the federal government holds the private companies accountable for mistakes, negligence, or worse? Good luck trying to find the answers in the sparse data the federal government makes public.
There are currently 112 federal detention centers in America that house people who are arrested for entering the country illegally, and non-US citizens who are deemed a threat to national security, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the law enforcement agency within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that oversees these detention centers. ICE detention centers are either run by the government itself or, in the majority of cases, run by private contractors.
The number of privately run facilities is expected to increase under the Trump Administration. Last month, ICE awarded private-prison company GEO Group a contract to develop and operate a new 1,000-bed detention center in Conroe, Texas. Rumors are swirling that ICE may reopen a detention facility in Raymondville, Texas, that was closed in 2015 after widespread allegations of sexual and physical abuse of detainees and a riot. And an internal Department of Homeland Security memo, obtained by The Washington Post last month, states that ICE has identified 27 facilities to house an additional 21,000 detainees, though it is not clear how many of those facilities will be privately run.
While all ICE detainees face the possibility of deportation, the stakes may be especially high for people sent to private detention centers. Following President Trump’s executive orders in January to secure the US border with Mexico and to ban US entry to citizens of several Middle Eastern and African countries, there appears to have been a marked rise of arrests of non-US citizens across the country. From Texas to California to New York, there are reports that ICE is arresting and detaining more people than ever.
While all ICE detainees face the possibility of deportation, the stakes may be especially high for people sent to private detention centers.
Examples of abuse of detainees at private facilities abound. Detainees in private facilities may be forced to work for $1 a day or no pay at all, as detainees in Denver are alleging in a class action lawsuit against GEO Group. Sexual assaults of detainees are more prevalent at private detention centers, according to a human rights group that recently filed a lawsuit against the DHS, alleging that the agency ignored all but 1 percent of sexual harassment complaints in ICE detention centers. And an estimated 750 detainees in Tacoma, Washington, are currently staging a hunger strike in protest of the poor living conditions they say they experience in a GEO Group-run facility.
Allegations of abuse may grow given that the Trump Administration is moving to reduce oversight of these private facilities. The New York Times reported that, according to unnamed DHS officials, new contracts with private detention centers will not require that the centers provide translation services or prompt medical care to detainees. Additionally, ICE’s Office of Detention Policy and Planning, which, among other things, created guidelines to help prevent sexual assault of detainees, is being shuttered.
Mary Small, policy director of the nonprofit Detention Watch Network told the Project On Government Oversight that while the Office of Detention Policy and Planning wasn’t perfect, its loss is a huge blow for transparency and accountability of the private detention center complex.
“Sunlight didn’t fix the problem,” she said of the office’s disclosures, “But it started to help a little. Now we’re not just moving in the opposite direction, but we’re sprinting in the opposite direction.”
Even fundamental information on America’s immigrant detention complex is hard to pin down. For instance, because ICE does not regularly and proactively disclose how many people are held in its detention centers, it is difficult to get a comprehensive count of how many people have been detained following the President’s executive orders. Here’s what we do know. There were 41,000 people in ICE detention centers in November 2016, according to a statement by former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson. An estimated 65 percent of all ICE detainees were housed in private facilities as of September 2016, according to a report by the Homeland Security Advisory Council.
However, because these numbers are based on daily average populations in detention centers, they don’t provide a full picture of just how many people go through the ICE private detention center system. According to data obtained through the Freedom of Information Act by the nonpartisan Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University, over 341,000 detainees “booked out” of ICE’s privately operated detention centers in fiscal year 2015, meaning hundreds of thousands of detainees were either transferred to other facilities, released from custody, or deported. Book-outs from private detention centers accounted for nearly half of all book-outs that year, according to TRAC.
As always, there is a caveat to these numbers. According to TRAC, “ICE provided incomplete information on the operator of facilities it used, so the number operated by private companies is likely to be underestimated.”
Even the most basic information about ICE detainees and detention facilities is not available online. So what would a more transparent federal detention center system look like? The Justice Department’s Bureau of Prisons may provide a model. Unlike ICE’s detention centers which house non-US citizens suspected of entering the country illegally or suspected of committing national security-related crimes, the Bureau of Prisons’ facilities house inmates who are convicted of violating federal laws. The majority of the agency’s inmates are US citizens, and the majority of them are housed in government-run facilities.
There are almost 189,000 inmates in the Bureau of Prisons system as of April 2017, according to the agency. Eighty-one percent of them are housed in facilities managed by the agency, while 11 percent are housed in privately managed facilities. The remaining 8 percent are housed in facilities managed by state or local governments.
The above statistics—readily available on the agency’s website and updated as often as every week— demonstrate on their own the stark disparity between the Bureau of Prisons and ICE when it comes to proactively releasing data about inmates and detainees. And, according to an analysis by POGO, the differences only become more obvious as you delve deeper into the data.
What Data Do ICE and the Bureau of Prisons Proactively Publish Online?
Based on POGO’s analysis, it is clear that even the most basic information about ICE detainees and detention facilities is not available online. ICE’s online Freedom of Information Act library catalogs some of the data the agency has released based on public requests, but the data is piecemeal and does not provide a holistic picture of the ICE detention center system. Nor does ICE routinely make public its solicitations of contracts to private companies to operate its detention centers or the contracts it signs with private detention center companies, which leaves the public largely in the dark about these multi-million dollar contracts paid for by taxpayer dollars.
In contrast, the Bureau of Prisons regularly publishes data on its facilities and inmates, including demographic statistics that provide a picture of the agency’s inmate population. The agency also publishes its solicitations of contracts to private companies and the contracts it signs with these companies to run its prisons.