Immigrant Prisons — 440,000 Locked Up Each Year, Billions In Profit = Obscene, Unjust, and Cruel! kra
Jaws dropped when I gave a short talk in Wilmington, DE, a few months ago, about the inhumane conditions of “detainment” in ICE private prisons. Most folks have no idea what really goes on, but you should, because IT IS YOUR GOVERNMENT AT ITS WORST!
Excerpts from the Article:
Few Americans know about our nation’s system of immigrant detention centers. Each year, the U.S. government locks up roughly 440,000 immigrants in over 200 immigrant prisons. These facilities have grown into a highly privatized, lucrative and abusive industry that profits off the misery of immigrants awaiting deportation. Here at Brave New Films, we’re doing everything we can to expose the abuses of the deportation industrial complex. In our new film, Immigrant Prisons, we explore conditions inside the detention centers, exposing substandard medical care, widespread physical and sexual abuse, virtual slave labor working conditions and more. These abuses happen behind closed doors with little to no oversight.
Our film, created in partnership with advocates for detainee rights, is shining a light on a particularly dark corner of the American justice system. Watch now and share with friends.
It’s important to remember that immigration detention is a civil form of confinement. “This is not criminal custody, this is not someone who’s been convicted of a crime,” says attorney James Fife of the Federal Defenders of San Diego. “This is just someone who’s being held for the government’s convenience so that the person’s available” for processing, said Fife.
Unlike with criminals who have been convicted of a crime, there’s no time limit on how long people can be held at immigration detention centers. It’s hard to believe, but immigrants can be locked up indefinitely without a criminal offense or bond hearing. In the film we highlight the case of a Kenyan immigrant, Sylvester, who spent 9 years and 4 months in immigration detention. Another immigrant describes her time in detention as being “like a legal kidnapping.”
Immigrant detention centers are overseen by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, a division of the Department of Homeland Security. Since ICE was created in 2003, there have been 177 confirmed deaths in detention centers. Medical neglect is the greatest contributing factor.
In the film, we speak with Gerard, a former detainee who almost died during his 11 months at a California facility. He was denied medical care for two weeks as a severe infection spread in his body. The private facility managers kept ignoring his requests until it was nearly too late. Such medical neglect contributed to nearly half all of deaths in immigrant prisons.
Adding insult to injury, detainees at for-profit detention centers are often coerced into working for virtually no money. The for-profit companies that run the facilities have all the wrong incentives and a captive workforce at their disposal. The food they provide detainees is frequently so inadequate that detainees feel they have no choice but to work for $1 a day to buy additional food from the commissary, often at inflated prices. Fialho doesn’t mince words about this practice: “Detention centers are starving people into working in order to then cut staff salaries.”
The two largest private detention center operators, CCA and Geo Group, got started in the 1980s. In fact, CCA’s very first contract was for locking up immigrants. In the past twenty years, the two companies have made over $12 billion in profits, largely from immigrant detention.
Wrongful death lawsuits and class action lawsuits alleging forced labor have helped expose abuses at private immigrant prisons, but systemic reforms are needed. Stock in CCA and Geo Group slid after the Obama administration moved to end the use of private prisons by the federal government, but the stocks rocketed up after the 2016 election. President Trump, who received major contributions from the private prison industry, reversed President Obama’s order on private prison use and has proposed a 25% increase in ICE’s budget.
Immigrant Prisons is our first film on the deportation industrial complex. In future films we’ll explore how private prison companies promote policies and procedures that line their own pockets and profile the individuals who are working to perpetuate our abusive immigration enforcement system.
Read it all and watch the Video
Yes, too few Americans know what really happens to innocent people, law abiding people, in our ICE detention centers. A true nightmare.
Says Brave New Films:
In our newest film “Immigrant Prisons”, we expose the abuses of the deportation industrial complex, substandard medical care, widespread physical and sexual abuse, virtual slave labor working conditions and highlight the incredible stories of three former detainees. This is the first in a series of exposés on the immigration system. Each year, the U.S. government locks up roughly 440,000 immigrants in over 200 immigrant prisons. These facilities have grown into a highly privatized, lucrative, and abusive industry that profits off the misery of immigrants awaiting deportation.
Great! Another spotlight on the inhumanity of isolation cells. Maybe she will get into the fact that prisons also use isolation cells for criminal, illegal, retaliation against inmates who speak out!
Watch the Video http://www.insideedition.com/headlines/26056-oprah-goes-to-prison-for-60-minutes-report-on-solitary-confinement
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My time is so limited, I highlight only one article here, though I read many of them. This is very frustrating because there are many VERY informative articles.
LA Considers First Ever City-Owned Public Bank In US – A great idea, due to the absurd federal laws on pot, causing marijuana businesses innumerable problems. kra
Would a city-owned public bank address some of Los Angeles’ pressing issues — such as affordable housing, small business growth and financing for municipal projects — while also freeing the city from the influence of private banks who put shareholder interests over those of the public good? That’s what L.A. City Council President Herb Wesson believes. In July, Wesson issued a challenge to the council to create the nation’s first ever city-owned bank.
The city currently does the majority of its banking with Wells Fargo through roughly 800 different accounts, but the City Council is exploring cutting ties with Wells Fargo following the scandal in which bank employees created more than 3.4 million unauthorized accounts as a way to meet aggressive sales goals set by management. L.A. settled a lawsuit with Wells Fargo in September 2016 for $185 million.
Wesson’s motion cites the only current publicly-owned bank in the nation, the Bank of North Dakota, as a successful model for L.A. The Bank of North Dakota “was created in 1919 in a populist wave when farmers there were unhappy with decisions being made by major banks heavily influenced by railroads and out-of-state agricultural interests,” Wesson wrote in his motion.
BND, which in 2016 reported 12 straight years of record profits, does not have ATMS or debit and credit cards. It has only one location. Among its services, BND offers low-interest student and school construction loans.
A city-owned bank “may also provide the best financial solution to reducing the cost of the creation and rehabilitation of affordable and workforce housing in the City of Los Angeles, while at the same time providing low cost financial services for city residents and local governments,” Wesson said in his motion. Wesson isn’t alone in his thinking. In May, California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom on Twitter proposed a state bank that would “build our infrastructure, construct new health care facilities, provide student loans, & build 3.5 million new housing units by 2025.”
Jack Humphreville with LA Watchdog argues that funding for such a bank would be a challenge for the cash-strapped city. He says that the city would need between $125 million and $250 million in equity to support a bank with up to $2 billion in assets.
Along with financing for local entrepreneurs and affordable housing, Wesson also argues that such a bank will allow the marijuana dispensary operators a place to access banking services. Due to the current discrepancy between federal and state laws on marijuana, many banks are wary to provide financial services to cannabis-related businesses.
“We cannot bury our heads in the sand on the issue of recreational and medical cannabis legalization. Instead we must strive to reasonably regulate the emerging industry while creating opportunities for Angelenos,” Wesson said back in July.
Cannabis, which has been legal for medical purposes for more than two decades in California, will become legal for recreational use in 2018. Legalized cannabis could bring the city up to $100 million in new tax revenues per year, and the City Council is currently working on multiple motions and ordinances to create a legalized industry in the city that can be taxed and regulated.
Louisiana’s Jefferson Parish moves to video-only inmate visitation Citing security concerns, local sheriff eliminates in-person visits to 1,200-person prison
Another step backwards! All studies show that in-person visits reduce recidivism and improve inmate behavior! They always cite “security” for their bad policies, and here that is more nonsense from prison officials. This comment is downright laughable: “the agency expects that by eliminating in-person visitations, it will also eliminate the entry of contraband into the facility “almost completely.”” I bet my life that guards bring in more contraband than inmates ever did!
I know that when I got a visit – I got 2 in 5 years – I was so happy to see someone from the outside I felt like a kid at Christmas. Prison is such a ZOO! The animals are the ones in uniform! 🙂 You’ll see when my book on prison abuse hits the fan 🙂
Excerpts from the Article:
In a policy move first for the country’s most carceral State, the Sheriff of Jefferson Parish in Louisiana announced Wednesday that video conferencing will soon be the only way for inmates at Jefferson Parish Correctional Center (JPCC) to receive visitors. According to expectations laid out in the Sheriff Department’s press release, the agency expects that by eliminating in-person visitations, it will also eliminate the entry of contraband into the facility “almost completely.”
The use of prison video visitation has increased in recent years, as the technological barrier to entry has dropped and promotional efforts by major prison telecommunication companies, like Securus and Global Tel Link, have grown. By one estimate, well over half of prisons that begin utilizing video visitation equipment ultimately prohibit in-person visits altogether; at each of these facilities, the service provider often waives fees for the purchase, installation, and maintainance of equipment, instead offering the prison a cut of the costs charged to inmates and an incentive structure that threatens to emphasize profits over rehabilitative best practices.
For Jefferson Parish, these costs for inmates and their families will amount to about $13 for a 20-minute video call. Once a week, would-be visitors will have the option to use the video service free of charge from the department’s visitation center – which, like the correctional facility, is just 20 minutes from downtown New Orleans. All seven days a week, individuals will have the option of video visitation via computer and cell phone app for up to three visits a day. The policy is scheduled to go into effect October 10.
Jefferson Parish, like prisons in Texas and South Carolina that have also transitioned to a video-exclusive visitation option for inmates, cited as its primary motivator the benefits for the security and safe operations of the jail, which houses nearly 1,200 people and will no longer require as many guards to monitor visits and control illicit interactions.
The new policy has also been criticized by prison rights’ advocates for the harshness it imposes upon those under custody but not yet charged with a crime; a large percentage of JSCC’s inmate population is comprised of pre-trial detainees.
Public record requests for the details of the policy change are currently pending with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Thanks to Cindy Rook of our FB group for sending me this one. Ask to JOIN Citizens for Criminal JUSTICE on FB! 🙂
This excellent video explains the causes and some of the solutions. This judge says that in his career he had over 200 trials. In my 10 year career in law I had over 55. This is because these days 95% to 97% of all felony cases end in a plea! READ Rush to Sentence – A Major, Awful Consequence of our “War on Drugs”!
Thousands of wrongful convictions attest to the extreme dysfunction of our justice system.
Watch the video:
This is THE newsletter with all the pot news,. There are so many articles I would like to mention here, but time does not permit. They cover Business, Culture, Product Reviews, Criminal Justice, Politics, and Health and Science. If you are interested in the myriad developments concerning Marijuana, you MUST subscribe to WeedWeek!
He is one Article I highlight: House GOP blocks vote protecting medical marijuana states – Given A G Sessions’ rediculous stance on marijuana, this could portend very bad news and widespread legal chaos! If you don’t think that Trump and his followers are a disaster for criminal justice reform, just look at this nonsense and at the proliferation of private prisons!
Several lawmakers said Wednesday that GOP leaders won’t allow the full House to vote on an amendment that bars the Justice Department from pursuing states that have legalized medical marijuana. Without legislation, states would lose protection they have enjoyed for the past four years, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions could begin his long-sought crackdown on the rapid expansion of legalized pot.
“The status quo for four years has been the federal government will not interfere because the Department of Justice is not permitted to use its resources to supercede a state that has legalized the medical use of marijuana,” Rohrabacher said.
He said that without his amendment, “we’re changing the status quo in a way that undermines the rights of the states and the people … to make their policy.”
At one of the largest jails in the U.S., – Cook County, Il – Sheriff Tom Dart sees his job as not just keeping people in jail, but helping some of them get out
Watch this excellent 60 Minutes piece to see a prison administrator who “gets it”! 🙂
GOD Bless “Sheriff Bucky”! I have just emailed him a “stick to it, way to go!” message – below. There will be bad apples in ANY program, but this Sheriff is on the right course and should continue to fight for this program. He sees [why I started our Church Reentry Program] that church is a good place for ex offenders to be, for many reasons.
This guy is a bright light in a world of darkness known as prisons. He knows that most inmates WILL be released (about 96%) and it helps us to help them.
My email to the Sheriff:
Keep up the great work. Every day – EVERY day – I see an article about or I am told about some prison official who just doesn’t get it [that is expressing it very kindly@ 😊]. Clearly you do, and I salute you for your common sense and your efforts to reduce recidivism with your Church Work Release program and all you do.
Stick to your guns! That one woman who commented is soooo typical. She does not realize that a “convicted felon” very well may be sitting next to her in church, and she just does not know his/her past.
You are a bright light and a beacon of hope for the many inmates who DO want to change their lives. You’re making a difference, Bucky! 😊
http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/maury-county-sheriff-stands-program-allows-inmates-attend-church-go-bucky-go-kra/ – Maury County sheriff stands by program that allows inmates to attend church – “Go, Bucky, GO!” kra
My signature block.
MAURY COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – A controversial program at the Maury County jail is now on hold after an inmate was caught smuggling drugs and tobacco into the facility. The program is called Church Work Release, and it allows inmates to leave the jail and go to church, wearing civilian clothes with no one guarding them.
News 2 has obtained surveillance photos that show prisoners leaving the jail and walking around one of the participating churches. In the photos, the men are dressed in street clothes and there is no one supervising them. Maury County Sheriff Bucky Rowland told News 2 the program is designed to help inmates cope with being on the outside.
“There are folks back here who are rotten to the core, and they are where they need to be, but there are folks who in days are going to be released, and I want to make sure we do all we can,” he explained.
In 2014, Sheriff Rowland ran on a campaign of prisoner rehabilitation. By December 2016, Rowland had initiated the Church Work Release program. The program is described by the department as a religious-based work re-entry program. “Inmates are checked out by spiritual mentors who have been vetted through our jail chaplain and have been volunteers in our facility as mentors or program leaders and has completed TCI training for volunteers,” Rowland said.
He continued, “Our goal here at the Maury County Sheriff’s Department, whether on the street or in the jail, is to reduce recidivism, to leave folks better than we found them.”
From December 2016 until this past June, the department said 75 prisoners have been released from the Maury County jail and taken to a half dozen participating churches. “I believe they truly want a change in their life,” the sheriff told News 2.
The inmates are not under guard and they are not accompanied by an armed deputy. Instead, Rowland said the inmates are escorted by a spiritual mentor who has taken some state sponsored corrections courses.
“We are trying to make a safer community,” Rowland said.
Sheriff Rowland maintains there are many good people in his jail.
“We will invest in them to change that way of thinking,” he said. “Ninety percent of the people in this jail – they are good folks. They have addiction problems, drugs or alcohol. They get clean, and they say they don’t want to be here, I’m not coming back. I think they truly want a change in their life, and I believe it starts here.”
According to Sheriff Rowland, to qualify for his program, the inmates must be near the end of their sentences and have no disciplinary issues.
The sheriff also said the program was temporarily suspended after one inmate, Forrest Voorhees, went to church and was then caught smuggling drugs and tobacco in the jail.
Why Can’t Uncle Come Home? A story for children struggling with the wrongful conviction of a loved one.
Very Well Done!
Why Can’t Uncle Come Home? is a one-of-a-kind children’s picture book for children struggling with the wrongful conviction of a loved one. This amazing story, written by Christiane Joy Allison and illustrated by Liz Shine, is scheduled for release in late 2017.
You can now PRE-ORDER copies of the book that are signed by the author and illustrator through this campaign!
Christiane and Liz have worked together on numerous projects in the past. They have an outstanding history working together, and are very excited to launch Why Can’t Uncle Come Home? as the first book in the Where Is Uncle? series; which will address other issues children face with the rightful or wrongful incarceration of a loved one.
In the story, Timmy and his little sister Kate are struggling with the wrongful conviction and imprisonment of their beloved, innocent Uncle. Inspired by the author’s real-life niece and nephew, Timmy and Kate walk-through experiences that are common to children in these types of tragedies. Timmy and Kate suddenly lose access to Uncle. They watch Auntie to go through the process of losing her home. Timmy eventually gets to visit Uncle, and ask the ever-present question, “Why can’t Uncle come home?”
The National Registry of Exonerations has tracked more than 2,000 exonerations of the innocent in the U.S. since 1989. The sad fact is, this is really only the tip of the iceberg in comparison to those who still sit in prison, unable to prove their innocence or overcome arbitrary rules of the court that keep them imprisoned. If only a single child was attached to each one of these individuals – not only as a parent but just as someone in their life who is important to them – we automatically know there are thousands of children across the world who have experienced wrongful conviction directly, and are still continuing to experience it. The average amount of time an innocent person spends in prison before being exonerated is eight years. That means these children are growing up with this as a defining part of reality in their childhood, and they need to know they’re not alone.
There are many people in the United States who are wrongfully convicted because the wrong person was accused of a crime. However, there are also many individuals wrongfully convicted for a crime that never actually occurred. Adults often struggle with how to explain these situations to their children. They may feel so wronged and wounded about the experience themselves, that they have a hard time putting into words the real reason their loved one cannot come back to them. This book aims to be able to have that conversation in a healthy way.
In our story, Mama uses the example of a vase that fell off of a shelf and broke to help Timmy and Kate understand what happened to Uncle. No one is actually at fault for the vase breaking, but Timmy blamed Kate because he knew that he wasn’t the culprit. Wrongful conviction is a really complex issue with many different causes, but this example simplifies the real problem in a way a child can understand. Ultimately, they know that Uncle has been blamed for something he didn’t really do, and that there are many people that love him who are working hard to help everyone else understand the truth.
Your donations will go directly to the costs of printing and distribution of the book. Whether you have a little or a lot to pledge to this critical project, there’s a whole menu of options to choose from! Lower-level awards allow you to PRE-ORDER copies of the book that are personally signed by both the author and the illustrator straight from the presses. Larger amounts allow you or your organization to be listed as a sponsor of the book with your name actually printed on the inside! Last but not least, the largest contribution category allows you to have a more direct and personal experience with the author.
Getting Why Can’t Uncle Come Home? out into the hands of the public is critical! Children all over the world have loved ones who are incarcerated, and an unknown number of those are actually wrongful convictions. It is our hope that Timmy and Kate will let these children know that there are others who understand what they’re going through. It doesn’t make it right, but can hopefully help them reorient their thoughts into how to stay positive, and how to help during the long period of time they will likely have to wait.
Risks and challenges
The manuscript is already finished, and the illustrations are underway. The book has already been assigned a PCN number through the Library of Congress. Vendors have been selected for printing and distribution, and we plan to have this book available by the end of 2017. The only foreseeable delay that could occur relates to the completion of the illustrations and final page layouts. However, at this time we do not have any concern about missing our deadlines.