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.
The litany of horrifying accounts of abuse and neglect is not news to me. Neither is it unique to Nebraska. Far from it; most prisons in America are out of control hell holes, and the refusal by officials to acknowledge and fix this is a national disgrace. READ Prison Abuse – Why Massive Indifference is a Massive Mistake
A prison holding more than three times as many people as it was designed to house. Another prison repeatedly wracked by deadly riots. Prisoners suffering injury, disability, and death because they are denied basic medical care. These conditions exist not in the distant past or in some impoverished or totalitarian nation, but in the US state of Nebraska in 2017.
On Wednesday, the American Civil Liberties Union and our partners are filing suit to halt the human rights crisis in Nebraska’s prisons. The lawsuit is a horrifying account of a profoundly broken system. One prisoner died of a heart attack, ignored for weeks despite his obvious symptoms.
Another went blind after being denied adequate treatment for his diabetes. Prisoners with mental illness are warehoused in solitary confinement, exacerbating their suffering and increasing their risk of self-mutilation and suicide. And those with disabilities are denied the most basic accommodations, resulting in their exclusion from education, parole, and other prison programs.
Nebraska prisons are very dangerous places for both prisoners and staff. In the last two years alone, riots have left four prisoners dead and multiple staff members injured. Another prisoner was killed by his cellmate after the two were locked together in an isolation cell.
The primary cause of all these problems is the extreme overcrowding in Nebraska’s prisons. The system as a whole is at close to 160% of its capacity, with four prisons at close to 200% of capacity and one at a staggering 302%. The entire system has been severely overcrowded for more than a decade, and the problem has gotten steadily worse.
What do these numbers mean in concrete terms?
Every prison is designed to hold a certain number of prisoners – it has enough cells, enough medical facilities, enough toilets, enough exercise space – for that number. As that capacity is exceeded, critical systems are increasingly stressed, and at some point, they break down completely. There aren’t enough bunks, so prisoners have to sleep on the floor. Communicable diseases like tuberculosis emerge and spread. Toilets, sinks, showers break down from overuse. Tempers flare as more and more prisoners are crammed into a fixed space, and violence increases, both among prisoners and between prisoners and officers. The prison becomes a nightmare for everyone.
Nebraska is a textbook case of this deadly phenomenon.
It’s well established that severe overcrowding violates the US Constitution’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishments. In 2011, the US supreme court heard a case involving California’s prisons. Although the California system is significantly larger, the level of crowding in California then was similar to that in Nebraska now.
The court found that severe overcrowding increased violence, promoted the spread of disease, and made it impossible to deliver minimally adequate medical and mental health care. “Needless suffering and death,” the court concluded, “have been the well-documented result.” The court ordered California to dramatically reduce the level of crowding in its prisons; we’re seeking a similar order in Nebraska.
But it’s not just US law that is violated when prisons are filled far beyond their capacity. The United States has ratified the United Nations Convention against Torture, which prohibits torture as well as cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment. The Committee against Torture, which monitors compliance with the Convention, has recognized that prison overcrowding can amount to prohibited ill-treatment or even torture.
Fortunately, solutions are readily at hand. When the prison population reaches 140% of capacity, Nebraska law allows the governor to declare an emergency and release prisoners who are eligible for parole. States as diverse as New Jersey, Alaska, and Mississippi have dramatically cut their prison populations by reducing sentences for minor drug offenses and taking other commonsense steps. There’s no reason Nebraska can’t do the same – more than one-third of its prisoners are nonviolent offenders who could be safely managed in other settings.
Litigation isn’t the best way of reforming large, complex institutions like prisons. It’s often slow, cumbersome, and needlessly adversarial. It’s far better when government officials take seriously their responsibility to protect the health, safety, and human dignity of the prisoners in their custody. But when those officials turn a blind eye to dangerous and degrading conditions, it’s time for the courts to step in to protect the fundamental human rights of all.
This Story was sent to me by our friend, Susan Boshea.
51 NC jail inmates have died in past five years after poor supervision from jailers – The tip of the National Iceberg! kra
The “Whole Story” describes other deaths which never should have occurred, besides, Ms. Call’s. People DIE because prison staff is so very seldom held accountable. We can never know the true numbers, because prison officials lie so much to cover cause of death [see numerous related Articles on this website!]
As I have seen, even when they are supposed to watch inmates, the guards sleep through their shift and then awaken to falsify reports, indicating that they had checked on inmates … when they had not.
This is just the count for county jails in one state, and does not include the main prisons. The true number of preventable, needless, deaths is beyond outrageous!
Excerpts from the Article:
It couldn’t have been any clearer to Wilkes County jail staff that Emily Jean Call intended to kill herself. She had been arrested on April 16, 2012, for missing a court date. Call had told detention officers then that she was high on crystal methamphetamine and wanted to kill herself. She had cut her wrist two weeks earlier, requiring a trip to the emergency room, state records show.
After two days in jail, she told medical staff she was sick, fatigued and depressed, feeling like she was going to have a nervous breakdown. The county’s mental health provider was no longer offering services at the jail, which meant no one was available to treat her mounting depression, the records show.
She should have been watched closely – at least four times an hour, according to state regulations. But Call, 32, a mother of two struggling with drug addiction, went unwatched for more than an hour. She slipped away to a bathroom in a common area, slung a bed sheet over a water pipe, tied it around her neck, stood on a toilet and stepped off.
“I said: ‘Please, I beg you, watch her,’ ” her mother, Anna Call, recalled telling a jail employee she knew. It was among many phone calls she said she made to jailers to keep an eye on her daughter. She said her daughter was being treated for a suicide attempt when she was arrested for missing a court date.
Emily Call was one of 51 inmates who died in North Carolina’s county jails in the past five years after being left unsupervised for longer than state regulations allow, a News & Observer investigation shows. Jailers failed to make timely checks, left in place sheets or towels that prevented them from seeing suicide attempts, or didn’t fix broken cameras or intercoms that helped them keep in touch with inmates.
“There were no rounds made the entire day,” a state report said of Reynolds’ death. “…It is clear that there was a gross failure to properly supervise inmates.”
Often, the inmates who died had not been convicted of the charges that landed them in jail. Many were for lesser offenses such as illegal panhandling, drug possession and larceny, though some had been charged with more serious offenses, such as murder.
The deaths account for slightly more than half of those investigated from 2012-2016 by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Construction Section, which is better known for inspecting medical facilities. A lack of supervision was blamed for one out of every three of the 151 deaths in county jails in that time period.
The deaths also expose the rising number of inmates who suffer from mental illness, drug addictions or both – and underline the importance for jailers to check on them frequently.
“The duties of the jail to properly manage, supervise, care for these inmates is paramount,” said Morey, a Democrat. “And the number of cases that you’re telling me about when the regulations are not being followed is appalling.”
You know, some laws are just made to be broken. The government is not always right, and too often they are seriously wrong, as with most of our marijuana laws. The only two which I see as legit are keeping it from youths [because their brains still are developing] and prohibiting driving or operating equipment while high!
It is hard to believe that witnessing the epic failure of the war on drugs, we still fight it!
Excerpts from the Article:
In some circles, Jessica Andreavich is known as the Robin Hood of Delaware’s medical marijuana community. But to law enforcement and others, she is a drug-dealing felon who gamed the system. For years, the activist and medicinal marijuana cardholder turned the plant form of the drug into edible candies, oils and creams for Delawareans with ailments like cancer, multiple sclerosis and post-traumatic stress disorder. State law permits those with cards to share marijuana.
Experts and physicians say ingesting marijuana in a food form can make it more potent and last longer than smoking it. Occasionally, Andreavich would give her candy to military veterans struggling to get into the state’s program.
Only recently did the 45-year-old – who uses marijuana to treat her depression, anxiety and arthritis – start charging people the cost of processing marijuana into an alternative form, making little to no profit, she said.
But the minute money and drugs were exchanged with those not permitted to have it, Andreavich broke Delaware law. She was found guilty Wednesday of one count of drug-dealing and one count of conspiracy after selling five marijuana gummy candies and one bottle of tincture (plant extract) for $60 to an undercover New Castle County detective. She was sentenced to one year of probation and community service.
“I’ve always known that if they (the state’s medical marijuana program) decided to turn me in, I’d go to jail over this,” said the former employee of First State Compassion Center, which operates the state’s two medical marijuana dispensaries. “But it was not designed to make money.”
Andreavich believes the state dispensary charges patients too much for the product, and she has made it her mission to make medical marijuana more affordable for the poor.
“This sounds like somebody who has a real humanitarian spirit,” said Dr. David Bearman, a clinical medical cannabis expert. “And indeed, cannabis is very expensive. … Frankly, I think that law enforcement has better things to do with their time.”
Under state code, those who are afflicted with specific ailments such as cancer or multiple sclerosis can obtain a medical marijuana card to ease their pain. But the marijuana must be purchased at one of two state-approved dispensaries.
Andreavich’s case raises questions about the access to the state’s medical marijuana program and the high cost of marijuana once patients are accepted into the program. These issues have been debated since a law allowing the sale of medical marijuana was approved in 2011. Patients complain of paying high costs for small amounts of marijuana at the First State Compassion Centers – one outside Wilmington and another near Lewes. Many say the cost makes it nearly impossible for low-income patients to afford the drug prescribed to them by a doctor.