This is just plain idiotic, inefficient and ineffective, and a fantastic waste of YOUR tax money.
I have long said that most elderly, ill, “lowest of the low risk” inmates should be released! Here we see (and I have seen many such examples, like Delaware’s POPS program) politicians passing a law which sounds good – looks like they are addressing the problem – which does not work!
Excerpts from the Article:
Twenty-four hours a day for 10 weeks, inmates in maroon uniforms with “D.O.C.” stamped on the backs held a death vigil over Frank Rodriguez. His colon cancer was terminal, but he refused to die — not behind the barbed wire and bars of Graterford Prison. Like most states, Pennsylvania has a compassionate-release law, a way out for dying inmates. Rodriguez, who was so weak he needed help eating, bathing, and turning on his side, qualified. But successful petitions are exceedingly rare and excruciatingly slow.
Rodriguez had not committed a violent crime. He was locked up on a parole violation — smoking marijuana — for the underlying offense of stealing a $1 lemonade from a 7-Eleven store in 2013.
Yet to be allowed to die outside prison, he’d need a raft of forms and records, a judge’s approval and — though he was too weak to walk — an electronic monitor on his ankle. His sister Miriam said he finally came home Aug. 25. He died Aug. 27. After this two-month struggle, when we got him into hospice, he was a 57-year-old skeleton,” she said. “All we had was a day and a half of him before he passed. We could have had months of him if not for all this paperwork.”
She’ll never forget the dark comedy of the hospice staff struggling to find a pair of scissors that could slice off the monitor that hung loose from his bony ankle. Nothing worked. “Our family was devastated. Let him die with dignity,” she said. “They let the morgue pick him up with that still on him.”
Even as Pennsylvania has incrementally reduced its prison population, the number of elderly inmates has grown at a startling rate. In 2001, there were 1,892 geriatric inmates, age 55 or older. Today, there are 6,458 of them.
They’re typically people serving very long sentences for a single, very serious crime, noted Rutgers University criminologist Todd Clear. (“This is a particularly American problem,” he noted. “The U.S. has a kind of world monopoly on extremely long sentences.”)
“They are among the lowest-risk people in the prison,” he said.
They’re also wildly expensive to house, even compared to Pennsylvania’s average per-inmate cost of $42,727 a year. Researchers estimate caring for an elderly inmate costs three to nine times more than housing a younger prisoner.
The law’s language, he noted, is extremely restrictive: Applicants must be near death and unable to walk. Since January 2015, 483 inmates have died in state prison; 343 of them 55 or older. Few bother seeking compassionate release. In the last two years, only 24 people have applied, and about six were approved.
Her brother finally came home in an ambulance, with his skin worn through at his tailbone. He spent his last day alive surrounded by his family.
Still, Arifaj said, “at least he did get out. There are people who never get that day.”
GOP and Democratic lawmakers grill Tennessee officials, blast private prisons over scathing audit – They are a Disaster!
It is not surprising that we see so many articles now about private prisons. They were a disaster from the start, and the Obama administration (it sure didn’t take a rocket scientist to see they were a disaster!) was terminating them, when Trump came in and revived them! Why did Trump do that? Because he doesn’t know or care about government efficiency, and knows even less about justice or fairness. The private prison companies spent hundreds of millions of dollars on lobbying and campaign donations … and it worked! 🙁
Now we see all of these stories recounting the horrors of private prisons! The same horrors which got them nearly banned until Trump intervened.
CoreCivic — previously known as Corrections Corporation of America – is the largest and the WORST private prison company. They changed their name to try to avoid the stigma they had earned, but that’s all they changed!
Excerpts from the Articles:
In a rare procedural rebuke, state lawmakers delayed reauthorizing the Tennessee Department of Correction amid concerns highlighted in a recently released audit of the state’s largest, privately run prison. Wednesday’s move shows the frustration and concern of both Republican and Democratic lawmakers about the issues raised in the scathing audit concerning Trousdale Turner Correctional Center, operated by CoreCivic, previously known as Corrections Corporation of America.
”Sometimes when you’re in the wrong, you have to take it like a jackass in a hail storm…Department of Correction, you’ve failed in a lot of areas. It’s egregious to the people of Tennessee, to the taxpayers and to the people that are there in the prisons,” said Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby, calling for “serious change” in the coming months. “This is a prime example why, constitutionally, the government is responsible to carry out justice…This is proof of what I’ve been saying for years: There’s a problem with a for-profit prison.”
Typically, departments are authorized for four years. In theory, not reauthorizing the department would mean at some point in the future the $1 billion department would be dissolved.
Tennessee Department of Correction Commissioner Tony Parker and officials from CoreCivic — previously known as Corrections Corporation of America — did not dispute the bulk of the findings. While Parker said the prison and department have improved operations since the facility opened in January 2016, he acknowledged the problems found in the audit are serious.
“If you have a critical post that is not filled…yes, it could jeopardize the security and safety of the facility,” Parker said.
Parker vowed to increase audits at the CoreCivic prison, but he and other department officials demurred on questions about whether CoreCivic had violated the terms of its five-year, $276 million contract at the Trousdale facility.
Sen. Kerry Roberts, R-Springfield, said he’s not advocating to end the contract but the state needs to recognize there is a problem.
“It appears that we have non-performance of a contract,” said Roberts, adding he wants to ensure inmates aren’t punished excessively at Trousdale compared to other facilities.
Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, questioned how CoreCivic could “neglect” what he considered a simple task: providing accurate information to auditors.
While Parker said CoreCivic tried to provide information after auditors visited the prison, an auditor said the comptroller can’t trust the veracity of such documents provided after the fact.
This was a no brainer. I predicted that the prison would not get away with this policy; it clearly was unconstitutional and they would never withstand a legal challenge. Do you know WHY prisons try to adopt such policies? They do it to try to limit communication with the outside world as much as possible, so that the stories of all the abuse and neglect (medical neglect) will not get out.
Excerpts from the Article:
A federal judge given the final go-ahead to a settlement in the lawsuit filed against the Wilson County sheriff over his jail’s policy of allowing inmates to receive and send only postcards in the mail. U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson approved the agreement and consent decree Friday allowing inmates to send and receive letters in envelopes at the southeast Kansas jail. The deal also requires the sheriff to pay $10,000 in litigation costs.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and the Social Justice Law Collective sued Sheriff Pete Figgins last year alleging the post card policy violated the free speech and due process rights of prisoners and the people who write to them.
Jail officials can still restrict correspondence that poses a safety threat or encourages criminal activity. Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
ACLU: Hundreds of El Paso County inmates kept in jail over $55 fee – Outrageous! Lack of $55 forcing a Mom to plead to a felony to try to avoid losing custody of her newborn?! ABSURDLY UNJUST! kra
Good God! Will common sense ever visit our criminal justice system?! Lack of $55 forcing a Mom to plead to a felony to try to avoid losing custody of her newborn?! ABSURDLY UNJUST!
Excerpts from the Article:
Hundreds of El Paso County inmates have endured “weeks and even months of senseless and illegal pretrial incarceration” because they cannot afford to pay a $55 release fee imposed by the county, the ACLU of Colorado said Tuesday in a federal lawsuit highlighting the practice’s disproportionate effect on the poor.
The complaint, which names El Paso County as the sole defendant, was filed in U.S. District Court in Denver on behalf of Jasmine Still, a Colorado Springs woman held for 27 days after a court granted her pretrial release.
Although a judge ordered that she be let out of jail on a supervised personal recognizance bond – involving her signed pledge to attend court appearances on a pending drug charge – Still couldn’t afford to pay El Paso County Pretrial Services and was deemed ineligible for release.
During a one-year period examined by the ACLU, the same issue kept up to 300 inmates in custody – some for more than 100 days. The expense of incarcerating them – $88.72 per day per inmate – outstrips revenue from charging the $55 release fee, increasing costs for taxpayers, the complaint alleges.
“We want to put a stop to this practice of holding people in jail for lack of $55,” said Mark Silverstein, the legal director for ACLU of Colorado, saying the policy “makes no sense legally, morally and ethically.”
Instead of posting a cash bond, a defendant who is granted a personal recognizance bond signs an agreement to appear in court and to comply with any release conditions. Supervised personal recognizance bonds involve additional oversight by Pretrial Services workers, sometimes including drug and alcohol monitoring.
Judges and the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office are aware the fee has extended inmates’ stays in jail, but say they have no authority to waive it under county policy, perpetuating a system that punishes the poor, the ACLU said.
The ACLU also is seeking a monetary award for Still on grounds the fee violated her constitutional guarantees to due process. Her extra month in jail kept her apart from her newborn, and child custody proceedings were initiated against her during that time, the ACLU said in a news release. She ultimately decided to plead guilty to a felony drug charge in order to fight for custody of her children, costing her the opportunity to accept a misdemeanor plea offer that depended on her being employed, the ACLU said. The child custody action is pending.
What’s life like for thousands of incarcerated women? Imagine if Hollywood’s worst predators had a key to your home – TRUE! Every year, about 200,000 people are sexually abused in U.S. detention facilities. kra
This is what really goes on in our prisons, and I have been raising hell about it for years. YOUR turn! READ Get Empowered! How YOU Can Create a Powerful, Effective Force for Reform of our Criminal Justice System
I say every damn one of those prison guard rapists should be fired, prosecuted, and labeled as a sex offender for life. Maybe THAT will slow them down!
Read Why ONLY PROSECUTION Will End Prison Abuse! 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?
It didn’t start as rape. Just weeks after arriving at a Kentucky jail, Rosa (not her real name, to protect her safety) was already a target. One of her guards, a captain, entered her cell and demanded that she undress for him. Refusing was not an option, so Rosa complied. Of course he returned. That same month, the captain sexually assaulted Rosa in her cell — the first of multiple attacks over the course of several weeks. She was eventually moved to a new facility, but she wasn’t safe there either: Another guard, this time a lieutenant, abused her repeatedly. Both men were friends with other high-ranking officials who were willing to use threats to keep Rosa quiet. Courageously, she reported them to the police anyway. It didn’t matter. Neither man faced charges. As far she knows, the captain still works at the jail.
What makes Rosa’s story particularly depressing is that it is so common. Every year, about 200,000 people are sexually abused in U.S. detention facilities. Most of the victims are men, since they are far more likely to be locked up. But a recent survey by the Department of Justice found that at least 7% of incarcerated women reported being sexually abused in a one-year period. The true number is almost certainly higher. Prisoners are reluctant to come forward to talk about being raped while still under the perpetrator’s control.
We simply can’t allow government officials to continue raping those in their custody.
The majority of women who endure sexual violence are assaulted not just once, but again and again. And the perpetrators typically get off scot-free. In fact, even in cases where the abuse by guards was substantiated, nearly half of the perpetrators faced no legal action. Worse still, according to a 2014 Justice Department study, 15% of staff abusers were allowed to keep their jobs.
As the head of an organization devoted to ending the sexual assault of those in custody, I hear stories similar to Rosa’s almost every day. These accounts grimly echo the recent revelations about Hollywood and the media. The dynamic of the domineering, abusive man whose decisions can destroy your life is familiar to women everywhere, whether in Hollywood or in prison.
But there are limits to the parallels between sexual abuse that happens in the workplace and in detention.
Prisoners have no place to run or hide from a rapist. In Rosa’s case, her assailants had the key to her cell and could easily create a pretext to isolate her in remote parts of the jail such as the detox room. After her assaults, Rosa could not confide in a loved one, call a hotline or even go for a walk. She had to learn how to navigate an environment in which her rapists had unfettered access to her body. To imagine her experience is to imagine Hollywood’s most notorious sexual predators having a key to your home — except it’s not your home at all, but a tiny, windowless room far away from anyone who is willing to keep you safe.
As the anti-sexual abuse movement grows, and outrage turns to action, it’s crucial to remember that the plague of sexual assault infects every corner of our society. We simply can’t allow government officials to continue raping those in their custody.
Private prisons are THE worst recent development in the whole criminal justice system, causing untold misery and even death! And the ICE prisons are the worst of the worst. Pray these judges do the right thing.
Excerpts from the Article:
On Nov. 15 the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver will hear arguments in a case that could change the future of the $5 billion private prison industry. Judges will decide whether a district court was correct in February when it certified a class action on behalf of around 60,000 current and former detainees who are suing Geo Group Inc., one of the largest U.S. private prison companies, for allegedly violating federal anti-trafficking laws by coercing them to work for free under threat of solitary con
The case was first filed in 2014 by a group of immigrants who had been detfinement.ained at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility run by Geo in Aurora, Colo. Their key claim rests on the assertion that Geo violated the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, a law designed to stop human trafficking—a scourge many associate with sexual exploitation by gangs, not with government contractors’ treatment of detained immigrants. Their lawsuit argues that Geo violated the law’s prohibition on using threats to obtain labor.
“It would be forced labor for someone to say, ‘We’ll arrest you for not working for me,’ ” says David Seligman, who represents the plaintiffs. “It’s similarly forced labor to say, ‘We’re going to remove you from all contact with other people.’ ” The lawsuit also argues that Geo, through an optional work program that pays $1 a day, violated common law against “unjust enrichment,” since extensive use of low-paid detainee labor has saved the company money; it employs only one janitor in Aurora who isn’t in custody, the plaintiffs say.
“There is, almost by definition, a focus on maximizing profits and shareholder value ”
The lawsuit is one front in a long-running battle over the existence of private prisons. Critics say letting companies run detention centers and prisons reduces accountability for potential abuses and that the profit motive encourages excessive cost-cutting. “There is, almost by definition, a focus on maximizing profits and shareholder value at any publicly held private business,” says David Lopez, who served as general counsel of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under President Obama and will argue for the plaintiffs before the 10th Circuit. “I don’t think the private prison industry really is different—it’s just its product is different.”
In August 2016, President Obama’s Department of Justice said it would phase out its use of privately run federal prisons. The next day, a Geo subsidiary donated $100,000 to a super PAC supporting Donald Trump. This year Trump reversed Obama’s private prison policy and awarded his administration’s first detention center contract to Geo. The company’s stock price has risen about 70 percent since Trump’s election. If the case proceeds as a class action, it will threaten other private prison companies that use inmate labor. “This case is what we call a business model case,” says Brandt Milstein, who represents the plaintiffs. “Another way to say that would be an ‘existential threat.’ ”
Private Prisons never did save states money. The whole concept has been a royal disaster, and should be abolished … which is the way private prisons were headed until tRump was elected! READ Apples-to-Fish: Public and Private Prison Cost Comparisons – An Excellent and Thorough Analysis by Alex Friedman
Private prisons were created simply so that more people could profit from America’s war on drugs and its “tough on crime” laws and policies which led to embarrassingly high rates of incarceration, did not reduce crime … and just look where we are now with the nation awash in heroin!
Excerpts from the Article:
Privatizing more prisons will not save Louisiana money now or in the long run, according to the state’s Public Safety and Corrections Secretary, Jimmy LeBlanc. LeBlanc is opposed to House Concurrent Resolution 30, proposed by state Rep. Jack McFarland, which would require the prison system to report by the end of 2017 whether turning over the management of five additional prisons to for-profit companies would result in cost savings.
Much of the assumed savings would come from paying guards and other staff lower wages, LeBlanc said, which would make it harder to recruit and retain good employees. The state already struggles to retain staff due to low wages; the starting salary for a Louisiana prison guard is $24,300 per year. A privately-operated prison would likely reduce wages even more, he noted.
News of more privatization unnerved staff at some facilities. “It doesn’t help with the morale of the prison system,” LeBlanc said in a May 17, 2017 statement. Prison guards already have the highest turnover rate among state employees.
Private companies operate two Louisiana state prisons: the Allen Correctional Center, run by GEO Group, and the Winn Correctional Center, managed by LaSalle Corrections. McFarland’s bill would add another five for-profit prisons.
A recent 10-month study focused on how Louisiana could reduce its highest-in-the-nation incarceration rate. Privatization was not recommended. Rep. McFarland’s bill did not pass during the last legislation session, though it may be reintroduced.
GEO’s decision to walk away from its contract to operate the Allen facility illustrates how private prison companies are quick to cut their losses when contracts are no longer profitable – something that Rep. McFarland should keep in mind with respect to his efforts to expand prison privatization.
It’s just all wrong! Because the people are not “prisoners”, but in a “treatment” program [where very little treatment actually occurs] it seems clear that this is a violation of laws and of the 13th Amendment, which does allow unpaid inmate labor. Here we see top politician exploiting the system.
Excerpts from the Article:
One of Arkansas’ top politicians relies on unpaid workers from a local drug rehabilitation center at his plastics company, which makes dock floats sold at Home Depot and Walmart. Hendren Plastics, owned by Arkansas State Senate Majority Leader Jim Hendren, partners with a rehab program under scrutiny for making participants work grueling jobs for free, under the threat of prison, according to interviews with former workers and a new lawsuit.
Courts from across Oklahoma and Arkansas send men to Drug and Alcohol Recovery Program, known as DARP, as part of a growing effort to divert offenders from overcrowded prisons and into treatment. But a recent investigation by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting found that the rehab and others like it are little more than lucrative work camps for private industry.
Hendren’s involvement shows that the beneficiaries of these programs stretch from Fortune 500 companies to the highest levels of state political power.
At DARP, defendants receive little actual addiction treatment. Instead they work full-time jobs in factories and chicken processing plants. The companies pay a discounted rate to the rehabs for the labor, according to a lawsuit filed in Arkansas last week against DARP and a similar program, Christian Alcoholics & Addicts in Recovery, known as CAAIR. The men make nothing.
The unpaid work may violate state labor laws and the 13th Amendment ban on slavery, according to legal experts. Since Reveal’s investigation, CAAIR has become the subject of two other class-action lawsuits and three government investigations. CAAIR is modeled after DARP.
A number of former program participants confirmed that Hendren Plastics uses unpaid labor from DARP. Hendren is the company’s owner and president, a role that’s central to his political identity.
Hendren, a Republican, has called job creation his No. 1 priority in office and has long touted the economic benefit his company provides.
In response to the lawsuit, Hendren told the Arkansas Times that he was proud to give “kids in drug rehab programs a second chance.”
As of 2011, Hendren Plastics employed about 50 people, according to a local news story. Workers told Reveal that at least 20 men from DARP worked at Hendren Plastics at any given time.
Mark Fochtman was sent to DARP by an Arkansas drug court, according to court filings. At Hendren, he worked along a production line at the factory that melted plastic into dock floats and boat slips, according to an affidavit filed along with the lawsuit.
“The environment was very caustic working around melted plastics,” Fochtman said in the affidavit. “Because of the work environment, the turnover rate during my time was high.”
If DARP workers got hurt on the job and couldn’t work, they were often kicked out of the program and sent to prison, according to interviews with former participants, as well as the lawsuit. Others worked through the pain. “Because of these threats, myself and other residents worked through sickness and injury to avoid being sent to prison,” Fochtman said.
Dylan Willis also worked at Hendren. He said his face, arms and legs are still covered with burn marks from molten plastic that shot out of a machine. DARP managers shrugged off his blisters as merely “cosmetic,” he said. “They just gave me some Neosporin and told me I’d be all right,” Willis said.
Hendren comes from a long line of Arkansas politicians. He is Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s nephew and has worked as a Republican lawmaker for more than a decade. Hendren started the company with his father, Kim, who also is a member of the state Legislature.
DARP has previously gotten in trouble with the state for failing to pay workers, who come from various corners of the criminal justice system. In 2014, the Arkansas Department of Community Correction revoked DARP’s license to house parolees after discovering the program refused to pay workers minimum wage, a violation of state standards.
Read the Whole Story
Send One Like This Out Where YOU Live; YOU can make a difference!
Letter to the Editor – Don’t Tolerate It! 11/12/17
Why do so many inmates, who have been locked up for moths or years, test positive for pot, meth, cocaine, and heroin? And why do so many get write ups or even criminal charges for having drugs or paraphernalia? Because the “guards” bring it in. They charge outlandish prices, and many routinely smuggle in the poisons. They are causing even more harm than “ordinary” dealers! I call for local federal and state prosecutors to ACT! They are (a) committing crimes, (b) delaying that inmate’s recovery from the demon of addiction, (c) delaying their release by loss of good time for “write-ups”, (d) in some cases causing additional criminal charges. Investigate and prosecute! The law applies inside those walls!
Ken Abraham, former prosecutor and founder of Citizens for Criminal JUSTICE, Dover, DE 302-423-4067
I get lots of letters published, and ghost write for others. THIS IS THE BEST WAY TO REACH THOUSANDS OF READERS! The keys to getting your Letter published are:
1. Keep it to 250 words or fewer.
2. Do not make it about “poor little old me”. Describe the problem as one which not only affects the individual, but is a senseless or ineffective measure, policy, or law which also harms communities and society. For example, with reentry, the obstacles make it unnecessarily difficult for the individual, but also harm society by making it hard to become productive, spending money and paying taxes in the community, and they cause increased recidivism = increased crime.
3. Speak from your heart.
4. Google any facts you are not sure about.
5. Do not name-call.
Do what works: Write that Letter!
Letter to Editor – sign name, town, state, and your phone number (they often call to verify that you sent it), and “Member of Citizens for Criminal JUSTICE” if you like – shows you are part of a large group.
Send the email to yourself, and put on the “bcc” bar the email addresses for Letters to the Editor for the top ten newspapers in your state and several national ones – The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, U S A Today (google the Letter to Editor email addresses). Any questions, CALL me at 302-423-4067!
GOOGLE THE EMAIL ADDRESSES FOR “LETTERS TO THE EDITOR” FOR THE TOP TEN NEWSPAPERS IN YOUR STATE AND SAVE THAT INFORMATION FOR REPEATED USE – Some papers will print a letter from you every 2 ekke, some every 30 days, some every 90 days. They have varying policies. But if you really want to make a difference shoot them a new letter once a month! I send one out every 2 weeks.
Need a Letter on some criminal justice issue and not a great letter writer? NO EXCUSE! Email me a rough draft and call me and I’ll polish it up! email@example.com .
ANY QUESTIONS, CALL ME AT 302-423-4067.
How many more such tragedies and wastes of YOUR money do we have to see before people raise hell about it! Such situations could easily be prevented at a tiny fraction of what this now costs. And it is YOUR taxpayer money thus wasted!
As for the settlement “policy changes”, unless there is vigorous monitoring and enforcement, that is not worth the paper it is written on! How do I know? From my observations and vast experience! SEE related articles on this website.
What can YOU do? You can write a letter to the editor about it! READ How YOU can Become a Powerful Force for Change!
Excerpts from the Article:
A privately-owned Delaware County prison has agreed to pay $7 million to the family of a mentally ill inmate who was allegedly mistreated by staff, denied psychiatric treatment and encouraged to kill herself by a guard. Additionally, the owner of the George W. Hill Correctional Facility, Community Education Centers Inc., agreed to implement policy reforms in its facilities geared toward preventing future suicides.
Janene Wallace, 35, who suffered from depression, anxiety and paranoia, committed suicide on May 26, 2015, during a 52-day period in solitary confinement. Wallace committed suicide by hanging herself from a ventilation grate with her bra. She had been incarcerated for violating probation for a conviction of making terroristic threats against another woman over the phone, according to court papers.
Kline & Specter attorney David Inscho represented Susanne Wallace, Janene Wallace’s mother, in the case.
“This is a significant recovery against a private company operating the Delaware County jail. A private prison company, even though it performs a government function, was not entitled to immunity and could be held responsible under the common law of the commonwealth,” Inscho said in an email, adding that the settlement was also significant because the policy changes the company agreed to will prevent mentally ill people from being held in solitary confinement and inmates from being placed in restricted housing units without proper monitoring. “This will hopefully prevent similar tragedies going forward.”
Her mother also claimed in court papers that a guard told her to “go ahead and choke herself” after she threatened to commit suicide.
However, according to the defendants’ papers, “Ms. Wallace refused any medical or mental health treatment while at the prison, which appears consistent with her behavior outside of prison where plaintiff has testified that her daughter refused treatment, and specifically, mental health treatment, in the years before her incarceration.”