About 5 years ago, when I started my current efforts to improve the criminal justice system and to help thousands of people being unjustly harmed by it, VERY FEW people were discussing the problems. Today, although our overall prison population has decreased by only about 2%, we are seeing changes … some big, many small, nowhere near enough … but it IS happening. The failed “war on drugs”, prison abuse, mandatory minimum sentences, out of control “piss-poor” lawyers, folks are focusing on all of the issues.
Why? Here’s why: People have persisted in getting the word out!!
Here is what usually happens:
Your loved one in prison is abused by prison staff … beaten for no reason (he has mental health problems, and he “talked back” to a nurse) , left with broken bones and told that if he tries to go to the infirmary he will be beaten again! [If you don’t think this happens, you are clueless about what goes on in our prisons!]. So you complain to the prison, call 4o law firms, none of whom will take your case, notify your elected officials, and you even join a demonstration and post about the incident all over Facebook. For a few weeks or months, and then you give up!
Here is what you MUST DO:
Commit to stay with the problem and get it solved! Sure, prison abuse is one of the most difficult problems in the system to solve, but, like any problem, it can be solved! Read Why only PROSECUTION and IMPRISONMENT Will Stop Prison Abuse! Demand It!! How to Avoid the Deaths of More Prison Guards! and see the ACTION PLAN! Join a group like Citizens for Criminal JUSTICE, and do something every month – it may take you a half hour! – to help fix the system and thus improve America! Please take a moment to JOIN our Facebook group Citizens for Criminal JUSTICE if you have not already! https://www.facebook.com/groups/588838431158009/
This website is loaded with great practical tips and the solutions for every problem. Read, for example: Get Empowered! How YOU Can Create a Powerful, Effective Force for Reform of our Criminal Justice System
But, dabnabbit wabbit, you have got to STICK TO IT! 🙂
Folks, it took more than 40 years for the problems to form – I remember when the system worked well, as it should! – and no significant change will happen fast. YOU MUST NOT EXPECT MIRACLES, AND YOU MUST NOT UNDERESTIMATE YOUR SIGNIFICANCE IN THE FIGHT FOR JUSTICE. You CAN make a difference!
T. T. T.
Put up in a place
where it’s easy to see
the cryptic admonishment
T. T. T.
When you feel how depressingly
slowly you climb,
it’s well to remember that
Things Take Time! T T T
Innocent, on Death Row, exonerated! A huge statement about the level of dysfunction – injustice – in the criminal justice system! Outrageous!
The inmate-produced show “Ear Hustle,” set at San Quentin state prison in California, will tell stories of daily life behind bars.
Thanks, Jim Panos, for sending me this one.
Because the production is edited by the prison, I doubt that they will talk about prison abuse! Nonetheless, this is a great project: The more that the public knows about prisons and prisoners, the better, and the greater likelihood for change!
Excerpts from the Article:
This week, the podcast network Radiotopia will launch the first episode of”Ear Hustle,” a podcast produced at San Quentin State Prison. Each of the first season’s ten episodes, running every other week, will delve into a different corner of life inside: cellmates, pets, family relationships, fashion. The much-anticipated series already has been hovering at the top of the iTunes podcast charts.
“Ear Hustle”—slang for eavesdropping—is a collaboration between Earlonne Woods and Antwan Williams, both prisoners at San Quentin, and Nigel Poor, a Bay Area visual artist who teaches photography classes at the prison. Williams, 29, has served more than ten years on a 15-year sentence for armed robbery. Woods, 45, has served more than 19 years of a 31-years–to-life sentence for attempted second-degree robbery. Their chemistry is one of the best parts of the show: the three share a deep rapport that is at times funny, frank, and raw.
But it’s still a prison. The media lab has no internet access or telephones. And all the episodes must be vetted by the facility’s public information officer. “This is Lt. Sam Robinson,” he intones at the end of each episode, “and I approve this story.” But Robinson insists, “I’m not in a position to censor what’s in these guys’ hearts. Our only issue is public safety.”
San Quentin is famous for its newspaper. How is your approach different than a newspaper reporter’s?
Antwan Williams: With the News, for as long as they’ve been in business it’s been about facts. They pride themselves on being professional journalists. We wanted to be a little more creative, to shed light on what it’s like in prison, what day to day life is like in here. The little moments that create prison. They’re hilarious, some are very tender. Some are heartbreaking. It’s a lot of those small moments that not only bring out the humanity in us, but it shows a different side to who these incarcerated men are.
The subject matter, at least on its face, is not explicitly political. Did you choose to not make a political podcast?
If people don’t know exactly who it is that’s incarcerated—if they don’t know people on a personal level—it’s hard to care about the laws that dictate the lives in here. We can try to get to rules that are bigger than us, as far as sentencing reform, juveniles, three strikes. But if we don’t know who they affect, how can we begin to ask people to care about it? We think putting names and faces to the people that are incarcerated, it is speaking towards the politics. People start to think, “You remind me of my son, my father, a brother of mine, of my best friends.” That will make them interested in being more involved in the political side of prison.
Antwan Williams: That’s the hard part for us, is not just telling a story because it sounds good, or because it’s powerful, or it tugs at your heartstrings. But telling a story that actually sheds light on prison. We want to bring more of the truth out.
What do you want listeners to know about you, as people, going into this show?
Antwan Williams: We’re just average people, suspended in animation.
Folks, click on Prison Abuse and learn much more about one of the most tragic aspects of our criminal justice system: Private Prisons!
Practical Tip: Did You Know? If you use illegal drugs you might well lose parental rights to your minor children B4 you can say: “Holy Shit! How did that haappen?!”
I got involved with helping folks dealing with CPS because they are JUST AS WILDLY OUT OF CONTROL AS THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM, as the short story below and THOUSANDS OF OTHERS will attest!
These cases ruin the lives not only of Mom and/or Dad, but of the innocent kids!*
I just got another call like DOZENS of others I have received. [Unfortunately, many of these folks are referred to me after “the shit has hit the fan”! ] A young Mom got hooked on meth. She placed her kids with the grandparents, knowing she was not able to be the good mom she was B4 drugs entered the scene. Then she got arrested for V O P =- using again “one last time”. Long story made short: Because neither she nor the grandparents could afford a good attorney, CPS entered without a warrant, and took all three of those kids and terminated Mom’s rights B4 she even knew it…. she was in prison. Then they terminated the rights to another one while she was in prison! They LIE, they file FALSE reports… it is in too many cases a state agency run amok, just like D O C! If you don’t think so you are woefully uninformed.
She now is fighting for visitation with the one remaining 9-year-old. She id doing great: no meth, has a home, and is already a supervisor at the Denny’s where she works. Her great success did not happen “by magic”. This mother of 5 has worked very hard to get where she is today; she was released from probation more than 4 years early for doing so well in her treatment and everything else!
Sadly, it is damn near impossible to get your kids back after the CPS jackasses terminate your rights, There should be a powerful FREE law firm who will help, but there is none. The best you can do is READ THIS: http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/practical-tip-affordable-legal-help/ – AFFORDABLE LEGAL HELP
READ How to Fight CPS AND WATCH THE VIDEO – BELOW! … If the grandparents in the story above had read this, CPS never would have gotten the kids!
THESE are the two most important and most effective things you can do to fix any problem in our criminal justice system. NOTE: Both involve SPEAKING OUT! 🙂
Click the tab on Letters to the Editor! Type keys words in the search bar and peruse this website. Everything you need is right here! ANY question, CALL me at 302-423-4067! 🙂
This video is “way cool” … about the rebirth of the Brooklyn Navy Yard and about some of the most amazing inventions/activities occurring there today; some of the “neatest” stuff I have ever seen. But there is a bigger message.
Closely related is DEPRESSION, and bouncing back from depression. I DO know about depression, and that it is a very serious mental illness, requires medication, and can be debilitating. I have talked to many “experts”, known many people with it, read many books and articles on it, and I have experienced it myself. For about 6 months in 1990 or ’91 [when my wife filed for divorce and our son was only 1 year old] I was seriously depressed. Took effexor (sp?), did not like the side effects [mood swings] so I discontinued it. Was so bad at times that I would not get out of bed for 3 0r 4 days.
Many people are depressed to the extent of needing help and do not realize it. The disabled or chronically ill often are depressed.
Miraculously, I recovered, have not been depressed since. Even, to my astonishment, during the five years when I was imprisoned, most of the time [more than 4 years] totally unlawfully, with the COs doing all sorts of additional horrible things to me [to be described in my book! 🙂 ] besides stealing 4 years of my life.
Depression is a tricky, not well understood, hard to diagnose and treat properly, widespread mental problem. However, there are bouts of depression which “pop up” and can, with a little self-discipline, be “defeated”, or overcome. Some examples are: A) you have a loved one in prison … you have been coping quite well, all things considered … and then, out of the blue [no particular “triggering” cause] one day you just about break down, maybe even cry, and think things like “I can’t take this anymore”. This is quite natural; a buildup of all of your sorrow over the situation has come gushing out. How to overcome it? Just realize what has happened – the “gushing” – , focus on some of your many blessings, such as “he/she is ok” … and will yourself back to normal. Perhaps talk with your minister. YOU are in control of your attitude, but “hiccups” are inevitable. B) You see something – any object or perhaps a photograph – that triggers memories of a particularly sad time in your life – divorce, the loss of a loved one – and you have a similar “gushing” of emotion. That too is “normal” and you recover the same way!
If you think you may be depressed, don’t be too embarrassed or afraid to ask for help. MY NUMBER IS 302-423-4067; CALL ANY TIME.
I am no “shrink”, but I just called a friend of mine who is and read him this. and he said: “Ken, that is spot-on! Good job.”
I am not here to drum up business; I am here to help people. But IF you have a loved one in prison and you want to talk to me about trying to get him out early [he must have 3 or more years remaining on his/her sentence], just CALL 302-423-4067. It is what I specialize in and I shall explain it all to you, answer all questions, at no cost. At least you will then have a real understanding of your options. Have pen and paper handy and plan on 10 to 15 minutes.
Of course, it is not unusual that many inmates are depressed. This is WHY I say so often to those who contact me: “Remind him to keep his spirits UP!” YOUR encouragement and positive attitude makes a big difference in a place filled with such negativity! I know … I have SEEN it. And if you are thinking, “oh, no it doesn’t, he’s still down in the dumps” I tell you FLAT OUT that you are wrong! Imagine how bad he’d be if you were not encouraging him!! IT MAKES A DIFFERENCE. 🙂
Some of the “neatest” stuff I have ever seen also is the way some people – many people, BOUNCE BACK from the most calamitous “life events”.
Very often, one simply cannot do it alone. Just can’t be done. HOWEVER, with help from others [Read Reentry -Ask For Help] and help from above [See my video on The Importance of Faith]
So … never, ever, ever think “it can’t be done”. Because it CAN!
Chris Epps – Former Prison Commissioner – sentenced to almost 20 years – This is EXACTLY What is Needed! kra
I have posted other articles about him. This long sentence is exactly what is needed. READ Why only PROSECUTION and IMPRISONMENT Will Stop Prison Abuse! Demand It!! How to Avoid the Deaths of More Prison Guards!
He likely will spend his entire sentence in an isolation cell (“protective custody”) because if in the population an inmate may well kill him.
Excerpts from the Article:
It was said Chris Epps could sell ice to Eskimos and for years had lawmakers and governors eating out of his hand with his folksy, straight-shooting style and deep knowledge of the state prison system he ran. He rose through the ranks from prison guard to the longest serving corrections commissioner in Mississippi’s history. But Wednesday, a shackled Epps with graying hair, looking nothing like the man who wore expensive suits and drove a Mercedes, got no love from U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate. Wingate sentenced Epps, 56, to just shy of 20 years in prison and fined him $100,000 for running one of the largest and longest criminal conspiracies in the state’s history.
The prosecution had recommended 13 years.
His fall from grace began in November 2014 when a 49-count federal indictment accused Epps, accusing of taking at least $1.4 million in bribes and kickbacks to steer more than $800 million worth of state prison contracts. Epps pleaded guilty in February 2015 to bribery and filing a false income tax return. He faced a maximum 23 years in prison.
“This is not a simple crime,” Wingate said in sentencing Epps. “This is the largest graft operation in the state of Mississippi, definitely the largest I have seen. Mr. Epps betrayed the state of Mississippi.”
Wingate said the gross value of the contracts Epps received kickbacks on was $868 million.
Wingate said of Epps: “It’s staggering, his criminal conduct.”
“He was able to have expensive homes and a vacation home; he was able to afford luxury cars and have fat bank accounts,” Wingate said of Epps’ illegal activity. “Mississippi is still in shock. It was an act of betrayal. He has bruised the image of Mississippi and given joy to many of the inmates he’s overseen who can now say the head of the state prison system was just as corrupt as any of them.”
Epps was first appointed commissioner by Democratic Gov. Ronnie Musgrove and reappointed by Republican Govs. Haley Barbour and Phil Bryant.
In his decision not to accept the prosecution’s 13-year sentence recommendation, Wingate said to do so would ignore the burglary Epps committed while out on bond. Epps’ bond was revoked in November after Flowood police arrested him for allegedly removing lights and a control panel from the more than $300,000 home he forfeited to the federal government in the bribery case. Epps had been out on bond awaiting sentencing in the corruption case when the crime occurred.
Epps has been cooperating with the government since a June 24, 2014, meeting with the FBI, about five months before the 49-count indictment against him and Rankin County businessman Cecil McCrory was unsealed and made public.
FBI Special Agent Ty Breedlove testified in court Wednesday that Epps was one of the best sources he has ever had, giving him a grade of 10 out of 10 for cooperation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Darren LaMarca told Wingate prosecutors were making the recommendation of 13 years because of the substantial cooperation Epps has given in the case. Wingate said he had to consider the positive as well as the negative in sentencing Epps. He said the prison system is like a miniature city and that the state has to provide for all the inmates, leading to the various contracts Epps was able to influence.
That cooperation led to charges against others.
In addition to Epps and McCrory, others charged are former state Sen. Irb Benjamin of Madison; Teresa Malone, the wife of former lawmaker and former House Corrections Chairman Bennett Malone; Texas businessman Mark Longoria; Dr. Carl Reddix; business and government consultant Robert Simmons; former MDOC insurance broker Guy E. “Butch” Evans; and prison consultant Sam Waggoner. Evans and Malone are the only two who haven’t pleaded guilty. Colette and prosecutors said Epps’ cooperation could lead to charges against six or seven others, including some out of state.
Epps has complained about being kept in solitary confinement for his safety in a Mason, Tennessee, corrections facility while jailed for violating terms of his bond. He was moved to the Madison County Detention last week to await sentencing.
2002 — Chris Epps is appointed Mississippi Department of Corrections commissioner.
Nov. 2, 2007 — Epps signs a no-bid MDOC contract with G.T. Enterprises, a company owned by co-defendant Cecil McCrory.
2007 — Epps solicits money from McCrory in exchange for the contract with G.T. Enterprises.
2007 — Epps receives from McCrory cash payments of $3,000 to $4,000 on some 15 occasions for the contract.
March 2008 — Epps approves the assignment held by McCrory’s company, G.T. Enterprises, to Keefe Commissary LLC, resulting in a large profit for McCrory.
2008 — Epps solicits McCrory to pay off Epps’ home mortgage.
July 25, 2008 — McCrory purchases a cashier’s check in the amount of $100,000 from his personal bank account at Community Bank, payable to Countrywide Bank, which holds the mortgage on Epps’ Flowood home.
Oct. 2, 2008 — McCrory purchases a second cashier’s check in the amount of $100,000 from his personal bank account of $100,000 at Community Bank, payable to Countrywide Bank for Epps’ Flowood home mortgage.
Oct. 24, 2008 — Epps signs a lease between MDOC and College Street Leasing, a company owned by McCrory.
Dec. 9, 2008 — Epps signs a lease between MDOC and McCrory’s company, College Street Leasing, for the use of land and facilities upon which to operate a new inmate transition facility for males in Walnut Grove.
Jan. 5, 2009 — McCrory purchases a third cashier’s check from his personal bank account in the amount of $50,000 payable to Countrywide to apply to Epps’ Flowood home mortgage.
April 2, 2009 — Epps and McCrory sign a lease between MDOC and College Street Leasing for the use of land and faciilties to operate an inmate transition facility for females in Walnut Grove.
July 16, 2009 — Epps and McCrory sign a contract awarded by MDOC to McCrory’s company, American Transition Services, to operate and manage the men’s facility at the Walnut Grove Transition Center.
July 28, 2009 — McCrory purchases a fourth cashier’s check in the amount of $101,309.81 payable to Bank of America Home Loan Servicing, which has succeeded Countrywide Bank, to pay off Epps’ home loan.
July 2009 — After Epps’ home has been completely paid off by McCrory, Epps tells McCrory he can get anything he wants in the future from MDOC through him.
July 2009 — Epps deposits $9,000 cash each in four different banking accounts.
Aug. 15, 2009 — Epps and McCrory sign a contract awarded by MDOC to McCrory’s company to operate the women’s facility at Walnut Grove Transition Center.
July 29, 2010 — Epps signs a contract awarded by MDOC to Adminpros LLC, a company that paid McCrory.
2010 — Leake County Sheriff Greg Waggoner said he went to the FBI after receiving complaints.
Jan. 24, 2011 — Epps signs MDOC contract awarded to Adminpros.
July 29, 2011 — Epps signs MDOC contract awarded to Adminpros.
Fall 2011 — State auditor’s office receives a complaint and launches an investigation, leading to collaborative investigation with federal and state authorities and the Leake County Sheriff’s Department.
July 2012 — Epps signs MDOC contract awarded to Adminpros.
August 2012 — Epps signs a contract awarded by MDOC to Management and Training Corp., a company that Epps persuaded to hire McCrory as a consultant.
Aug. 21, 2012 — McCrory wires $34,000 from his business account at Merchant & Farmers Bank directly to Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, which holds the loan for Epps’ condominium in Biloxi.
Sept. 14, 2012 — Epps signs a contract awarded by MDOC to Management & Training Corp.
Sept. 25, 2012 — McCrory wires $14,000 from his business account at Merchant & Farmers Bank directly to Wells Fargo Home Mortgage to pay down Epps’ condominium loan in Biloxi.
Oct. 18, 2012 — Epps signs a no-bid contract to Management & Training Corp.
Feb. 14, 2013 — McCrory wires $40,000 from his business account to Epps’ Edward Jones investment account, labeling it as a wire transaction for a consignment sale of farm equipment.
July 15, 2013 — Epps signs a no-bid contract to Management & Training Corp.
July 17, 2013 — Epps writes a letter to the State Personnel Board requesting “sole source procurement” for Adminpros, resulting in the company being awarded a no-bid contract.
Sept. 4, 2013 — McCrory wires $50,000 from his business account to Epps’ Edward Jones investment account.
Oct. 8, 2013 — Epps writes a letter to the State Personnel Board stating Adminpros was the only vendor that performs Medicaid eligibility services for inmates, resulting in a no-bid contract.
Aug. 5, 2014 — Sealed 49-count indictment is filed in U.S. District Court in Jackson against Epps and McCrory.
Nov. 5, 2014 — Epps resigns as MDOC commissioner.
Nov. 6, 2014 — Indictment against Epps and McCrory is unsealed.
Feb. 2015 — Epps pleads guilty to a bribery count and a tax count.
Nov. 1, 2016— Epps is charged with burglary of an uninhabited dwelling by Flowood police after he allegedly removes outside lights and a panel that controlled them from his old home that had been forfeited to the government as part of his guilty plea.
Nov. 4, 2016 — Epps’ bond is revoked. He is placed in jail until sentencing.
Feb. 3, 2017 — McCrory is sentenced to 8.5 years in prison.
May 24, 2017— Epps is sentenced to 19.7 years in prison.
Yeah, ask me how I really feel! This guy makes most politicians look honest!
Trumpsters swallowed his campaign bullshit hook, line, and sinker; they bought all of his lies about “looking out for the little guy”, “the ordinary worker”. Well most of us never believed his crap in the first place, but now it is crystal clear that Trump is a Flat Out Ignorant Liar Who Deserves NO Respect!
Still believe Trump?!! READ This Explains Everything
Why is this here and why care about Trump? Because his policies are antithetical to fairness in our criminal justice system!
As I have said in several articles on this subject, jailhouse informants’ testimony is always suspect must be thoroughly probed by cross-examination. Of course that cannot happen when 99% of cases end in a plea bargain; there never is a trial! 🙁 The prosecutors who encourage snitches to lie should be shot!
Excerpts from the Article:
Jailhouse informant Mark Cleveland says deputies planted snitches near high-profile targets and guided them to fish for info that might help prosecutors’ cases.
Orange County DA Tony Rackauckas tells 60 Minutes the allegations are “simply not true.” His office and the sheriff’s department are under investigation.
Orange County, California—an hour south of Los Angeles—is best known for its wealthy, sprawling suburbs, tony beach communities and Disneyland. But lately, it has drawn unwanted attention from the California attorney general and the U.S. Department of Justice for the way its prosecutors use informants in its jails. Used correctly, informants can be valuable assets to law enforcement to help bolster their cases. Misused, their work can backfire, upsetting the scales of justice, reversing convictions, and freeing guilty criminals. That’s what’s happening in Orange County.
This is a story of two snitches. One who remains in jail. The other, is back on the streets. But now he’s snitching on the prosecutors he once loyally served.
Sharyn Alfonsi: How many times have you been arrested? Mark Cleveland: Numerous. Numerous, numerous. Sharyn Alfonsi: Five, 10, 15? Mark Cleveland: –over 100. Let’s say over 100.
Mark Cleveland is a career criminal. A life of drug addiction etches his face and gave him a rap sheet nearly as textured. Forty years of petty crimes, burglaries…a hit and run. Sharyn Alfonsi: How are you out? Mark Cleveland: Because I am extremely good at providing information to the Sherriff’s Department and the District Attorney’s office and have been for years. Cleveland was a jailhouse informant — a snitch. He ratted on other inmates in exchange for time off his sentence.
Sharyn Alfonsi: You were able to knock how much off your sentence? Mark Cleveland: Well…40 years… Sharyn Alfonsi: Because you were such a good informant? Mark Cleveland: Yeah.
We met Cleveland at a hotel. He keeps a low profile these days fearful that former jail mates may be seek retribution for betraying them. During his decades behind bars, Cleveland says he was willing to do almost anything law enforcement asked of him because he wanted out.
Mark Cleveland: The problem is the desperation to get out, and the willingness of the district attorney to use us. And unreliability– the propensity for unreliability is huge. I mean, we want outta jail, willing to do anything. And you’re— Sharyn Alfonsi: And willing to say anything. Mark Cleveland: And say anything, right. Sharyn Alfonsi: Snitches will lie? Mark Cleveland: Oh, snitches do lie every opportunity they– if they need to, they will. It’s about getting outta jail. What do I have to do to get outta jail?
Cleveland explains he was part of a sophisticated, secret network of informants, tightly organized and directed by law enforcement inside the Orange County jails. He says it worked like this: jail deputies would plant snitches like him near high-profile targets. Then, the deputies guided them to fish for information that might help bolster the prosecutors’ cases.
What Cleveland is describing is unconstitutional. The integrity of the justice system is based on everybody following the rules. If an inmate just happens to hear and pass on incriminating information to prosecutors…that’s OK. But inmates cannot be planted and directed to gather information from someone who’s already been charged with a crime. If they do that, they are illegally acting as agents of law enforcement, which is exactly how Mark Cleveland saw himself.
Tony Rackauckas: Well, look, we had a really good case, no question about it. When you listen to what it was that he had to say to Perez, it was a very clear statement of his– of– of what it was he was doing. His intent, his malice, his reasons. Under mounting public and political pressure, the district attorney appointed a Blue Ribbon panel to look into what happened. Sharyn Alfonsi: They described the office as a “must-win mentality,” they described your office as a “ship without a rudder.” They said, “There’s been a failure of leadership.”
Tony Rackauckas: The office did not withhold evidence; we have not withheld any evidence. He told us that even after the judge disagreed. The judge ruled jail deputies—working for the DA’s office– “intentionally lied or willfully withheld material evidence” about the secret informant program.
The judge went on to say that even if the prosecutors didn’t know deputies were hiding evidence, they should have. And then the judge went even further…convinced Dekraai could not get a fair trial from Orange County prosecutors he kicked the entire office, all 275 of them, his entire office, off the case.
Dekraai still hasn’t been sentenced and the informant debacle has led to a half-dozen cases unraveling, putting murderers and thugs back on the street.
The U.S. Department of Justice, the California attorney general and a local grand jury are all now investigating both the DA’s office and the sheriff’s department.