Ex-warden Nate Cain pleads guilty mid-trial in federal corruption case, just as ex-wife was set to testify – Another Rotten Warden; America is Full of Them! kra
As I have said so many times: I bet my life that a thorough audit of the wardens of America would result in indictments of at least half of them. They show complete disdain for the law, think they can do whatever they like because they so seldom are held accountable …. the kickbacks and bribes from prison contractors are pouring into their pockets!
Excerpts from the Article:
Former Cottonport prison warden Nate Cain abruptly entered a guilty plea Wednesday afternoon on the third day of his federal trial on corruption charges, cutting the proceedings short as his ex-wife prepared take the stand to testify against him. Cain pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud related to gun purchases he made on the state’s dime while serving as warden of Avoyelles Correctional Center, now Raymond Laborde Correctional Center.
David Joseph, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Louisiana, said he expects Cain, 51, to serve time in federal prison and pay restitution for the crimes.
“We weren’t giving him anything,” Joseph said. “He’ll pay for it. I can’t tell you what the judge will sentence him to, but I can tell you prison time will be recommended under the guidelines.”
The deal marked a sudden end to a trial in which Cain had faced 17 counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The former warden, who resigned in 2016, took the plea before the jury heard from his ex-wife, Tonia Bandy, and corrections secretary Jimmy LeBlanc, both of whom were scheduled to testify. Bandy had already pleaded guilty in the case.
Cain and Bandy were accused of spending thousands of dollars meant for the Cottonport prison’s operations on a slew of personal purchases — from flat screen TVs and Yeti coolers to toilet paper and coffee, as well as construction supplies to quietly build a new home on prison property — while shielding the fraudulent transactions from any state oversight.
The counts to which Cain pleaded guilty Wednesday pertained only to certain purchases of gun and gun accessories, which amounted to less than $1,000, according to Cain’s attorney, John McLindon. Cain admitted to those limited purchases, and apologized to taxpayers.
But federal prosecutors argue that Cain should be on the hook to pay back as much as $150,000 — the total value of the purchases they alleged were fraudulent — because federal sentencing guidelines allow judges to consider all the relevant conduct.
“Even though he’s only pled to two counts, it wouldn’t be uncommon for the judge to consider the entire scheme,” said Dane Ciolino, a professor at Loyola Law School. “The odds are the judge is going to use the larger number; that’s what usually happens.”
Ciolino said that amount the judge decides on will be a key factor in Cain’s sentence. Ciolino noted the guidelines will add time because Cain stole from the public, but Cain’s decision to take a plea will weigh in his favor.
Cain’s sentencing was set for June 17, and he will remain free on bail until that date. Bandy’s sentencing is set for April 12.
Cain pleaded guilty after three days of testimony. The jury heard damaging accounts from several former employees who said Cain and Bandy completely changed the culture of spending at the prison, frequently violating Department of Corrections rules to buy personal items with state credit cards. They said he made them feel their jobs were at risk if they did not go along with the scheme.
Monroe said Cain told him that “loose lips sink ships,” while poking him repeatedly in his chest in a threatening way. He also testified that when prison officials realized they were under investigation, Cain called Monroe into his office and told him to change the name on the DirecTV account at the warden’s house from Cain’s name to the Avoyelles Correctional Center – because the state had been paying for it.
Another former employee, Thomas Heptinstall, then a lieutenant colonel under Cain, said he found out through the investigation that a wedding present Cain had given him – a $80 pressure cooker – had been bought with state funds. He said he returned it to the state when he learned of its origin.
Cain is the eldest son of storied Louisiana jailer Burl Cain, who himself was forced to step down from his longtime perch as warden of the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola in late 2015 amid revelations that he had significant business dealings with the stepfather of an inmate under his supervision. The younger Cain resigned months later, amid investigations into his questionable purchases and other alleged misconduct at his prison, citing his health. Bandy, then still his wife, resigned at the same time, saying she was going to care for her husband, who she said suffered from a medical condition. The two divorced shortly afterward.
Both Cains left during a time of intense scrutiny into nepotism and self-dealing at the Department of Corrections. Though the scrutiny prompted several critical probes and audits, and led to some departures, Nate Cain and several underlings, including Bandy, were the only correctional employees to face criminal charges as a result.
“A lot of our prisons in Louisiana are in remote places, so the warden kind of has the run of the mill,” Joseph said. “We’ve seen, I think, that in several cases in Louisiana. In this case we were able to pinpoint expenses that were being charged to taxpayers that were for personal use.”
Louisiana Inspector General Stephen Street, whose office led the investigation into Nate Cain along with the FBI, called the manner in which the former warden operated a “staggering sense of entitlement.”
“Justice was done today,” Street said. “He abused his power as warden and he’s now going to be held accountable for that.”
But justice in two other cases involving Cain and Bandy remain on hold in the Avoyelles Parish District court, as officials there waited for the federal case to play out. Cain was indicted in February 2018 on obstruction of justice, stemming from a 2016 investigation by state corrections officials that found the former warden undermined a probe into a rape allegation at his Cottonport prison. The allegations involved a sexual relationship between an inmate and a corrections officer at the lockup, which is considered rape under federal law, even when both parties consent.
A year prior in January 2017, Bandy was charged with theft of $25,000 or more, malfeasance and injuring public records in the state court following a legislative auditors report that found Bandy was to blame for $30,000 of missing state funds, which were supposed to benefit five clubs to help rehabilitate inmates.
Here is more of the fallout from that outrageous incident of prison abuse which made national headlines when freezing inmates banged on jail windows to make noise. I read the 32 page Complaint – you can too – , and the lawyers involved did a fine job.
Good thing the jail was in the city! There is a reason why most prisoners are in facilities far out of sight: out of sight out of mind. I am reminded of this comment by that great jurist, Justice Brennan: “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)
Excerpts from the Article:
A leading New York civil rights law firm filed a lawsuit today in federal court in Brooklyn against the warden of the Metropolitan Detention Center, seeking a class action that would represent the more than 1,000 people housed in the federal jail’s West Building during the week it went without power or adequate heat in January and February of this year.
Today’s complaint was filed on behalf of two men locked up at MDC during the crisis. David Scott, a 60-year-old Queens man, was awaiting his trial at MDC when the power went out, and he spent a week with only underwear, a T-shirt, socks, and a short-sleeve cotton jumpsuit to wear as vents blew cold air into his unlit cell, according to the complaint. The lawsuit alleges that Scott repeatedly sought medical attention for numbness in his hand, a fungal infection on his skin, and an abscess, but was ignored, even days after the judge presiding in his case specifically ordered jail staff to treat his conditions.
The other plaintiff, Jeremy Cerda, a 25-year-old Queens man, spent the week of the blackout on the jail’s intake unit, where he had recently arrived after failing to find employment, one of the conditions of his bond. Cerda suffers from depression and anxiety, according to the complaint, and after five days in a dark and unheated cell, with only brown and stinking water to drink and his toilet frequently not functioning, he began to think about hurting himself.
“Warden [Herman] Quay left more than a thousand men isolated in dark and freezing conditions for nearly a week, with limited access to medical care and hot food and water, without attorney or family visitation, and cut off from access to the CorrLinks telephone and email systems,” the lawsuit alleges. “Quay’s failings were legion.”
Not only did Quay fail to take steps to improve conditions in the jail, according to the lawsuit, he and his team repeatedly lied about them. In so doing, the lawsuit claims, Quay violated the Fifth and Eighth Amendment rights of the men detained at the jail.
The suit is brought by Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady, which has a long history of litigation surrounding conditions in the city jails on Rikers Island. A class action suit brought by the firm, along with the Legal Aid Society, Ropes and Dunn, and ultimately the U.S. Department of Justice, led to a 2015 consent decree mandating sweeping reforms at Rikers.
“Wardens must provide the people in their jails with a minimal civilized measure of life’s necessities—adequate safety, food, warmth, exercise, hygiene, and medical care,” the lawsuit states. “These are some of the most basic conditions of confinement the Constitution requires. These standards define a civilized society. While jails need not be comfortable, they must provide decent, humane conditions for the people who live there.”
Today’s lawsuit joins another one filed three weeks ago by the Federal Defenders of New York in the Eastern District over the jail’s refusal during the crisis to allow people to speak to their lawyers. The Federal Defenders are asking for a court-appointed special master to oversee the jail’s treatment of people in its custody. Conditions at the jail have also been the subject of numerous other court hearings in recent weeks, including one in which Judge Analise Torres personally toured the facility with a court reporter, documenting the inhumane conditions she found there.
Under public pressure and at the urging of legislators, the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General has also begun an investigation into how Quay and other jail officials handled the power outage, but given the long history of the Inspector General issuing sternly-worded reports about conditions at MDC with little apparent improvement, many suspect that the best hope for real change lies with the courts.
You can read the full complaint below.
My city of Dover, DE, does this too. All cities should because … need I say it again?! “When we help the homeless we help our communities”!
Please post and share this on Facebook, LinkedIn, MeWe, etc. … perhaps some Mayors or other city officials will see it an ACT! 🙂
Attend the next public meeting at City Hall where YOU live, and get this going! 🙂
Excerpts from the Article:
FOR THE LAST TWO YEARS, DENVER HAS OFFERED DAY JOBS TO PEOPLE LIVING ON THE STREET — AND IT’S HELPING THEM GET OFF OF IT. Brett Hart never imagined he’d end up homeless. The Denver-based engineer spent years working maintenance jobs and earning a decent living, until a bike accident upended his life.
“I was T-boned by a car,” he says. “And so unfortunately when that happens, you end up in the hospital… You spend 30 days in the hospital and you’re not working, so you can’t pay the rent for those 30 days. So you get evicted and you lose your job… So you find yourself pretty much on the street.”
Living temporarily in a camper and desperate for cash, Hart discovered a program that could help him get his life back on track.
Denver Day Works was launched by the city’s Human Services department in November 2016 to provide low-barrier employment opportunities to people experiencing homelessness. Modeled after similar programs in other cities, Denver Day Works pays participants $12 to $13 per hour to help with city projects like cleaning up the streets, landscaping and general maintenance. Participants also receive breakfast and lunch while they’re working, bus fare to get to worksites, and access to employment specialists who can help them find long-term work opportunities.
“Maybe a subtitle for this program is MythBusters, because I think a lot of people, including myself, weren’t sure how successful this would be,” says Don Mares, executive director of Denver Human Services. “We had so many people sign up … that we had a waitlist of folks to come and do that work.”
Boosted by the legal marijuana market and a booming aerospace industry, Denver’s economy continues to thrive. But with its economic resurgence, the city must also grapple with rising housing prices and a recent spike in homelessness.
Watch the video above to learn more about how Denver Day Works is helping people like Hart and others who have fallen on hard times get a fresh start.
‘Harrowing’ Video Shows Brooklyn Inmates In Freezing Jail Cells Begging For Help – The Lawsuit filed on 2/4/19
Our friend, Steve Hampton, Esq. sent me this article. You will see here that prison officials, so accustomed to lying like hell, deny both the cause and the effect of the power outage, even though the electric company contradicts them and public officials have seen the effect!
It is an outrage that so many lawsuits have to be filed concerning prison officials willfully violating the law. It costs YOU billions of dollars annually.
Excerpts from the Article:
Inmates at a federal lockup in New York have been banging on the walls and windows of their cells to get attention from people on the street as they suffer below-freezing temperatures in their cells. New York City Councilman Justin Brannan filmed the scene on Friday at the waterfront Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, where more than 1,600 inmates are imprisoned.
“Inmates are banging on S-O-S on windows to get our attention. This is surreal,” Brannan tweeted. Later, he added: “One of the most harrowing sounds I’ve ever known.”
The administrative detention center had a partial power outage last Saturday as temperatures dropped as low as 2 degrees this week, causing several inmates to call federal defender offices, according to The New York Times. Without limited power at the jail, defense lawyers claim, inmates have been complaining of freezing cells, no hot water and no lights.
“In the past hour, I have gotten 11 calls,” paralegal Rachel Bass of Federal Defenders in Brooklyn told the Times on Thursday. “People are frantic. They’re really, really scared. They don’t have extra blankets. They don’t have access to the commissary to buy an extra sweatshirt.”
The Metropolitan Detention Center has suspended visits to the facility until further notice, according to a message on its website.
Dierdre con Dornum, the lead federal defender in Brooklyn, told The Associated Press on Friday that the inmates were currently on lockdown with no access to the computers they use to contact family and attorneys and to request prescription medications.
“My understanding is they’re fully locked down in their dark cells,” Dornum said.
Herman Quay, a spokeswoman for the jail’s warden, confirmed to the Times that there was a partial power outage but denied that the inmates housed there were affected, according to the Times. The Bureau of Prisons, which also denied that cells were lacking heat and hot water, told the Times that the electrical failure was due to emergencies with Con Edison, though the utility denied any issues. “It’s an internal problem, and their electricians will have to fix it,” Robert McGee, a Con Edison spokesman, told the paper.
In response to the Times’ story, Rep. Nydia Velazquez of New York said Friday that she was “alarmed by reports that inmates at the MDC are enduring these conditions, especially given the freezing weather this week.”
Later Friday, after a visit to the jail, the congresswoman said that some of the heat and hot water was restored but that it was not at full capacity. “Still cold & dark,” she tweeted. “As we weren’t allowed to speak with inmates, unclear if blankets are being distributed.”
I’m alarmed by reports that inmates at the MDC are enduring these conditions, especially given the freezing weather this week. I am going to visit the facility to try and ascertain firsthand what is happening. Inmates maintain they have been locked in their cells with limited heat and electricity for more than a week, defense lawyers say. The warden’s office denies the claim.
On Thursday, federal defenders filed an emergency motion to remove Dino Sanchez, an inmate from Brooklyn who was suffering from asthma in the severe cold, according to the Times. “The population was kept in their cells for 23 hours,” Benjamin Yaster, a federal defender representing Sanchez, told the paper. “He’s stuck in these cold conditions in a short-sleeved jumpsuit and a short-sleeved undershirt.” Yaster added: “He feels short of breath and is wheezing and coughing more than he normally would.”
Councilman Brannan demanded answers from jail officials after Velazquez’s visit.
“These conditions are dangerous & inhumane for workers & inmates,” he tweeted. “Families on outside especially need answers.”
Good news for Delaware! I foresee some litigation in the future regarding transgender people, with arguments interpreting this Amendment, but overall this solidifies equal rights for women … which they should have had long, long ago.
Excerpts from the Artricle:
The final vote in the Delaware State Senate for the Equal Rights Amendment cleared by a 16-5 vote top pass House Bill 1.
The words “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged on account of sex” are now part of the First State’s constitution.
State Senator Stephanie Hansen (D-Middletown) was the prime senate sponsor on the bill and remarked on the long journey to the historic moment.
“This nation has aspired to equality of rights under the law since we first announced independence, but the campaign to write and pass laws that uphold that equality has been a long one indeed,” said Hansen. “Today, we mark another triumphant step forward in one of those long battles. From this day forward, the Delaware State Constitution will unequivocally guarantee equality of rights under the law for men and women alike. While the greater campaign for equality is not nearly finished, this latest chapter marks the culmination of an effort for an Equal Rights Amendment that dates back decades. To the women and men who started this fight, and to the many Delawareans who worked so hard to move us forward today, thank you.”
House majority leader Valerie Longhurst (D-Bear) was the prime house sponsor, where the bill passed through with a 35-6 vote last week.
“With the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, we have not only set the standard for women’s equality in this moment, but for years to come. We are saying strongly and with conviction that we value a vibrant Delaware, where men and women are on an even playing field,” said Longhurst. “The battle for women’s equality has been a decades-long struggle, with advocates tirelessly fighting for rights that should be protected under the law. At long last, their dreams have come to fruition today. It has been an honor to champion this effort with Sen. Hansen, building on the work of the suffragettes and trailblazing women legislators who have come before us.”
I slept through my alarm and missed Douche Bag’s speech, but here it is (I watched it because I love America). What I expected, but even worse. I did not count the lies, but there were many.
The fact is, he’s just a damn racist bigot! That is what drives his comments on immigration, not any concern for your safety!
With the work I do, I know “a boatload” about crime and criminals, and that may be his worst lie: (a) what he says about who ICE is locking up and (b) the nature of most immigrants. His bullshit “scare tactics” make me want to puke! Go to our website for the TRUTH!
I post anti Trump comments because all responsible citizens have a duty to do so! I shall give the nitwits who respond in his defense exactly the amount of my time they are worth: NONE.
And please spare me the stupidity of saying “impeachment may backfire” because of our experience with Clinton. tRump is so clearly a lying, incompetent, dangerous fool, and everyone knows it, that there is NO chance of any “backfire”!
His Bullshit Speech: https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2019/01/08/watch_live_president_trump_addresses_the_nation_on_government_shutdown_border_wall.html
This is just what we need! NOT! There are proper and adequate laws, policies, and protection devices and procedures already in place! This is more very dangerous BULLSHIT stirred p by tRump, who, by doing so, shows that he has no confidence in our courts or our laws … neither of which he understands.
Excerpts from the Article:
Gun-carrying civilian groups and border vigilantes have heard a call to arms in President Trump’s warnings about threats to American security posed by caravans of Central American migrants moving through Mexico. They’re packing coolers and tents, oiling rifles and tuning up aerial drones, with plans to form caravans of their own and trail American troops to the border.
McGauley and others have been roused by the president’s call to restore order and defend the country against what Trump has called “an invasion,” as thousands of Central American migrants advance slowly through southern Mexico toward the U.S. border. Trump has insisted that “unknown Middle Easterners,” “very tough fighters,” and large numbers of violent criminals are traveling among the women, children and families heading north on foot.
The Texas Minutemen, according to McGauley, have 100 volunteers en route to the Rio Grande who want to help stop the migrants, with more likely on the way.
“I can’t put a number on it,” McGauley said. “My phone’s been ringing nonstop for the last seven days. You got other militias, and husbands and wives, people coming from Oregon, Indiana. We’ve even got two from Canada.”
Asked whether his group planned to deploy with weapons, McGauley laughed. “This is Texas, man,” he said.
And yet, the prospect of armed vigilantes showing up beside thousands of U.S. troops — along with Border Patrol agents, police officers and migrants — is considered serious enough that military planners have issued warnings to Army commanders.
According to military planning documents obtained by Newsweek, the military is concerned about the arrival of “unregulated militia members self-deploying to the border in alleged support” of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
President Trump’s misleading claims about the caravan of migrants headed toward the U.S. is a mirror image of his 2016 campaign tactics.
The assessment estimates that 200 militia members could show up. “They operate under the guise of citizen patrols,” the report said, while warning of “incidents of unregulated militias stealing National Guard equipment during deployments.”
Several landowners in the area said they do not want the militias around.
Michael Vickers, a veterinarian and rancher who lives an hour north of the border in Falfurrias, said that he will not let militia members from outside the area onto his property and that he doubts most area landowners would trust outsiders.
“They are a bunch of guys with a big mouth and no substance to them,” said Vickers, a Republican who heads the 300-strong Texas Border Volunteers. The group doesn’t call itself a militia, although it patrols ranchland to intercept migrants who hike through the brush to attempt to avoid Border Patrol checkpoints. The group uses ATVs, night-vision goggles, spotlights and trained dogs.
As the migrant caravans head north, she and other landowners in the area worry that the number of trespassers walking through their ranches will increase dramatically. But many say the militias coming to the area also pose a threat. “I will not let militia on my land,” Kruse said. “They’re civilians stepping into a situation where the Border Patrol is supposed to be in control and make decisions. They could damage property or harm workers. I would guess they would be trigger-happy. If they shot someone, they might just say the person they shot was reaching for a gun.”
“The militia just needs to stay where they are,” said Metz, a Republican. “We don’t need fanatical people. We don’t need anybody here with guns. Why do they have guns? I have dealt with illegals for 30 years, and all of them have been scared, asking for help. The militias need to stay up north where they belong. We have no use for them here. They might shoot someone or hurt someone.”
In HBO documentary ‘The Sentence,’ Rudy Valdez shows family fallout from mandatory prison sentencing – “I had the opportunity to tell the story you don’t see when people are incarcerated, the stories of the families and children left behind.”
I am all too familiar with the injustices mentioned here.
Here we see the idiocy and the futility of the tRump administration’s position on mandatory sentences. Although all studies show that such sentences do NOT reduce crime, cause widespread injustice, are now opposed by most judges, and are opposed by 87% of Americans, Jeff Sessions and Doofus Donald do not “get it”! We must get them OUT!
Excerpts from the Article:
Rudy Valdez’ film begins with a typical family scene. A young girl is preparing for a dance recital, as her father helps her and her little sisters get ready. An uncle films the occasion for a home movie. The girls’ mother tells them how much she loves them. But she is not with her daughters in their Midwestern home. She is only a voice on the phone, because Mom is incarcerated.
This juxtaposition of family life and the criminal justice system is at the heart of “The Sentence,” a documentary airing Monday on HBO. Filmmaker Valdez draws from hundreds of hours of footage to show how the imprisonment of his sister, Cindy Shank — a result of mandatory minimum sentencing laws — affected their entire family over the course of nearly a decade.
Cindy Shank’s conviction stemmed from a prior relationship, with her then-boyfriend, Alex, a drug dealer who was murdered in 2002. When police officers searched the home that the couple shared, they found guns, drugs and a large amount of cash.
As a result, Shank was charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine. She turned down a plea deal, and the government seemingly dropped the case. Shank moved on with her life — until the federal government issued a warrant for her arrest in 2007. Under the mandatory minimum sentencing laws, in 2008 she was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
“I was just planning to make home movies of the family, so she could see later what she was missing,” he said. “Then when I was filming the dance recital, it clicked for me: I had the opportunity to tell the story you don’t see when people are incarcerated, the stories of the families and children left behind.”
In fact, Valdez had never made a film before. “The first thing I ever shot, the first thing I ever rolled on, was this film,” he said. “I literally went out and bought ‘Filmmaking For Dummies’ to start learning what I needed to know.” He took jobs on film sets to learn more about the process of making a movie.
All the while, Valdez was filming Shank’s daughters as they grew up without her, as well as her husband and parents. Cindy Shank’s oldest daughter says about her mother in the film, “I think about her every second of the day and the night.” Shank’s mother observes that, “When you have someone like that locked up, you’re locked up, too.”
Through the process of turning his home movies into a film, Valdez became an activist for his sister and others like her. But he did not intend for the film to focus on her goal of obtaining clemency; he wanted it to be part of a movement for systemic change. “The goal was to show time, what these sentences do to a family, to kids, and what the true ramifications of these crazy sentences are.”
Mandatory minimum sentences took hold at the end of the 1980s. Prior to these laws, judges had discretion in sentencing, and could take into account extenuating factors. Once sentencing guidelines became mandatory, judges had no such discretion, even in cases involving nonviolent drug offenses.
Studies have shown that harsher sentences and higher rates of incarceration do not have a big impact on crime. Despite this, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has stated that mandatory minimum sentences help protect the country from violent crime. Last year, he rescinded an Obama-era memo that advised prosecutors to avoid charges for low-level drug offenders, and criminal justice reformers are worried that he will restart the so-called war on drugs.
Mandatory minimum sentences disproportionately affect Latinos. A 2017 report from the U.S. Sentencing Commission found that Hispanics constituted the largest group of offenders — 40 percent — convicted of an offense carrying a mandatory minimum penalty. This is why some Latino advocates have rallied around the issue of sentencing reform.
“Cindy’s case is not an outlier,” said Kevin Ring, president of Families Against Mandatory Minimums. “There is a whole category of cases like hers, enough that people refer to it as ‘the girlfriend problem,’ whereby a criminal’s girlfriend or partner can be held fully liable for his crimes.”
Ring sees “The Sentence” as an opportunity to inform people about the criminal justice system. “The film does a marvelous job showing the human cost of our sentencing laws. This is about a family coping with their circumstances, and we encounter thousands of families like this every year.”
“The Sentence” won the U.S. Documentary Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival this year, and Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) hosted a screening of the film on Capitol Hill in July.
January poll by the Justice Action Network found that 87 percent of voters strongly support replacing mandatory minimum prison sentences for non-violent offenders with a system that allows judges more discretion.
For Cindy Shank, watching “The Sentence” was an emotional experience. “To be honest, it was devastating the first time I saw it, because I saw how much I’d missed of my daughters’ lives,” she said. “I probably really saw only half of it, because I was crying through the other half.”
After Shank spent nearly nine years behind bars, her sentence was commuted by President Obama and she was released in December 2016.
Shank hopes that “The Sentence” helps people think about who we are imprisoning, and why. “I could be anybody’s sister, wife, mother or daughter. I was blessed to have a brother fighting for me, who wouldn’t stop, but how many people have that?”
Anyone who knows what goes on in prisons knows this policy will needlessly cause inmate deaths! There are other, better ways to prepare inmates for reentry.
Excerpts from the Article:
More than half a dozen people protested outside the California Rehabilitation Center in Norco, two days after a riot that they claim was caused by a new state policy that went into effect there earlier this week. “His life is in danger,” said Desiree Rubio, of Ontario. She’s talking about her husband, who’s incarcerated at the Norco facility. “He has about two and a half years to go, and we’ve come this far to have this happen!?”
Rubio is referring to a new policy by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, in which the general prison population is being reintegrated with those with sensitive needs. In other words, the general prison population will be sharing facilities with those prisoners serving time for child molestation, or those who’ve cooperated with law enforcement.
“You’re putting both of them at risk,” Rubio said. “It’s like putting a cat in a dog’s cage. So you’re putting his life at risk.” The CDCR said the policy went into effect in Norco earlier this week. That’s when the riot broke out.
“I saw a few ambulances with inmates inside, as well as guards,” Rubio said. “Why was there an ambulance here? And why was there an inmate in there?”
The CDCR said the policy started going into effect across the state earlier this year. “The ultimate goal of doing these integrated yards is to prepare inmates for their eventual return to society,” Waters said. “The sensitive-needs yards have become unsustainable, and just as violent as general population yards.
“Overall, the system is working to a large degree across the state. But we have had some acts of violence during integration, none that have resulted in any serious injuries to either staff or inmates.”
None of the protestors who spoke with Eyewitness News said their family members who are incarcerated at the Norco facility were present for the riot. And none of their family members were hurt.
But they said they still haven’t been able to get to the bottom of what happened because all of those involved in the riot are on lockdown and not allowed to speak with family members for the time being.
Another consequence of our ignoring mental illness + too many guns = disaster!
And soooo wrong: READ Remember the Good Cops- Most Cops ARE the Good Cops!
Excerpts from the Article:
The Vietnam veteran and disbarred lawyer accused of shooting seven law enforcement officers, killing one, bragged online about his marksmanship and love for the “smell of gunpowder” in the years before the deadly standoff, records and social media posts unearthed Thursday showed.
Frederick Hopkins lost his law license in the 1980s for mishandling money and faced several minor criminal charges in recent years, including disorderly conduct in 2014. It was around the time of his disbarment that he got serious about amateur target-shooting, according to the records and posts.
More details also emerged about the two-hour standoff in which authorities say Hopkins’ gunfire prevented officers from rescuing comrades who lay bleeding on the ground. The slain officer, a 30-year veteran, was tearfully described as the “epitome of a community police officer” by his chief. Two wounded city officers were released from the hospital. A third officer was listed in serious but stable condition, the police chief said. He said he did not know the conditions of three wounded sheriff’s deputies.
Hopkins is accused of opening fire Wednesday from his home in an affluent South Carolina neighborhood after deputies tried to carry out a search warrant. He also allegedly held children hostage inside, authorities said. It was not clear exactly how the confrontation ended. Authorities would say only that the gunman released the children as he was taken into custody, authorities said. Hopkins was hospitalized with a head injury and unable to speak with officers, Columbia, South Carolina, television station WIS reported Thursday. The warrant involved an accusation that a 27-year-old person at the home sexually assaulted a foster child who lives there, Florence County Chief Deputy Glenn Kirby said.
“I have been shooting competitively since 1984 and lovin’ it. I just love the smell of gunpowder in the mornin’s,” the post said.
His competitive shooting would have begun around the time he lost his law license over $18,000 in wrongfully collected attorney fees. A court order shows that the state Supreme Court in 1984 allowed Hopkins to pay back the debt over time and surrender his license rather than complete a six-month jail term.
Court documents also show that he was injured in Vietnam and received disability payments. The filing does not elaborate on the injury.
During the standoff, the sheriff’s armored personnel carrier was brought in to recover the wounded. “Fire was being shot all over. The way this suspect was positioned, his view of fire was several hundred yards. So he had an advantage,” Florence County Sheriff Kenney Boone told reporters.
The slain officer, Terrence Carraway, 52, of Darlington, was just shy of 31 years of service with the Florence Police Department. Heidler described Carraway as the “epitome of a community police officer” and a guy who “laughed all the time.” Carraway “was a giant of a man, but he was the proverbial gentle giant, and I loved him,” the police chief said.
Authorities did not identify any of the wounded officers. The violence stunned the area, where many people have been dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. Florence, a city of 37,000 in South Carolina’s northeastern corner, sits at the convergence of Interstates 95 and 20 northwest of the state’s well-known “Grand Strand” of beaches.