Delaware D O C has been a disaster for decades. READ A Culture of Cover Up
Ms. Ruth Briggs King’s proposal to break up (it should be eliminated!) the Contract now held by Connections, for mental health, medical, and counseling services within D O C certainly has merit. Other prison reform advocates and I get call, letters, and emails from inmates and their families daily, telling us, with specificity, that the health care remains abominable, and the other counseling programs are a joke. The two C Os who talk with me regularly, but will not do so on the record for fear of reprisals, confirm all of this. REAL changes are needed, and oversight of performance is required.
Excerpts from the Article:
You have to know justice before you can provide justice. In other words: “No justice, if you don’t know justice.” And, when we know better, we’ll do better. After a couple of years of observation, investigation and advocating, I have reached the conclusion that the challenges and problems in the Delaware correctional system are directly related to the lack of leadership and desire for fundamental change within the system.
I ask this question, “If the correctional system does not fairly and adequately address internal issues, then how can it foster justice and provide the same to inmates and clients of the correctional system in Delaware?”
For over 10 years, the top appointed leadership has been a revolving door from other areas of state government, while the immediate leaders from within the Department of Correction have remained consistent.
The staffing levels remain critical with few recruits and graduates. Since the change in salary and other financial support over the last couple of years, the situation still remains inadequate. The number of overtime hours and those “frozen” in place remains high. Studies and recommendations have yielded talk but no real significant action or improvement.
Employees who file grievances reportedly face reprisal and retaliation. Claims of discrimination, unfair labor practices and other alleged concerns remain unanswered for extended periods. It’s an exercise in futility if the state expects to recruit and, more importantly, retain quality employees who witness and experience the direct impact of nepotism, cronyism and discrimination in the workplace.
In the halls of our state capitol, we continue to hear the need for criminal justice “reform,” with many competing ideas for improvements in the First State. I support reform efforts that focus on rehabilitation, prepared re-entry, re-licensing and expungement for certain offenses, while making sure we, in no way, minimize the experiences of victims.
Survivors of crimes often endure trauma and their own type of mental “prison sentence” that could last a lifetime. We should never lose sight of protecting the many, many victims of crimes in Delaware.
True criminal justice reform starts from within the correctional system. We must first focus on making improvements within the walls of our prisons by addressing the issues mentioned above. A strong system has strong and effective leaders who empower their staff and support them by addressing the concerns that have been raised. With the recent announcement of Department of Correction Commissioner Perry Phelps that he will retire in July, it is incumbent upon Gov. Carney to use this as an opportunity to reach for a better outcome for the system.
As a member of the Joint Finance Committee, I look forward to continuing to do my part by keeping a spotlight on the funding issues and, in particular, to make sure the needs and concerns of correctional staff are addressed in the most effective and efficient ways possible.
Throughout the budget hearing process, I have been very vocal about the need to ensure all contracts for mental health, medical, and counseling services are done separately through a Request for Proposal (RFP) and bidding process.
Currently, one company has the contracts for all such services and those contracts have been renewed. This leads to potentially poor outcomes and no accountability. I believe the contracts need to be independent of one another, instead of being “bundled” together.
As always, I vow to do better after knowing better.
Weapons and ‘butt whooping’: Trial brings new details about Vaughn uprising -CRIMINAL conduct which should be PROSECUTED! – kra
Yes, I have posted several articles about the brutal, criminal, and senseless beatings of inmates following the riot, and the numerous officials who lie about it and others with their heads in the sand who refuse to PROSECUTE the wrongdoers, but “beating a dead horse” on the subject is better than seeing more dead guards and/or inmates. I shall continue to speak out.
Fortunately, my friend, Stephen Hampton, Esq. has a class action lawsuit pending on behalf of 129 inmates (including the estates of dead inmates!) against 66 defendants, which will bring more truth to light.
Excerpts from the Article:
New revelations about the 2017 uprising at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center and subsequent investigation seem to sneak out when public officials are put under oath. The trial of Roman Shankaras, who was accused of orchestrating the uprising and was found not guilty of all charges this past week, revealed that a new trove of weapons were discovered in the once besieged prison building.
The discoveries were rumored for months leading up to Shankaras’ trial but officials declined to comment.
Former Delaware State Police Detective David Weaver, who led the Vaughn investigation, testified that more than 30 potential weapons were found two years after the uprising in C Building. The building has sat empty since the uprising, and the Correction workers have been preparing the building for demolition recently, officials have said.
This trial also offered more first-person retellings of allegations of abuse by corrections officials following the uprising, a feature of separate civil lawsuits filed by former C Building inmates. Inmates who were not accused of having a role in the uprising have claimed beatings at the hands of correctional officers as they were removed from the building.
Testimony in a previous trial was the first time prison officials addressed those allegations and sought to justify them.
“I stayed until … they breached the building and came in,” testified inmate witness Warren Wilson. “I took the worst butt whooping in my life.”
Lt. Brian Vanes, who commanded the force that blitzed the building, confirmed in testimony in a previous trial that force was used. He said some inmates did not comply with officers’ orders so they used force to gain compliance.
Inmates in Shankaras’ trial and previous proceedings testified that they were beaten while complying. In the Shankaras trial, inmates also spoke about how they were intimidated by corrections officers in the months after the uprising, another feature of a sprawling lawsuit that seeks class action status against Gov. John Carney and other state officials.
In the weeks and months after, inmates from C Building were being held in maximum security units at Vaughn. Inmate witness Eugene Wiggins said a normal “shakedown” is a few officers taking the inmate out of the cell, combing through their belongings.
“They might strip you out,” he added. He told the jury that shakedowns were carried out in the months after the uprising by 30 to 50 men, clad in black, with masks, helmets, shields, sticks and no identification.
“It was an assault, not a shakedown,” he said. Lawsuits filed by inmates have alleged physical abuse, sexual abuse, unconstitutional restrictions of their basic rights and other forms of “torture” by prison officials in the months after the uprising.
Wiggins said part of the reason he spoke to police about what he saw during the uprising was to let officers know he wasn’t involved. He was later moved out of a maximum security unit that held former C Building inmates and out to the “compound,” a portion of the prison where security is considered subdued and inmates have more freedom.
The testimony raises questions about potential rights violations by rank and file correction staff as well as how top-level officials sanctioned or cracked down on such activity. Officials have declined to comment on testimony of rights abuses after the uprising citing the pending litigation.
In addition to raising questions about the specific actions of state employees, the testimony also allowed another front in defense attorneys’ efforts to discredit witnesses testifying in the Vaughn trials. Patrick Collins, Shankaras’ defense attorney, used Wiggins’ example as another reason for the jury to question the credibility of what he was saying. If he was being pressured to speak, is the evidence he provides legitimate, Collins asked the jury. “He makes another statement (to police),” Collins told the jury. “Lo and behold, out he goes to the compound. No more (maximum security) for Wiggins.”
NOT GUILTY: Another inmate beats murder charge in a Vaughn uprising trial Shankaras is the seventh person out of eight inmates tried so far to avoid a murder conviction. One of those seven, Obadiah Miller, saw the jury unable to decide on murder charges against him so he may be retried. Another of those seven, Jarreau Ayers, was convicted of lesser charges. The rest were fully acquitted.
After largely failing to secure murder convictions through two trials, prosecutors dropped charges against several inmates who were still awaiting trial.
Two remaining inmates with charges pending are set to be tried later this year.
Bill banning private detention centers goes to governor Private company sought to build immigrant detention center near Dwight
This is another giant leap for mankind; google it or read here the facts about why private prisons are such a mistake! And those operated by I C E are the worst!
Excerpts from the Article;
The Illinois Senate voted 34-to-14 on Thursday to pass House Bill 2020. It previously passed the House on April 10 by a vote of 85-to-26.
The bill would prohibit the state or any local unit of government from entering into any agreement to detain people in privately-owned facilities. It also prohibits them from spending any money to subsidize or defray the costs of developing or operating one. It would take effect immediately if signed by Pritzker.
The bill was introduced in response to a proposal to build a private federal detention center in the village of Dwight, about 80 miles southwest of Chicago.
According to published reports, Dwight’s village board had voted in March to annex and rezone a parcel of land where Virginia-based Immigration Centers of America planned to build and operate a detention center on contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Illinois has prohibited the development of private prisons since 2012. The new legislation would expand that law to include private detention centers. However, it would not apply to state work release centers or juvenile residential facilities that provide care and treatment by nonprofit contractors.
State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, a Chicago Democrat, was the lead sponsor in the House. Earlier this year, she called the bill “critically important” to Illinois remaining “welcoming” to all people.
“There is an effort afoot to bring a private, for-profit ICE detention center to the state of Illinois,” she said March 22. “… We said ‘slow your roll. Hold up here. That’s not who we are, that’s not how we operate. We don’t believe in making money out of putting humans in cages, and we’re going to do everything we can to stop the advance of this effort.’”
Inspector General: California Prison Guards Violate Use of Force Policies Half the Time – Half the time! -kra
Not news to me, but the good news is that officials are documenting and disclosing this, and enacting enforcement policies against abusive C Os.
Excerpts from the Article:
Guards at California prisons violated policy in nearly half the instances they used force on inmates during a six-month period in 2017, state investigators have concluded.
In a 47-page report released this week, the California Office of Inspector General said prison staff failed to follow the rules in 48 percent of the 3,709 incidents reported at state adult and juvenile facilities during the period. In some cases, staff exacerbated the situation, prompting the need for force, the report said.
Along with the recorded incidents, the report reviewed 292 complaints of excessive or unnecessary force. Investigators found that guards did not adequately report an imminent threat in 68 of the incidents.
“While the number of such instances is relatively small in comparison to the totality of all use-of-force incidents in the period, the negative impact of any such incident involving unnecessary force can be quite significant in its potential to create tension between the inmate population and staff members, and in exposing the department to legal liability,” the report said.
“Use of force in our institutions is not something we take lightly,” Waters said. “Every situation where use of force was employed is different, but it is done so to ensure the safety and security of staff, inmates and the public.” Violations ranged from how the actual force was administered — baton hits, Tasers, pepper spray — to whether the incidents were adequately reported and investigated.
Investigators found that chemical agents accounted for 46 percent of total incidents, while physical strength and holds accounted for 33 percent. The remaining 21 percent were comprised of less-lethal projectiles, baton strikes, Tasers and firearms.
Five state prisons accounted for one third of the incidents: California State Prison, Corcoran; California State Prison, Sacramento; Kern Valley State Prison; California Correctional Institution in Tehachapi; and Salinas Valley State Prison.
Among the problems cited in the report:
In 68 incidents, officers’ own actions may have contributed to the need for force.
Few officials are complying with policy to video record interviews with complaining inmates. State investigators said the prisons department must find a way to improve compliance.
Eric Balaban, a senior staff member at the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Prison Project, said the best policies in the world won’t mean anything if they’re not enforced.
“If there’s not consequences for violating the policy, it won’t be followed,” Balaban said.
Investigators praised the prison system for its new tracking system for use-of-force incidents and its new training in de-escalation techniques.
The report also recommended stronger progressive discipline for staffers who repeatedly violate use-of-force policies, and that supervisors and managers be held accountable when their employees repeatedly violate those policies.
Investigators concluded corrective action was needed in two instances where inappropriate contact was made with an inmate. In one instance, an officer tapped an inmate on her shoulder with a flashlight in an attempt to get her attention, and in the other instance an officer tapped an inmate’s foot to get her attention.
The Whole Story:
Former inmate alleges medical neglect at Joshua Tree jail cost him his legs and a hand Lawsuit claims Perry Belden developed severe dehydration, sepsis and renal failure from lack of timely care – OUTRAGEOUS – kra
This article was sent to me by my good friend and great lawyer, Stephen Hampton, Esq. of Grady and Hampton. Steve is one of too few lawyers with the guts and the talent to take a case like this, and does in Delaware. This case, out of California, shows the abominable lack of health care in so many of America’s prisons. The callous indifference of the guards, uttering wisecracks, also is common. NO monetary verdicts or settlements will solve this problem; the wrongdoers must be PROSECUTED! READ Why They Must be Prosecuted!
For all the details about why this guy was in prison, open the whole story. What he was in for does not matter; he had the Constitutional right to reasonable healthcare!
Excerpts from the Article:
A former inmate at the San Bernardino County sheriff’s jail in Joshua Tree alleges in a federal lawsuit that medical neglect he suffered while in custody led to the amputation of his legs and left hand.
Perry Belden, 28, and his mother, Robin Olds, both of Twentynine Palms, allege in their lawsuit “led May 13 in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles that during his weeklong stint at the Morongo Basin jail in Joshua Tree, Belden was denied medical treatment to the point where he was ultimately hospitalized and diagnosed with severe dehydration, sepsis and renal failure.
Belden’s medical problems prompted the amputation of both of his legs below the knee, as well as his le! hand. His right hand remains permanently scarred and deformed, according to the lawsuit.
On March 29, two days a!er his incarceration and while en route to court for an appearance, Belden, an admitted heroin addict, told deputies “something was wrong,” that he was “seriously sick” and that it was “something different than withdrawals,” to which the the deputies replied, “That’s what happens when you’re a crackhead,” according to the lawsuit.
Belden was taken back to the High Desert jail a!er his court appearance and his condition worsened, the lawsuit alleges.
On April 2, during his arraignment before Judge Bert L. Swi!, Belden was unable to walk and was dragged into the courtroom by two deputies. His mother was present, and said her son “looked like death” and had bruising on his arms. Belden was taken back to jail following the arraignment.
Asked if the judge noticed anything unusual about Belden’s appearance and demeanor in court that day, and whether judges could order that defendants receive immediate medical attention if they believe it is necessary, San Bernardino Superior Court spokesman Dennis Smith said in an email: “This case is still under active court jurisdiction, therefore the court may not comment.”
Perry Belden, 28, of Twentynine Palms, lay in a Joshua Tree jail cell for a week without medical treatment, despite a doctor’s order, forcing the amputation of both of Belden’s legs and his left hand. His right hand remains severely deformed as a result of the neglect, according to Belden’s attorneys. The Sheriff’s Department settled a classaction lawsuit last year, agreeing to expand healthcare services for inmates, which critics say are still severely lacking. According to the lawsuit, jail records show that Belden did not receive any medical treatment while in custody in Joshua Tree, and that video surveillance shows he was unconscious most of the time.
“You don’t get that sick and dehydrated without showing deathly ill signs for at least two to three days before that,” said Sharon Brunner, one of Belden’s attorneys, in a telephone interview. Brunner, along with law partner Jim Terrell and San Diego attorneys Christopher Morris and Danielle Pena, “led the lawsuit on behalf of Belden and Olds.
“His entire life has changed. It’s one of the saddest cases Jim (Terrell) and I ever dealt with,” Brunner said of Belden.
Belden’s arrest stemmed from an assault on his stepfather that occurred on March 17, 2018, according to the lawsuit and a criminal complaint “led
The Whole Story:
This was the state’s strongest case, and they lost it, just as they have failed to convict anyone regarding the acts that occurred in the uprising, except for one inmate who had no lawyer. That’s because, as I have asserted from the start, they simply do not know who killed Mr. Floyd, one of the most abusive C Os. Nor do they know who played what role in the whole incident. These are show trials, and the whole thing is a circus. Despite throwing their best prosecutors against Mr. Shankaras, prosecutors go home with their tails between their legs. Fortunately, this defendant had Patrick Collins, Esq.
As for Geoffrey Klopp, president of the Correctional Officers Union of Delaware, that jackass lies nearly as much as our president does!
As I have said for years, this is how to stop the death of more 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?
I note that we have not seen prosecution of C Os who severely beat any inmates in sight, without cause, when they entered C building after the uprising.
Let us pray for Mr. Shankaras and for the family of Mr. Floyd. Though the latter was an abuser, murder certainly is not the answer.
Excerpts from the Article:
A jury Thursday found Roman Shankaras not guilty of murder and all other charges after a trial that accused him of planning and orchestrating the 2017 fatal uprising at Delaware’s largest prison. He is the seventh inmate of eight tried so far to beat murder charges for the death of a correctional officer during the 2017 hostage standoff at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna.
Within the coming days he will be released. Had the uprising never happened, the sentence that put Shankaras in Vaughn’s C Building that February morning would have expired by now, and he would be home. He faced a mandatory life sentence had the jury found him guilty of first-degree murder of Correctional Officer Steven Floyd. He was also acquitted of a raft of other charges including riot, conspiracy, assault and kidnapping.
Overjoyed, Lillian Oliver, Shankaras’ partner, said after the verdict was read that he was working a job in prison, taking classes and “doing everything he needed to do.” “I knew he was coming home,” she said. “He’s not a murderer.”
The trial ended with a similar verdict as most of the cases against other Vaughn inmates, but it was unique as the main evidence wasn’t unconvincing statements from eyewitnesses in the prison.The case against Shankaras was primarily his own writings and the context of those letters as explained by Royal Downs, an uprising participant turned state’s cooperator.
“I think the case probably came down to a showdown of: Do you believe Royal Downs or do you believe Roman Shankaras?” said Patrick Collins, Shankaras’ defense attorney, after the verdict was read. The trial took about two weeks and saw about 20 witnesses testify.
Prosecutors accused Shankaras of being a motivating force behind the conspiracy to take a counselor hostage and subdue the building’s three officers with fists, shanks and mop-wringer bludgeons. Shankaras, who goes by “Rome,” told the jury he didn’t know about the takeover plot. He testified that he was not directing events inside the building during the 18-hour standoff, just watching news coverage of it from his cell.
“He is not Vito Corleone sitting in a dark room issuing orders to people,” Collins told the jury in his closing statements, referring to a character from “The Godfather.”
The case against Shankaras was built on two “kites,” what inmates call letters delivered cell-to-cell by prisoner couriers. They say the letters show him discussing what would be believable if someone were to take the fall for Floyd’s death, relaying little-known information about the uprising and essentially confessing to spurring it.
“This had to happen,” a prosecutor read from one of the letters while showing pictures of Floyd’s corpse sprawled among trash and water on his office floor.
But the letters are vague in some ways. Shankaras doesn’t dispute writing the letters, but said the context is being twisted as part of the recipient’s effort to “duck” Floyd’s murder. Those letters were sent to Downs. He told the jury Shankaras was involved in planning the uprising and acting as a “puppet master” during the episode. Downs smuggled them out of Vaughn and into the hands of prosecutors as part of a deal to avoid murder charges.
“Folks, the only puppet master in this case is Royal Downs,” Collins told the jury. “He is a self-serving manipulative con artist.”
The legend of Downs as an influential character inside the walls of Vaughn grew in the argument over Shankaras’ guilt. Testimony has established he wooed a correctional officer into being his fiancé, the “Bonnie” to his “Clyde,” he said. A former prison gang leader, he was dealing “contraband” in prison to raise money to hire a lawyer to try to overturn his life sentence for a Maryland murder. Downs wrote, word for word, an affidavit submitted by a key witness in that case recanting her previous testimony as part of his shot at freedom, court testimony in the Vaughn trials has established. His unmistakable drawl was heard on the radio with hostage negotiators through most of the standoff. He told the jury he warned the organizers against the violent takeover and only got involved after the guards were subdued and with the purpose of calming the situation. New murder charges for the uprising would blow up his shot at freedom in overturning the Maryland case, so he allied himself with prosecutors quickly after the uprising, court testimony has established. Tucked away with other C Building inmates in Vaughn’s maximum security unit months after the riot, he told the jury he misled Shankaras into believing he was going to take the fall for Floyd’s murder. That is the context of the letters in his telling.
Collins said he duped Shankaras into trusting him and prosecutors into not indicting him for murder. He ultimately struck a plea deal for a riot charge, which carries up to three years of punishment with no mandatory prison time. “Common sense tells you, Royal Downs is not being truthful to you and he was in on this from the jump off,” Collins said.
On the stand, Shankaras said Downs bullied him. He said Downs accused him of cooperating with police, a potential threat to one’s life. Once he convinced him otherwise, Shankaras said Downs asked for his help to dodge the charges. In a first letter, Shankaras said he relayed rumors about the uprising from around the prison at Down’s direction.
The second letter is what prosecutors call the confession. Shankaras said Downs had sent him the letter, asking Shankaras to copy it in his own handwriting to help with the charges coming against Downs. “Roman Shankaras was stupid and scared enough to go along with it,” Collins told the jury.
Other witnesses testified to seeing people they believed were involved speaking to Shankaras’ and congregating at his cell. That testimony supported the prosecution’s interpretation of the letters.
But, like the previous Vaughn trials, which relied much more heavily on inmate witnesses, the credibility of witnesses in Shankaras’ case was dogged by their stories contradicting or evolving — or their perceived potential to benefit from helping prosecutors. In his closing remarks to the jury, Collins attacked the credibility of the Delaware State Police investigation.
He asked why Downs, another inmate who wrote a list of demands passed along during the hostage standoff and another prisoner who Downs said was part of a final attack on Floyd were not indicted for murder. He questioned why some shanks and bloodied clothes were tested for DNA evidence while many others were not.
Specific to Downs, Collins criticized prosecutors listening to hundreds of hours of inmates’ recorded phone calls but not months of calls placed by Downs, who told prosecutors he had been referring to the letters that implicated Shankaras as “artwork” in telephone conversations with his sister. Collins asked the court to allow him to review those calls. Prosecutors said they didn’t have them and corrections officials eventually relayed that they had been destroyed. He criticized prosecutors for not combing them for context about the Shankaras letters or other efforts by Downs to mold the narrative.
“Doesn’t anyone want to make sure these kites are legit and the product of Rome, not some duplicitous scam that Royal Downs is running?” Collins asked the jury.
Robertson, the prosecutor, told the jury that Collins was dangling “shiny objects” to distract them from the evidence of Shankaras’ guilt.
“Resist the urge to engage in the whataboutisms,” Robertson said. “Maintain your focus and evaluate the evidence against Mr. Shankaras.”
It is unclear how Shankaras’ acquittal, which can be seen as a vote of no credibility in Downs, will bear on future cases. Prosecutors have failed to convict six of the eight inmates tried so far of anything. Dwayne Staats, who admitted to plotting the uprising, was convicted of murder. Jarreau Ayers was convicted of lesser charges. A jury returned no verdict on the murder charge against Obadiah Miller, who may be retried.
Initially, 18 people were indicted for crimes tied to the uprising. After striking out entirely in the previous trial this spring, prosecutors dropped charges against six of those men that had not been tried as of yet.
Geoffrey Klopp, president of the Correctional Officers Union of Delaware, said the verdicts are “disappointing beyond belief” and a drain on correction staff. “Somebody should really be held accountable for the lack of justice,” Klopp said. “There is enough blame to go around in this riot from Feb. 1 at 11 a.m. to today for all departments.”
Collins said Shankaras’ case was unique, so it is unclear how the verdict will reflect on pending Vaughn cases. Oliver said she is just looking forward beginning life again. “God is good. He believes in God,” she said. “So the victory is really God.”
Another important article from our friends at Prison Legal News. ALL studies show that the best way to prevent recidivism (thus saving millions of dollars and reducing crime!) is to increase inmates’ education opportunities!
By the way, PLN’s parent organization, (https://www.humanrightsdefensecenter.org/) the Human Rights Defense Center, does a tremendous job in supporting inmates against rampant widespread abuses, and litigating on their behalf. I urge you to SUPPORT that organization.
Excerpts from the Article:
The Illinois Department of Corrections requested a massive increase in funding for educational supplies as part of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s state budget proposal. The request is a departure from prior years, and comes after Illinois Newsroom reported last spring that the agency spent less than $300 on books across more than two dozen prison facilities in 2017.
For fiscal 2019, the department requested and received $7,000 to spend on educational supplies. This year, the agency requested $350,000, according to Lindsey Hess, a spokesperson for IDOC.
If the proposed fiscal 2020 budget, which would go into effect July 1, 2019, is approved by state lawmakers, IDOC Director John Baldwin said a portion of the funding would be used to purchase books for state prisons. “Primarily those books are going to be nonfiction. We have a lot of people donating fiction to us. So we’re going to be out buying some nonfiction books,” he said.
In years past, the agency relied on donations from volunteer groups and individuals to stock prison libraries.
The department also requested funding to hire more staff for educational programming. Educational staffing levels are estimated to be at 200 individuals for the current year fiscal year, and the department is requesting funding to increase that number to 210, according to figures provided by IDOC.
The governor’s office released a statement saying Pritzker is focused on making investments in education, public safety and social services. “The governor is committed to criminal justice reform and believes education is an important tool to reducing recidivism rates in Illinois,” wrote Jordan Abudayyeh, a spokesperson for the governor’s office, in an email.
A 2018 report from the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget’s Budgeting For Results Commission indicated that inmate participation in educational programming in state prisons — including both secondary and post-secondary courses — saves taxpayers money and reduces recidivism. Post-secondary educational programming has the largest return on investment saving nearly $39 in future costs for every $1 spent on programming.
State lawmakers are expected to vote on the governor’s proposed budget later this month.
When I landed in prison it was immediately apparent to me that (1) many inmates were seriously mentally ill and (2) they were getting NO help for it! READ many articles about that on this website. The total cost of America’s neglect of our mentally ill is a a staggering $444 BILLION annually! Our prisons are the dumping grounds where we place the mentally ill. They need treatment, not prison.
I guarantee you that much of the spending we see described in this article is just more people exploiting the system, contractors offering programs that look good on paper, getting those multimillion dollar contracts, and then doing virtually nothing! Sheeeeit; I get the emails and phone calls every week from distressed family members of mentally ill inmates, telling me all the horrors.
Excerpts from the Article:
State spending on mental health care for prison inmates has nearly quadrupled in the past two decades. Expenditures on the Colorado Department of Corrections’ “mental health subprogram” increased from about $4.4 million in fiscal year 2000-01 to nearly $17 million in fiscal year 2017-18, the department reports. Subprogram expenses include mental health clinician salaries and contracts for psychiatric services but do not cover the cost of psychiatric medications.
Nationwide, jails spend 2 to 3 times more on inmates who require mental health care than on inmates who don’t have those needs, the National Association of Counties estimates. El Paso County does not track exactly how much taxpayer money is spent caring for mentally ill inmates in its jail, but the county paid its medical contractor more than $7.4 million last year for inmate health care services.
Holding mentally ill people inside jails is more expensive than treating them in the community, research has shown. In Detroit, housing a mentally ill person in jail costs about $31,000 a year, but the same person could be getting treatment in the community for about $10,000 a year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
As people with mental illness cram into jails and prisons, correctional facilities nationwide are facing harrowing claims of neglect. Here are some cases that have resulted in multimillion-dollar payouts:
Mitchell, 24, was being held for stealing $5 worth of snacks from a convenience store when he died of heart failure and weight loss at a Virginia jail in 2015. He suffered from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and had been ordered to a state mental hospital for treatment, but never made it onto the waiting list for a bed. In January, his family won a $3 million settlement from the jail, the state, and the jail’s former correctional health care provider.
Holland, a 36-year-old man with schizophrenia, died of an embolism after he was strapped in a restraint chair for 46 hours at the San Luis Obispo County jail in 2017. The California county settled a lawsuit brought by his family for $5 million.
Marshall, 50, died days after he choked on his own vomit and lost consciousness while pinned to the floor by deputies during a mental breakdown at Denver’s downtown jail in 2015. His family sued and was awarded a nearly $5 million payout. Denver also pledged to improve its jail’s policies regarding the treatment of mentally ill inmates.
Yes, and it is the same in prisons all over America. READ Culture of Cover Up
Only when the abusers are prosecuted and imprisoned will they get the message: they must obey the law. READ How to avoid the deaths of prison guards and inmates
Excerpts from the Article:
One former Panhandle prison employee said she filed a written complaint about a correctional officer’s racist behavior, then came into work several days later to another officer dangling a noose made of toilet paper in front of her. Another former employee said she walked in on a handcuffed inmate being beaten in the medical unit, surrounded by a group of officers. She was suspended one day after filing an incident report about it, and fired within two weeks.
Though both of those employees are now gone, they aren’t alone.
In interviews with the Times-Union, a dozen former and current employees at Santa Rosa Correctional Institution described a culture of abuse, bullying, racism and administrative cover-ups in the mental health dorms. Officers selected inmates they had problems with for unsanctioned forms of punishment: to include physical violence or withholding their food to the point where prisoners lost considerable weight, employees said.
“It frustrates us and makes us angry every time this happens and we report it and these officers are still there working,” said Betty Young, a former activities technician. “They won’t fire them because they’re so short on staff, and they keep them.”
Several employees complained all the way to the top — Warden Walker Clemmons.
The Times-Union isn’t identifying any current employees, who expressed fears of retaliation. It is naming two former employees and used records to corroborate many of the claims.
The facility has a capacity of some 2,600 inmates but housed more than 3,300 prisoners from across the state as of the last audit in February 2015. It’s unclear how many of those are from Northeast Florida.
The Office of Inspector General is reviewing and investigating the allegations, the department added. Glady said the institution had a “track record of ensuring that any individuals involved in misconduct are held fully accountable.”
Ronald Thornton was one week away from his release date, serving a four-year sentence for cocaine possession, when correctional officers called him out from his cell. Thornton, a black man, had been fighting with several correctional officers who he said used racist language toward him. He had already been badly beaten once before, to the point where his eyes were swollen shut, according to multiple sources at the prison. But Thornton wasn’t staying quiet. He continued to call out officers for racist behavior. On April 9, one month ago, a couple of officers told Thornton they had a going-away present for him, he said — then they told him he had to take a tuberculosis test. The men led Thornton to the medical unit in handcuffs. It’s one of the few areas in the facility that has no cameras, according to several employees.
“They closed the door and put their gloves on and said, ‘You know what time it is,’” Thornton told the Times-Union. “Then they started hitting me.” Thornton identified Sgt. Lee Peacock Jr. as one officer who beat him, but could not name others. He said violence against inmates was rampant in the prison. The Department of Corrections would not say whether Peacock was under investigation but confirmed that he is still an active employee there.
Young, the former activities therapist at the prison, heard what she described as grunting in the midst of Thornton’s beating, and forced her way into the medical office. One officer whistled out a warning, she said, and when she arrived she saw several officers and some nurses were trying to shield Thornton from her view. Young said Thornton leaned away from an officer and looked to her, and she was able to see evidence of physical injury to his face.
Young, who said she had knowledge of Thornton being beaten up once before, said she called out in surprise at the officers that they were beating Thornton again. The officers simply stared at her and said nothing in response, Young said. She went directly to her supervisor to report the incident, she added.
That same day, Young wrote a report about the beating. She identified Peacock and other officers as being in the medical unit surrounding Thornton when she entered. The incident report would be her last. Young was suspended the day after she filed it, then terminated a week and a half later, she said.
Officers regularly coerced inmates in the mental health unit by withholding or ruining their food, according to a dozen former and current employees.
Because inmates at the mental health unit are kept in one-man cells, officers deliver trays directly to them. But sometimes, the officers served “air trays” or “ghost trays,” the employees said. The trays have a lid on top, so they appear to be full on video, but contain no food, they said, adding that officers will also position cups of juice to spill into the tray and soak the meal.
Employees said officers used the trays for coercion or retaliation. For instance, Thornton said that after his beating, an officer came up to the back of his cell, off camera, and told him to file an incident report saying he fell. The officers threatened him with ghost trays, he added. Several current employees and former employees said officers commonly withheld food to get inmates to change their stories for investigations into abuse or to concoct fictional narratives that would cover up the wrongdoing of an officer.
Employees who attended the meeting described it as “punitive” and felt the administration was more upset that they had reported the abuses than they were disturbed about the misconduct by officers.
The Department of Corrections faces wrongful death lawsuits not uncommonly, including those that raise questions about deaths that were ruled as suicides by the department’s Office of Inspector General.
Nothing particularly noteworthy about 4 people harassing someone in a park. What is noteworthy is that these S O Bs were law enforcement officers. I say S O Bs because, although the others are not named, Warden Carole Evens is a well-known abuser of inmates who tolerates much abuse on her watch! Also worth noting are the lies told by the D O C spokesperson, and the police officer’s head in the sand, refusing to arrest the bastards.
As long as these fools can act the way they do, without consequence, they will continue to violate the law.
Excerpts from the Article:
Delaware prison officials are investigating allegations that a group of correctional employees including a warden verbally and physically harassed a woman overseeing a group of preschool children during a park outing. The May 10 incident involved a dispute over parking at Glasgow Park in northern Delaware, where the prison employees were having a barbecue to celebrate National Correctional Officer Appreciation Week.
Amanda Hobson said the Department of Correction employees, including Warden Carole Evans, targeted her with vulgar language and an obscene gesture in front of the preschoolers because the prison officials thought they were entitled to the parking space she was using.
Hobson, owner of Imagination Station in Elkton, Maryland, said the prison employees refused to agree to watch the children temporarily so she could move her car. She called police after they then blocked in her car with one of their vehicles and with a grill, preventing her from leaving.
Hobson also said the prison officials, three of whom were in uniform, circled her and the children and took photos of them. At one point, Evans spoke into her phone, reciting Hobson’s license plate number and acting like she was directing another person to obtain information on Hobson, she said.
“She repeated my license plate, and then she said, ‘I want her name and information.’ She was purposely saying it loud enough so I could hear her.” Another prison official, meanwhile, called her a vulgar name and gave her the middle finger, Hobson said.
“I was upset, I was crying,” Hobson said. “I had seven kids I was caring for. … They were freaking out.”
Evans, warden of the Plummer Community Corrections Center in Wilmington, declined to speak about the incident Friday, saying DOC officials are not allowed to speak to the media.
A DOC spokeswoman said the “alleged incident” was under investigation and the department could not comment further.
Hobson said that during the incident, a child fell and hit his head hard on the concrete, but that the DOC employees showed no concern and did nothing to help. “They just continued to stand there. They were laughing and making jokes about their grill,” she said.
Hobson said that after she called New Castle County Police, an officer who arrived seemed to side with the prison officials, and at one point spoke privately with Evans. Jason Miller, spokesman for New Castle County, said the officer worked with both parties to resolve the matter. Miller confirmed that the correctional officers had reserved a park pavilion by submitting a permit application and paying a $150 reservation fee. “The group contends this vehicle took up space they were entitled to use for their gathering and they subsequently parked a grill next to the vehicle, which blocked it in,” he said in an email.
Miller noted that county park pavilion reservations do not come with reserved parking spaces. Moreover, the incident occurred on a short access pathway connecting the pavilion and the roadway that is used by maintenance staff and for temporary drop-off access for pavilion users, but is not a designated parking spot.
Miller also said that because the correctional officers brought in an outside grill without prior authorization, in violation of park rules, the county withheld $50 from the group’s security deposit.
Hobson said that as she and the children left the park, one turned to her and said, “Ms. Amanda, I don’t understand. I thought the police were supposed to be the good guys.” “That just broke my heart,” she said.