Philadelphia shooting standoff that left 6 officers wounded ends with suspect’s arrest – Our War on Drugs – kra
I shall remind you that all this violence, the injuries to the officers, are the direct result of America’s most costly, clearly cataclysmically failed policy called the War on Drugs! Cops were there with a drug warrant. In fact, more than 80% of all crime is drug related!
Excerpts from the Article:
A suspect has been arrested after he barricaded himself for hours in a North Philadelphia home in a shooting standoff that left six officers wounded, police said.
“Suspect is in custody. SWAT is still clearing the house,” Philadelphia Police Sgt. Eric Gripp tweeted early Thursday. The shooting started at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday and was followed by a standoff that lasted nearly eight hours.
Two officers and three others who had been trapped inside the row house were evacuated by a SWAT team a few hours before the standoff ended, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross Jr. told reporters. “They were able to use stealth to do it,” he said, adding he didn’t think the shooter was aware of the rescue mission.
Before the standoff ended, negotiators had been trying to communicate with the shooter, but the gunman was only picking up the phone without answering, Ross said at one news conference.
The wounded officers’ injuries were non-life threatening. One had a graze wound to the head. All of the wounded have been released from the hospital, Gripp said.
Some officers were in the kitchen of the house when the shooter fired and police shot back. “Many of them had to escape through windows and doors,” he said. The shooter has continued to fire out of the windows, the commissioner said. Police went to the home in the Nicetown-Tiago neighborhood around 4:30 p.m. ET with a narcotics warrant, Ross said.
Four women were escorted out of the building by Philadelphia police SWAT members, said Greg Argos, a reporter for KYW. The KYW reporter described the women as “visibly upset, crying, as they were escorted down the street.”
One woman said of the officers: “They kept us safe the whole time, the whole time, they kept us safe.”
President Donald Trump was briefed on the shooting, deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley said.
The 10 Best and Worst States for Recently Released Inmates – A reporter’s request and my reply – kra
A reporter from The Delaware State News sent me an email saying that they are preparing a story about reentry problems in Delaware, and did I have any comments? He sent the article below, which I had read before. My response is below.
Excerpts from the Article:
Considering that more than two-thirds of state prisoners are rearrested within three years of release, many US states have created reentry programs designed to help former inmates get back on their feet. The PrisonEd team wanted to see which states make it easiest for released inmates to reintegrate into society.
Let’s dig in. Here are the most and least friendly states for recently released inmates.
California scores highest on friendliness to former inmates. The Golden State has a background check law without a salary cap.
Alaska, which ranked the lowest, has three reentry programs, which is a relatively small amount. The Land of the Midnight Sun also doesn’t have a law about background check positions.
Virginia, which ranked 13th, had the lowest re-incarceration rate in the US in 2013, as 2,588 of the 11,576 inmates released that year were re-incarcerated within three years.
Alabama, which ranked fourth overall, had 19 reentry programs—the most of any state. California, which ranked first overall, had the second-most reentry programs at 13.
The percent of adult citizens who are current or ex-prisoners ranges from 2.5% in West Virginia (the lowest) to 13.5% in Florida (the highest).
The percentages of recidivism for inmates within three years of release vary from 22.4% in Virginia to 66.4% in Alaska.
The PrisonEd team looked at four different data points to determine which states are the friendliest to ex-inmates. We standardized and weighted four metrics before we added them together for each state’s final score: The number of reentry programs: Programs include, but are not limited to, halfway houses, job help, and addiction recovery programs.
The number of current and ex-inmates: The data represents the percentage of current and ex-inmates based on a 2017 report over 60 years by Shannon et al. States that offered a higher percentage of support communities for ex-inmates received a higher score.
Background check restrictions: Some states limit how many years back employers can pull a background check. A few of those states also put a salary cap on this limit, which means the background check restrictions only apply to jobs that pay less than the indicated cap. For example, Nevada has a background check restriction of seven years and no salary cap. So, regardless of the job, employers in Nevada cannot pull more than seven years in a criminal background check. States that had background check limits received a higher score.
Re-incarceration percentages: The data includes three-year re-incarceration rates for prisoners released in 2013. States with a lower re-incarceration percentage received a higher score.
Five states (Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Oregon, and Texas) weren’t considered in the ranking due to insufficient data reporting.
Released inmates often have a difficult time readapting into the community. However, reentry programs have been shown to have a positive impact on ex-convicts’ ability to return to a full life once they are released from prison. To contribute to reentry programs, you can volunteer time or resources to help their bright future. If you are interested in learning more about PrisonEd’s prison education programs and how you can get involved, check out our volunteer program.
Thanks, Ian, and yes. 8/14/19
I counsel those in reentry every day, and the most glaring problems are 1. A lack of effective and affordable treatment programs for addicts, 2. The more than 200 obstacles to reentry, many of which are totally unnecessary!, 3. The lack of public understanding that when we help those in reentry we help our communities, and 4. The lack of will in the Legislature to make easily enacted sweeping changes in the law needed to ease this problem.
So many obstacles could easily be removed. Like, why cannot one get a barber’s or beautician’s license because one has a record?! There should be no barrier at all. As it currently is, one must apply, and then can easily be denied solely because of one’s record.
We also have faaaaaaaaar too many people on probation! Please take a moment to read this, and you may use any parts of it you wish to use: Letter to Editor or Editorial Submission – What a Monster we Have Created! Probation and Parole 2/19/19
Despite the tremendous achievements of Dover Interfaith Mission for Housing and others, there still is a huge need for affordable housing for the many in reentry who are homeless.
I hope that you also will publish this sad and ugly truth: many who can change policies and laws to ease reentry do not simply because they are in the grip of lobbyists and campaign donors who are fighting to keep their truly often useless and redundant jobs, such as the Prison Guard Union. For every 1 person arrested, 29 benefit financially.
Last but not least, the crazy policies concerning “sex offenders”, most of whom have that scarlet letter for looking at pictures, and pose NO threat at all to the public!
Any questions, Ian, give me a call!
DRUG TREATMENT IS REACHING MORE PRISONS AND JAILS – What they mean is: “More and more contractors are getting rich off the system”! – kra
What they mean is: “More and more contractors are getting rich off the system”! Many of these “treatment programs” are useless; the companies providing the drugs routinely “run out of medicine” [they are not really out, they just delay delivery of the meds to thousands of inmates in scores of facilities, to save money!] The companies make millions of $$$$$$$$$ and the inmates gain nothing.
Excerpts from the Article:
Her father sold her drugs. Her sister was strung out. Friends died around her. “I shouldn’t have lived,” Brenda Smith, 35, testified in a Maine courtroom in February. “I have had some pretty close people, like close to me, die of a drug overdose.” But Smith did live, thanks in part to a drug called buprenorphine, better known by its brand name, Suboxone. Along with therapy, she said, it has helped keep her clean since 2009. “It just makes me feel normal,” Smith testified. “Like when I was 17, before I started using drugs.”
That’s why she was determined not to go off it when was she was sentenced in 2018 to 40 days in the Aroostook County jail in northern Maine for swiping $40 cash from a Walmart self-checkout.
From a previous stay in jail, Smith knew that going back meant discontinuing buprenorphine, effectively forcing her to detox from it, increasing her risk of relapse and death from overdose after her release. So before her sentence was scheduled to begin, she sued the county and Sheriff Shawn D. Gillen to continue taking the medication under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“I don’t want to lose everything I have worked so hard to achieve in nine years just blown away,” Smith testified.
Like most county jails and state prisons in America, the Aroostook County jail prohibits not just buprenorphine but also methadone and naltrexone, the other two pharmaceuticals approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the medication-assisted treatment of opioid use disorder.
Sheriff Gillen did not respond to multiple requests for comment. But in response to Smith’s suit, Craig Clossey, the jail’s administrator, testified that buprenorphine was prohibited because of its high potential for abuse.
In an April 30 decision, the First Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a lower federal court that the Americans with Disabilities Act did indeed require that Smith be allowed to continue taking buprenorphine while incarcerated. The decision joined a November ruling from a federal judge in Massachusetts in Pesce v. Coppinger. As in Smith’s case, the judge in the Pesce case held that denying medication-assisted treatment to an opioid-dependent prisoner likely violates the ADA.
The ruling in Smith’s case prompted officials in Aroostook County to convert her sentence to a $100 fine, which she paid. She was able to continue taking her medication under the care of her doctor, according to attorneys at the ACLU of Maine, which represented Smith.
Together, the rulings in the Smith and Pesce cases are helping to expand prisoners’ access to drug treatment. The decisions are “a shot over the bow to all jails and prisons across the nation,” said Steven S. Seitchik, who coordinates medication-assisted treatment for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.
Lauranne Howard, substance use coordinator for the Rhode Island Department of Corrections, agreed. “This movement is happening across the country,” she told The Appeal. “Inmates have a right to be provided medical care, and that includes appropriate medication.”
Drug overdoses killed more than 702,000 people between 1999 and 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. The epidemic killed more than 70,000 people in 2017 alone, according to the CDC, a sixfold increase from 1999. Two out of every three overdose deaths are caused by opioids. President Trump declared opioids a national emergency in August 2017.
Substance use is also closely linked to incarceration. Drug-related offenses were a fifth of all reported crimes from 2007 to 2009, and “more than half of state prisoners and two-thirds of sentenced jail detainees met the DSM-IV criteria for drug dependence or abuse,” a 2017 Department of Justice report found.
Newly released prisoners, their tolerance lowered by a period of forced abstinence, are particularly vulnerable: They are at least 40 times more likely to die of an opioid overdose than someone in the general population, a 2018 North Carolina study found.
Medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, is the standard of healthcare for opioid use disorder, according to the federal Department of Health and Human Services. “Offering MAT in correctional settings has been shown to reduce recidivism, overdoses, and criminal activity among people who are incarcerated, and help support them in their recovery from substance use disorders,” said Evan Frost, a spokesperson for New York’s Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services.
Of the three drugs approved by the FDA for MAT, methadone and buprenorphine are often preferred by treatment professionals to naltrexone because those medications do not require detox to be effective, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. They work by restoring “balance to the brain circuits affected by addiction, allowing the patient’s brain to heal while working toward recovery.” Naltrexone blocks the brain’s opioid receptors, denying users the euphoric effect of opioids.
But the best strategy, according to the FDA, is stocking all three medications. After Rhode Island’s Department of Corrections started making three opioid treatment drugs available in mid-2016, a study found that fewer prisoners died from overdoses after being released.
Since Rhode Island led the way in 2016, correctional systems in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Vermont, and Massachusetts established MAT programs that include not just naltrexone but methadone and buprenorphine.
New Hampshire launched a MAT program in June, and Maine followed this month. Both include naltrexone and buprenorphine, officials said. Virginia and Delaware recently announced plans to start programs as well.
“Not only are correctional systems very aware of the Smith and Pesce decisions, but so are policy makers. They don’t want to be the next defendant in a lawsuit,” said Sally Friedman, vice president of legal advocacy for the Legal Action Center, a group that pushed for the changes for more than a decade.
Howard, who runs Rhode Island’s MAT program, said she had recently hosted corrections officials from as far away as Oregon interested in establishing their own programs. Besides state prisons, county jails are also establishing programs, according to the National Sheriffs’ Association. Patrick Royal, a spokesperson for the association, told The Appeal that more than 270 jails in 35 states now offer some form of the treatment.
And it could soon become easier. Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Margaret Hassan of New Hampshire introduced the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act on July 10. The MAT Act would expand access to the treatment, including for those incarcerated.
Still there are challenges ahead for those seeking to spread the use of MAT in jails and prisons. For example, many drug counselors who tamed their own substance use disorders before MAT was widely available, still favor abstinence. And there are regulatory, political, and funding hurdles to overcome.
The federal government will offer $1.4 billion in State Opioid Response grants this year. But money alone is not enough when political will is lacking, advocates say.
New York State, for example, has 54 state prisons, but none provide all three FDA-approved MAT drugs, according to November 2018 legislative hearing testimony by prison officials. Instead, the prison system relies almost exclusively on abstinence and naltrexone. Thomas Mailey, spokesperson for the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, declined to comment.
A bill to require jails and prisons to offer all three MAT medications passed New York’s Senate but is stalled in the Assembly.
New York, like many states, lacks a “real plan” for MAT, said Allegra Schorr, president of the Coalition of Medication Assisted Treatment Providers and Advocates of New York State.
A real plan is a unified statewide effort that includes all counties, she said. It should say “this is what we’re looking at. This is where we’re going. And this is how we’re going to get there,” Schorr said. “And we don’t have that yet. That’s step one.” In the absence of such a framework, it’s likely “that the courts may step in,” Schorr added. “This is a major epidemic. It’s far, far from over.”
Investigations 76 billion opioid pills: Newly released federal data unmasks the epidemic – A Huge Eye Opener! – kra
Thank God for our Free Press! 🙂
After a court fight lasting more than a year, the Washington Post acquired tons of data concerning the tons of opioid pills which have flooded into our communities in recent years. 76 Billion pills: that’s approximately 250 pills for every man, woman, and child in America!
I have had a chance to really study the data. From what I know already, I can say that we now see a HUGE failure by regulators, who should have seen the red flags and ACTED to stem the flow. Instead, they let drug makers, distributors, and retailers go crazy poisoning our communities.
Fines are not enough; those responsible for soooo many deaths – Company Executives AND D E A regulators – should be imprisoned!
If I were a prosecutor, armed with the information now available, I could convince scores of juries to convict dozens of drug company executives, and probably some of the “regulators” of crimes in causing the situation and the resultant deaths! Oh yes I could!
Excerpts from the Article:
America’s largest drug companies saturated the country with 76 billion oxycodone and hydrocodone pain pills from 2006 through 2012 as the nation’s deadliest drug epidemic spun out of control, according to previously undisclosed company data released as part of the largest civil action in U.S. history.
The information comes from a database maintained by the Drug Enforcement Administration that tracks the path of every single pain pill sold in the United States — from manufacturers and distributors to pharmacies in every town and city. The data provides an unprecedented look at the surge of legal pain pills that fueled the prescription opioid epidemic, which has resulted in nearly 100,000 deaths from 2006 through 2012.
Just six companies distributed 75 percent of the pills during this period: McKesson Corp., Walgreens, Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen, CVS and Walmart, according to an analysis of the database by The Washington Post. Three companies manufactured 88 percent of the opioids: SpecGx, a subsidiary of Mallinckrodt; Actavis Pharma; and Par Pharmaceutical, a subsidiary of Endo Pharmaceuticals.
Purdue Pharma, which the plaintiffs allege sparked the epidemic in the 1990s with its introduction of OxyContin, its version of oxycodone, was ranked fourth among manufacturers with about 3 percent of the market.
The volume of the pills handled by the companies skyrocketed as the epidemic surged, increasing about 51 percent from 8.4 billion in 2006 to 12.6 billion in 2012. By contrast, doses of morphine, a well-known treatment for severe pain, averaged slightly more than 500 million a year during the period.
Those 10 companies along with about a dozen others are now being sued in federal court in Cleveland by nearly 2,000 cities, towns and counties alleging that they conspired to flood the nation with opioids. The companies, in turn, have blamed the epidemic on overprescribing by doctors and pharmacies and on customers who abused the drugs. The companies say they were working to supply the needs of patients with legitimate prescriptions desperate for pain relief.
The database reveals what each company knew about the number of pills it was shipping and dispensing and precisely when they were aware of those volumes, year by year, town by town. In case after case, the companies allowed the drugs to reach the streets of communities large and small, despite persistent red flags that those pills were being sold in apparent violation of federal law and diverted to the black market, according to the lawsuits.
Plaintiffs have long accused drug manufacturers and wholesalers of fueling the opioid epidemic by producing and distributing billions of pain pills while making billions of dollars. The companies have paid more than $1 billion in fines to the Justice Department and Food and Drug Administration over opioid-related issues, and hundreds of millions more to settle state lawsuits.
But the previous cases addressed only a portion of the problem, never allowing the public to see the size and scope of the behavior underlying the epidemic. Monetary settlements by the companies were accompanied by agreements that kept such information hidden.
The drug companies, along with the DEA and the Justice Department, have fought furiously against the public release of the database, the Automation of Reports and Consolidated Order System, known as ARCOS. The companies argued that the release of the “transactional data” could give competitors an unfair advantage in the marketplace. The Justice Department argued that the release of the information could compromise ongoing DEA investigations.
Until now, the litigation has proceeded in unusual secrecy. Many filings and exhibits in the case have been sealed under a judicial protective order. The secrecy finally lifted after The Post and HD Media, which publishes the Charleston Gazette-Mail in West Virginia, waged a year-long legal battle for access to documents and data from the case. On Monday evening, U.S. District Judge Dan Polster removed the protective order for part of the ARCOS database.
“The data provides statistical insights that help pinpoint the origins and spread of the opioid epidemic — an epidemic that thousands of communities across the country argue was both sparked and inflamed by opioid manufacturers, distributors, and pharmacies,” said Paul T. Farrell Jr. of West Virginia, co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs.
“For decades, DEA has had exclusive access to this data, which can identify the total volumes of controlled substances being ordered, pharmacy-by-pharmacy, across the country,” McKesson spokeswoman Kristin Chasen said. A DEA spokeswoman declined to comment Tuesday “due to ongoing litigation.”
Sam Rogers and Renee Howell live in fear of their next drug overdose as fentanyl has sent the rate of deaths among African Americans skyrocketing.
While Walgreens still dispenses opioids, the company said it has not distributed prescription-controlled substances to its stores since 2014. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press) While Walgreens still dispenses opioids, the company said it has not distributed prescription-controlled substances to its stores since 2014. “Walgreens has been an industry leader in combatting this crisis in the communities where our pharmacists live and work, ” said Phil Caruso, a Walgreens spokesman. Mike DeAngelis, a spokesman for CVS, said the plaintiffs’ allegations about the company have no merit and CVS is aggressively defending against them. Walmart, Purdue and Endo declined to comment about the ARCOS database.
A Mallinckrodt spokesman said in a statement that the company produced opioids only within a government-controlled quota and sold only to DEA-approved distributors. Actavis Pharma was acquired by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries in 2016, and a spokeswoman there said the company “cannot speak to any systems in place beforehand.”
The Post has been trying to gain access to the ARCOS database since 2016, when the news organization filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the DEA. The agency denied the request, saying some of the data was available on its website. But that data did not contain the transactional information the companies are required to report to the DEA every time they sell a controlled substance such as oxycodone and hydrocodone.
The numbers of pills the companies sold during the seven-year time frame are staggering, far exceeding what has been previously disclosed in limited court filings and news stories.
The states that received the highest concentrations of pills per person per year were: West Virginia with 66.5, Kentucky with 63.3, South Carolina with 58, Tennessee with 57.7 and Nevada with 54.7. West Virginia also had the highest opioid death rate during this period. Rural areas were hit particularly hard: Norton, Va., with 306 pills per person; Martinsville, Va., with 242; Mingo County, W.Va., with 203; and Perry County, Ky., with 175. In that time, the companies distributed enough pills to supply every adult and child in the country with 36 each year.
The database is a virtual road map to the nation’s opioid epidemic that began with prescription pills, spawned increased heroin use and resulted in the current fentanyl crisis, which added more than 67,000 to the death toll from 2013 to 2017.
The transactional data kept by ARCOS is highly detailed. It includes the name, DEA registration number, address and business activity of every seller and buyer of a controlled substance in the United States. The database also includes drug codes, transaction dates, and total dosage units and grams of narcotics sold. The data tracks a dozen different opioids, including oxycodone and hydrocodone, which make up three-quarters of the total pill shipments to pharmacies.
Under federal law, drug manufacturers, distributors and pharmacies must report each transaction of a narcotic to the DEA, where it is logged into the ARCOS database. If company officials notice orders of drugs that appear to be suspicious because of their unusual size or frequency, they must report those sales to the DEA and hold back the shipments.
As the hundreds of lawsuits began to pile up, they were consolidated into the one centralized case in U.S. District Court in Cleveland. The opioid litigation is now larger in scope than the tobacco litigation of the 1980s, which resulted in a $246 billion settlement over 25 years. Judge Polster is now overseeing the consolidated case of nearly 2,000 lawsuits. The case is among a wave of actions that includes other lawsuits filed by more than 40 state attorneys general and tribal nations. In May, Purdue settled with the Oklahoma attorney general for $270 million.
The pain pill epidemic began nearly three decades ago, shortly after Purdue Pharma introduced what it marketed as a less addictive form of opioid it called OxyContin. Purdue paid doctors and nonprofit groups advocating for patients in pain to help market the drug as a safe and effective way to treat pain. But the new drug was highly addictive. As more and more people were hooked, more and more companies entered the market, manufacturing, distributing and dispensing massive quantities of pain pills.
Purdue ending up paying a $634 million fine to the Food and Drug Administration for claiming OxyContin was less addictive than other pain medications.
Annual opioid sales nationwide rose from $6.1 billion in 2006 to $8.5 billion in 2012, according to industry data gathered by IQVIA, a health care information and consulting company.
Individual drug company revenues ranged in single years at the epidemic’s peak from $403 million for opioids sold by Endo to $3.1 billion in OxyContin sales by Purdue Pharma, according to a 2018 lawsuit against multiple defendants by San Juan County in New Mexico.
During the past two decades, Florida became ground zero for pill mills — pain management clinics that served as fronts for corrupt doctors and drug dealers. They became so brazen that some clinics set up storefronts along I-75 and I-95, advertising their products on billboards by interstate exit ramps. So many people traveled to Florida to stock up on oxycodone and hydrocodone, they were sometimes referred to as “prescription tourists.”
The route from Florida to Georgia, Kentucky, West Virginia and Ohio became known as the “Blue Highway.” It was named after the color of one of the most popular pills on the street — 30 mg oxycodone tablets made by Mallinckrodt, which shipped more than 500 million of the pills to Florida between 2008 and 2012. When state troopers began pulling over and arresting out-of-state drivers for transporting narcotics, drug dealers took to the air. One airline offered nonstop flights to Florida from Ohio and other Appalachian states, and the route became known as the Oxy Express.
The corporations to date have paid nearly $500 million in fines to the Justice Department for failing to report and prevent suspicious drug orders, a number that is dwarfed by the revenue of the companies.
But the settlements of those cases revealed only limited details about the volume of pills that were being shipped.
As the companies paid fines and promised to do a better job of stopping suspicious orders, they continued to manufacture, ship and dispense large amounts of pills, according to the newly released data.
“The depth and penetration of the opioid epidemic becomes readily apparent from the data,” said Peter J. Mougey, a lawyer for the plaintiffs from Pensacola, Fla. “This disclosure will serve as a wake up call to every community in the country. America should brace itself for the harsh reality of the scope of the opioid epidemic. Transparency will lead to accountability.”
Letter to Editor or Editorial Submission – What a Monster we Have Created! Probation and Parole 2/19/19
Letter to Editor or Editorial Submission – What a Monster we Have Created! 2/19/19
Letter to Editor or Editorial Submission – What a Monster we Have Created! 3/5/19 = sent it out again. PUBLISHED in 7 papers that I know of. 7/18/19 Sent out again.
We write to express our long-held concerns about one aspect of our criminal justice system which is causing so much harm to individuals, and tremendous cost to the taxpayers … needlessly: our Probation and Parole systems. On any given day, there are about 4.3 million Americans on one or the other, with most being on probation.
There is a distinction: Probation is handed down by the judge at trial. It may be in lieu of jail time or in combination with some jail time. The judge will specify restrictions on the offender’s activities during the probationary period. Parole is granted by a parole board, after the offender has served some—or perhaps a lot of—time. The parole board may consider factors such as the offender’s behavior in prison and level of rehabilitation, and let him or her out early. The parole board can also specify restrictions on the person’s activities while on parole.
However, our concerns are valid regarding both systems, referred to herein as supervised release.
Yes, there is much chatter these days about prison reform, but we suggest to you that supervised release needs major reforms: primarily, far less use! We, and other “experts”, believe that at least about 3.5 million of the 4.2 million people on supervised release need not be there at all! Many more can be, and should be, flowed out of the system much sooner than they are.
Probationary sentences more than a year are absurd, yet there are countless people with 3, 5, 10 or more years of probation! In our small state of Delaware, there are about 17,000 people on probation, more than 3 times the prison population.
While reforms to the system suggested recently by Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings would improve the system, none of them is yet law, and addressing our Mass Probation = Revolving Door problem would improve it more quickly and more dramatically than any other change!
The system is designed more to trip people up, than to lift them up. The statistics bear this out as a high percentage of probationers end up back in prison within a year of their release, often for behavior that would not be a crime if they were not on probation. We spend vast sums of taxpayer money on programs that do little other than perpetuate the need for more such programs. The people supplying the programs get rich while society has to deal with all of the social problems caused by locking people away from the families who depend on them for support.
Reforming these systems is potentially the fastest and the best way to actually reduce mass incarceration! The proverbial “revolving door” of prisons is spinning much faster than most folks realize. Two thirds of the people entering prison every year are being sent there for violation probation or parole. The vast majority of them have committed no new crime [ i.e. they were 10 minutes late for curfew! These are called “technical violations”], or they have a drug problem. In New York state, for example, between 2014 and 2018, the percentage of people held on technical violations of parole increased by 15 percent, even as the overall jail population declined by 21 percent.T
The system as it operates now is set up simply to keep the monster fed, keep the revolving door spinning! Probationers receive little if any help finding jobs that pay a living wage from their probation officer, most of whom have too high of a case load to provide such help even if it was available.
This system is callous and cruel, and serves nobody well except the companies selling rehab programs to federal and state corrections systems.
Studies show that our supervised release programs drive recidivism, rather than reduce it! READ, for example: http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/the-problem-with-parole-theres-a-huge-need-for-probation-and-parole-reforms-kra/ The study we reference here, by Columbia University’s Justice Lab study calls on the New York Legislature to do a lot more. It recommends that the state adopt several common-sense reforms, most of which have already shown promise in other states. These include: adopting a system of graduated sanctions and rewards, instead of automatically dumping people into jail for minor infractions; capping jail terms for minor parole violations; requiring a judicial hearing before parole officers can jail people accused of technical violations; shortening parole terms for people who stay out of trouble for specified periods of time; and using the savings reaped from cutting the prison population to expand education, substance abuse and housing opportunities for parolees, who need considerably more help than they’re getting to forge stable lives in their communities. EVERY state should follow this lead and drastically revise its “supervised release” programs.
Do what works to reduce recidivism. Look at this shocking statistic: In 2016, Illinois saw 71,551 new convictions; of those, 70,610, or 89 percent, were reoffenders headed back to prison. The state predicted that it will cost Illinois taxpayers more than $13 billion over the next five years if nothing is done to curtail recidivism. READ Illinois Calculates the High Costs of Recidivism = http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/illinois-calculates-the-high-costs-of-recidivism/
We can’t reform the system if we can’t reform the individual. We ask you this: “Johnny” has been released from prison and is on probation. He has managed to get a job, has a car, and doing ok …. but he goofed and tested as a “dirty urine” because he had smoked a joint … BAM! They violate his probation and lock him up for two years. He loses his job and his car. He has, like millions of Americans, already completed prison so called “drug treatment” programs [they are a JOKE}, yet here he is again. What good does it do him or society to imprison him?! Clearly, none!
Here is the major problem, THE reason why that revolving door is making us dizzy: for every 1 person arrested, 29 people benefit financially. This includes prison personnel, prosecutors, probation and parole officers, etc. As a result, the unions representing them, private prisons, the thousands of contractors who supply prisons, and others spend hundreds of millions of dollars opposing needed changes to the system. It is simply job preservation, with millions “working” in a way which does nothing to increase public safety and wastes your hard-earned tax money!
We know whereof we speak because we, like too many others, get phone calls and emails every day – yes, every day – about someone being harmed – locked up – because they violated probation or parole. The desperate family members who contact us about their loved ones also bear a burden and pay a heavy price, as they deal with the situation which they know makes no sense, helps nobody, and is truly unjust!
Contact your lawmakers and express you concern about this huge problem with American “criminal justice”!
Ken Abraham, former Deputy Attorney General, founder of Citizens for Criminal JUSTICE, Dover, DE, 302-423-4067
Stephen Hampton, Esq, Grady and Hampton, Dover, DE, 302-678-1265
I get lots of letters published, and ghost write for others. The keys to getting your Letter published are:
1. Keep it to 250 words or fewer.
2. Do not make it about “poor little old me”. Describe the problem as one which not only affects the individual, but is a senseless or ineffective measure, policy, or law which also harms communities and society. For example, with reentry, the obstacles make it unnecessarily difficult for the individual, but also harm society by making it hard to become productive, spending money and paying taxes in the community, and they cause increased recidivism = increased crime.
3. Speak from your heart.
4. Google any facts you are not sure about.
5. Do not name-call.
Do what works: Write that Letter! 🙂
Letter to Editor – sign name, town, state, and your phone number (they often call to verify that you sent it), and “Member of Citizens for Criminal JUSTICE” if you like – shows you are part of a large group.
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Digital Jail: How Electronic Monitoring Drives Defendants Into Debt Ankle bracelets are promoted as a humane alternative to jail. But private companies charge defendants hundreds of dollars a month to wear the surveillance devices. If people can’t pay, they may end up behind bars. This is a HUGE nationwide problem – kra
Whether state operated, or implemented by the predatory private prison companies that have entered this arena, this is a huge, nationwide problem. Huge. The private prison companies are very clever at enhancing their blood-sucking revenue, and Courts – judges – have been all too willing to go along.
There are many issues involved here: racism, the problem of having judges elected, instead of appointed, in many states, “sex offender hysteria”, cash bail reform efforts – leading to more of this “virtual imprisonment”, and others.
The fact is that most, yes most, of these devises are completely unnecessary and do nothing to keep us safer!
The article is quite lengthy; anyone really interested in justice should read all of it!
Excerpts from the Article:
On Oct. 12, 2018, Daehaun White walked free, or so he thought. A guard handed him shoelaces and the $19 that had been in his pocket at the time of his booking, along with a letter from his public defender. The lanky 19-year-old had been sitting for almost a month in St. Louis’ Medium Security Institution, a city jail known as the Workhouse, after being pulled over for driving some friends around in a stolen Chevy Cavalier. When the police charged him with tampering with a motor vehicle — driving a car without its owner’s consent — and held him overnight, he assumed he would be released by morning. He told the police that he hadn’t known that the Chevy, which a friend had lent him a few hours earlier, was stolen. He had no previous convictions. But the $1,500 he needed for the bond was far beyond what he or his family could afford. It wasn’t until his public defender, Erika Wurst, persuaded the judge to lower the amount to $500 cash, and a nonprofit fund, the Bail Project, paid it for him, that he was able to leave the notoriously grim jail. “Once they said I was getting released, I was so excited I stopped listening,” he told me recently. He would no longer have to drink water blackened with mold or share a cell with rats, mice and cockroaches. He did a round of victory pushups and gave away all of the snack cakes he had been saving from the cafeteria.
When he finally read Wurst’s letter, however, he realized there was a catch. Even though Wurst had argued against it, the judge, Nicole Colbert-Botchway, had ordered him to wear an ankle monitor that would track his location at every moment using GPS. For as long as he would wear it, he would be required to pay $10 a day to a private company, Eastern Missouri Alternative Sentencing Services, or EMASS. Just to get the monitor attached, he would have to report to EMASS and pay $300 up front — enough to cover the first 25 days, plus a $50 installation fee.
White didn’t know how to find that kind of money. Before his arrest, he was earning minimum wage as a temp, wrapping up boxes of shampoo. His father was largely absent, and his mother, Lakisha Thompson, had recently lost her job as the housekeeping manager at a Holiday Inn. Raising Daehaun and his four siblings, she had struggled to keep up with the bills. The family bounced between houses and apartments in northern St. Louis County, where, as a result of Jim Crow redlining, most of the area’s black population lives. In 2014, they were living on Canfield Drive in Ferguson when Michael Brown was shot and killed there by a police officer. During the ensuing turmoil, Thompson moved the family to Green Bay, Wisconsin. White felt out of place. He was looked down on for his sagging pants, called the N-word when riding his bike. After six months, he moved back to St. Louis County on his own to live with three of his siblings and stepsiblings in a gray house with vinyl siding.
When White got home on the night of his release, he was so overwhelmed to see his family again that he forgot about the letter. He spent the next few days hanging out with his siblings, his mother, who had returned to Missouri earlier that year, and his girlfriend, Demetria, who was seven months pregnant. He didn’t report to EMASS.
What he didn’t realize was that he had failed to meet a deadline. Typically, defendants assigned to monitors must pay EMASS in person and have the device installed within 24 hours of their release from jail. Otherwise, they have to return to court to explain why they’ve violated the judge’s orders. White, however, wasn’t called back for a hearing. Instead, a week after he left the Workhouse, Colbert-Botchway issued a warrant for his arrest.
Three days later, a large group of police officers knocked on Thompson’s door, looking for information about an unrelated case, a robbery. White and his brother had been making dinner with their mother, and the officers asked them for identification. White’s name matched the warrant issued by Colbert-Botchway. “They didn’t tell me what the warrant was for,” he said. “Just that it was for a violation of my release.” He was taken downtown and held for transfer back to the Workhouse. “I kept saying to myself, ’Why am I locked up?’” he recalled.
The next morning, Thompson called the courthouse to find the answer. She learned that her son had been jailed over his failure to acquire and pay for his GPS monitor. To get him out, she needed to pay EMASS on his behalf.
This seemed absurd to her. When Daehaun was 13, she had worn an ankle monitor after violating probation for a minor theft, but the state hadn’t required her to cover the cost of her own supervision. “This is a 19-year-old coming out of the Workhouse,” she told me recently. “There’s no way he has $300 saved.” Thompson felt that the court was forcing her to choose between getting White out of jail and supporting the rest of her family.
Over the past half-century, the number of people behind bars in the United States jumped by more than 500%, to 2.2 million. This extraordinary rise, often attributed to decades of “tough on crime” policies and harsh sentencing laws, has ensured that even as crime rates have dropped since the 1990s, the number of people locked up and the average length of their stay have increased. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the cost of keeping people in jails and prisons soared to $87 billion in 2015 from $19 billion in 1980, in current dollars.
In recent years, politicians on both sides of the aisle have joined criminal-justice reformers in recognizing mass incarceration as both a moral outrage and a fiscal sinkhole. As ankle bracelets have become compact and cost-effective, legislators have embraced them as an enlightened alternative. More than 125,000 people in the criminal-justice system were supervised with monitors in 2015, compared with just 53,000 people in 2005, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts. Although no current national tally is available, data from several cities — Austin, Texas; Indianapolis; Chicago; and San Francisco — show that this number continues to rise. Last December, the First Step Act, which includes provisions for home detention, was signed into law by President Donald Trump with support from the private prison giants GEO Group and CoreCivic. These corporations dominate the so-called community-corrections market — services such as day-reporting and electronic monitoring — that represents one of the fastest-growing revenue sectors of their industry.
By far the most decisive factor promoting the expansion of monitors is the financial one. The United States government pays for monitors for some of those in the federal criminal-justice system and for tens of thousands of immigrants supervised by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. But states and cities, which incur around 90% of the expenditures for jails and prisons, are increasingly passing the financial burden of the devices onto those who wear them. It costs St. Louis roughly $90 a day to detain a person awaiting trial in the Workhouse, where in 2017 the average stay was 291 days. When individuals pay EMASS $10 a day for their own supervision, it costs the city nothing. A 2014 study by NPR and the Brennan Center found that, with the exception of Hawaii, every state required people to pay at least part of the costs associated with GPS monitoring. Some probation offices and sheriffs run their own monitoring programs — renting the equipment from manufacturers, hiring staff and collecting fees directly from participants. Others have outsourced the supervision of defendants, parolees and probationers to private companies.
“There are a lot of judges who reflexively put people on monitors, without making much of a pretense of seriously weighing it at all,” said Chris Albin-Lackey, a senior legal adviser with Human Rights Watch who has researched private-supervision companies. “The limiting factor is the cost it might impose on the public, but when that expense is sourced out, even that minimal brake on judicial discretion goes out the window.”
Nowhere is the pressure to adopt monitors more pronounced than in places like St. Louis: cash-strapped municipalities with large populations of people awaiting trial. Nationwide on any given day, half a million people sit in crowded and expensive jails because, like Daehaun White, they cannot purchase their freedom.
As the movement to overhaul cash bail has challenged the constitutionality of jailing these defendants, judges and sheriffs have turned to monitors as an appealing substitute. In San Francisco, the number of people released from jail onto electronic monitors tripled after a 2018 ruling forced courts to release more defendants without bail. In Marion County, Indiana, where jail overcrowding is routine, roughly 5,000 defendants were put on monitors last year. “You would be hard-pressed to find bail-reform legislation in any state that does not include the possibility of electronic monitoring,” said Robin Steinberg, the chief executive of the Bail Project.
Help Us Investigate
Have You Worn an Electronic Monitoring Device or Supervised Someone Wearing One? We Want to Hear About It.
Yet like the system of wealth-based detention they are meant to help reform, ankle monitors often place poor people in special jeopardy. Across the country, defendants who have not been convicted of a crime are put on “offender funded” payment plans for monitors that sometimes cost more than their bail. And unlike bail, they don’t get the payment back, even if they’re found innocent. Although a federal survey shows that nearly 40% of Americans would have trouble finding $400 to cover an emergency, companies and courts routinely threaten to lock up defendants if they fall behind on payment. In Greenville, South Carolina, pretrial defendants can be sent back to jail when they fall three weeks behind on fees. (An officer for the Greenville County Detention Center defended this practice on the grounds that participants agree to the costs in advance.) In Mohave County, Arizona, pretrial defendants charged with sex offenses have faced rearrest if they fail to pay for their monitors, even if they prove that they can’t afford them. “We risk replacing an unjust cash-bail system,” Steinberg said, “with one just as unfair, inhumane and unnecessary.”
Many local judges, including in St. Louis, do not conduct hearings on a defendant’s ability to pay for private supervision before assigning them to it; those who do often overestimate poor people’s financial means. Without judicial oversight, defendants are vulnerable to private-supervision companies that set their own rates and charge interest when someone can’t pay up front. Some companies even give their employees bonuses for hitting collection targets.
It’s not only debt that can send defendants back to jail. People who may not otherwise be candidates for incarceration can be punished for breaking the lifestyle rules that come with the devices. A survey in California found that juveniles awaiting trial or on probation face especially difficult rules; in one county, juveniles on monitors were asked to follow more than 50 restrictions, including not participating “in any social activity.” For this reason, many advocates describe electronic monitoring as a “net-widener”: Far from serving as an alternative to incarceration, it ends up sweeping more people into the system.
The St. Louis area has made national headlines for its “offender funded” model of policing and punishment. Stricken by postindustrial decline and the 2008 financial crisis, its municipalities turned to their police departments and courts to make up for shortfalls in revenue. In 2015, the Ferguson Report by the United States Department of Justice put hard numbers to what black residents had long suspected: The police were targeting them with disproportionate arrests, traffic tickets and excessive fines. EMASS may have saved the city some money, but it also created an extraordinary and arbitrary-seeming new expense for poor defendants. When cities cover the cost of monitoring, they often pay private contractors $2 to $3 a day for the same equipment and services for which EMASS charges defendants $10 a day. To come up with the money, EMASS clients told me, they had to find second jobs, take their children out of day care and cut into disability checks. Others hurried to plead guilty for no better reason than that being on probation was cheaper than paying for a monitor.
The St. Louis office of EMASS, which charges defendants $300 up front to get the monitor attached. (Zora J Murff for The New York Times)
White assumed that GPS supervision would prove a minor annoyance. Instead, it was a constant burden. The box was bulky and the size of a fist, so he couldn’t hide it under his jeans. Whenever he left the house, people stared. There were snide comments (“nice bracelet”) and cutting jokes. His brothers teased him about having a babysitter. “I’m nobody to watch,” he insisted.
The biggest problem was finding work. Confident and outgoing, White had never struggled to land jobs; after dropping out of high school in his junior year, he flipped burgers at McDonald’s and Steak ’n Shake. To pay for the monitor, he applied to be a custodian at Julia Davis Library, a cashier at Home Depot, a clerk at Menards. The conversation at Home Depot had gone especially well, White thought, until the interviewer casually asked what was on his leg.
Perpetual surveillance also takes a mental toll. Nearly everyone I spoke to who wore a monitor described feeling trapped, as though they were serving a sentence before they had even gone to trial. White was never really sure about what he could or couldn’t do under supervision. In January, when his girlfriend had their daughter, Rylan, White left the hospital shortly after the birth, under the impression that he had a midnight curfew. Later that night, he let his monitor die so that he could sneak back before sunrise to see the baby again.
EMASS makes its money from defendants. But it gets its power over them from judges. It was in 2012 that the judges of the St. Louis court started to use the company’s services — which previously involved people on probation for misdemeanors — for defendants awaiting trial. Last year, the company supervised 239 defendants in the city of St. Louis on GPS monitors, according to numbers provided by EMASS to the court. The alliance with the courts gives the company not just a steady stream of business but a reliable means of recouping debts: Unlike, say, a credit-card company, which must file a civil suit to collect from overdue customers, EMASS can initiate criminal-court proceedings, threatening defendants with another stay in the Workhouse.
The contract with EMASS allows the court to assign indigent defendants to the company to oversee “at no cost.” Yet neither Burlison nor any of the other current or former judges I spoke with recalled waiving fees when ordering someone to wear an ankle monitor. When I asked Burlison why he didn’t, he said that he was concerned that if he started to make exceptions on the basis of income, the company might stop providing ankle-monitoring services in St. Louis.
Judges are anxious about what people released without posting bail might do once they get out. Several told me that monitors may ensure that the defendants return to court. Not unlike doctors who order a battery of tests for a mildly ill patient to avoid a potential malpractice suit, judges seem to view monitors as a precaution against their faces appearing on the front page of the newspaper. “Every judge’s fear is to let somebody out on recognizance and he commits murder, and then everyone asks, ’How in the hell was this person let out?’” said Robert Dierker, who served as a judge in St. Louis from 1986 to 2017 and now represents the city in the bail lawsuit. “But with GPS, you can say, ’Well, I have him on GPS, what else can I do?’”
Critics of monitors contend that their public-safety appeal is illusory: If defendants are intent on harming someone or skipping town, the bracelet, which can be easily removed with a pair of scissors, would not stop them. Studies showing that people tracked by GPS appear in court more reliably are scarce, and research about its effectiveness as a deterrent is inconclusive.
“The fundamental question is, What purpose is electronic monitoring serving?” said Blake Strode, the executive director of ArchCity Defenders, a nonprofit civil rights law firm in St. Louis that is one of several firms representing the plaintiffs in the bail lawsuit. “If the only purpose it’s serving is to make judges feel better because they don’t want to be on the hook if something goes wrong, then that’s not a sensible approach. We should not simply be monitoring for monitoring’s sake.”
Electronic monitoring was first conceived in the early 1960s by Ralph and Robert Gable, identical twins studying at Harvard under the psychologists Timothy Leary and B.F. Skinner, respectively. Influenced in part by Skinner’s theories of positive reinforcement, the Gables rigged up some surplus missile-tracking equipment to monitor teenagers on probation; those who showed up at the right places at the right times were rewarded with movie tickets, limo rides and other prizes.
The reality of electronic monitoring today is that Big Brother is watching some groups more than others. No national statistics are available on the racial breakdown of Americans wearing ankle monitors, but all indications suggest that mass supervision, like mass incarceration, disproportionately affects black people. In Cook County, Illinois, for instance, black people make up 24% of the population, and 67% of those on monitors. The sociologist Simone Browne has connected contemporary surveillance technologies like GPS monitors to America’s long history of controlling where black people live, move and work. In her 2015 book, “Dark Matters,” she traces the ways in which “surveillance is nothing new to black folks,” from the branding of enslaved people and the shackling of convict laborers to Jim Crow segregation and the home visits of welfare agencies. These historical inequities, Browne notes, influence where and on whom new tools like ankle monitors are imposed.
For some black families, including White’s, monitoring stretches across generations. Annette Taylor, the director of Ripple Effect, an advocacy group for prisoners and their families based in Champaign, Illinois, has seen her ex-husband, brother, son, nephew and sister’s husband wear ankle monitors over the years. She had to wear one herself, about a decade ago, she said, for driving with a suspended license. “You’re making people a prisoner of their home,” she told me. When her son was paroled and placed on house arrest, he couldn’t live with her, because he was forbidden to associate with people convicted of felonies, including his stepfather, who was also on house arrest.
Michelle Alexander, a legal scholar and columnist for The Times, has argued that monitoring engenders a new form of oppression under the guise of progress. In her 2010 book, “The New Jim Crow,” she wrote that the term “mass incarceration” should refer to the “system that locks people not only behind actual bars in actual prisons, but also behind virtual bars and virtual walls — walls that are invisible to the naked eye but function nearly as effectively as Jim Crow laws once did at locking people of color into a permanent second-class citizenship.”
As the cost of monitoring continues to fall, those who are required to submit to it may worry less about the expense and more about the intrusive surveillance. The devices, some of which are equipped with two-way microphones, can give corrections officials unprecedented access to the private lives not just of those monitored but also of their families and friends. GPS location data appeals to the police, who can use it to investigate crimes. Already the goal is both to track what individuals are doing and to anticipate what they might do next. BI Incorporated, an electronic-monitoring subsidiary of GEO Group, has the ability to assign risk scores to the behavioral patterns of those monitored, so that law enforcement can “address potential problems before they happen.” Judges leery of recidivism have begun to embrace risk-assessment tools. As a result, defendants who have yet to be convicted of an offense in court may be categorized by their future chances of reoffending.
The combination of GPS location data with other tracking technologies such as automatic license-plate readers represents an uncharted frontier for finer-grained surveillance. In some cities, police have concentrated these tools in neighborhoods of color. A CityLab investigation found that Baltimore police were more likely to deploy the Stingray — the controversial and secretive cellphone tracking technology — where African Americans lived. In the aftermath of Freddie Gray’s death in 2015, the police spied on Black Lives Matter protesters with face recognition technology. Given this pattern, the term “electronic monitoring” may soon refer not just to a specific piece of equipment but to an all-encompassing strategy.
If the evolution of the criminal-justice system is any guide, it is very likely that the ankle bracelet will go out of fashion. Some GPS monitoring vendors have already started to offer smartphone applications that verify someone’s location through voice and face recognition. These apps, with names like Smart-LINK and Shadowtrack, promise to be cheaper and more convenient than a boxy bracelet. They’re also less visible, mitigating the stigma and normalizing surveillance. While reducing the number of people in physical prison, these seductive applications could, paradoxically, increase its reach. For the nearly 4.5 million Americans on probation or parole, it is not difficult to imagine a virtual prison system as ubiquitous — and invasive — as Instagram or Facebook.
Buss calculated the money White owed going back to November: $755, plus 10% annual interest. Over the next nine months, EMASS expected him to make monthly payments that would add up to $850 — more than the court had required for his bond. White looked at the receipt and shook his head. “I get in trouble for living,” he said as he walked out of the office. “For being me.”
This is what I send to most (I don’t have time to get it to all of them) new internet connections, on MeWe, LinkedIn, etc.
Thanks for connecting. You may want to subscribe to our weekly eNewsletter. Check out our website, loaded with useful (Enter “Practical Tip” in search bar!) and important information you will not see elsewhere!
Should you or any of your connections ever have any questions about any of these articles or about any problem with the criminal justice system, or about civil rights, don’t hesitate to call me. 302-423-4067. I work every day from 3 or 4 am until 10 pm. I get calls from all over the country about everything from grad students looking for guidance with their classes to freeing the innocent and others from prisons, calls about saving lives… etc., …and glad to answer them all. If I don’t know an answer, I’ll say “I don’t know, but let’s find out!”
Everybody is affected by our dysfunctional criminal justice system. Read these Articles to learn some solutions to the problems!
Porn star or not, read this! Practical Tip # 89 – Accusers face risks in breaking nondisclosure agreements – Don’t Sign a Nondisclosure! – kra With Letter to the Editor = http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/practical-tip-89-accusers-face-risks-breaking-nondisclosure-agreements-dont-sign-nondisclosure-kra/
This is a MUST READ if you have not read it! Probation and Parole – a short Essay by Ken Abraham – With Letter to the Editor or Editorial Submission – Widely PUBLISHED = http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/probation-and-parole-an-essay-by-ken-abraham-with-letter-to-the-editor/
Practical Tip on Pardons, Expungements, Commutations/Clemency – With fee agreement = http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/practical-tip-pardons-expungments-commtations/
Report Bad Lawyers – Do it! – http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/report-bad-lawyers-they-dont-just-screw-up-the-casethey-ruin-lives-every-day/
Prison Abuse – Why Massive Indifference is a Massive Mistake – kra = http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/prison-abuse-massive-indifference-massive-mistake/
READ Crime Prevention Bill = http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/crime-bill/
Know Anyone Associated With an Innocence Project Team? Practical Tip: Tell them “Get them out First” kra – http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/practical-tip-pardons-expungments-commtations/
http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/prosecution-imprisonment-will-stop-prison-abuse-demand-avoid-deaths-prison-guards/ = How to avoid the deaths of prison guards and inmates … or do you want to join the countless officials who refuse to acknowledge this huge problem called prison abuse?
http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/the-power-of-advertising-win-the-war-on-dr = The Answer to the Drug Problem … or do you want to continue to waste about a hundred billion dollars a year, and get nowhere?
Letter to the Editor – Criminal justice system policies are changing for the better – by Ken Abraham – PUBLISHED – http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/criminal-justice-system-policies-changing-better-ken-abraham-published/
Florida shooting: NRA sues as Florida enacts gun-control law – with Letter to the Editor – kra – http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/florida-shooting-nra-sues-as-florida-enacts-gun-control-law-with-letter-to-the-editor-kra/ I just about fell out of my chair when a Pulitzer Prize winning author called me a minute ago and said: “Great letter, Mr. Abraham!” He now calls me Ken.
Letter from a concerned citizen, Pam Rehmer, about racism in the criminal justice system. Although polls show that 74% of Americans don’t think the system is racist, many, many studies show that it is. http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/letter-from-a-concerned-citizen-about-racism-in-the-system/
http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/how-the-war-on-drugs-has-destroyed-justice/ = I remember when the system worked well; justice nearly always was the result. Today it is a total train wreck – perhaps the most vivid manifestation is that we are imprisoning hundreds of innocent people every year. This is WHY it is a train wreck!
More Band-Aids won’t solve wave of drug violence! – http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/band-aids-wont-solve-wave-drug-violence/
Politics – Politics is what destroyed our criminal justice system! – http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/politics-politics-destroyed-criminal-justice-system/
Abolish the “Sex Offender” Registry! Learn the FACTS instead of all the “Sex Offender Hysteria” kra = http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/abolish-the-sex-offender-registry-kra/
Got a Problem with the Criminal Justice System? CALL this Guy!
Practical Tip – Get Empowered! How YOU Can Create a Powerful, Effective Force for Reform of our Criminal Justice System -http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/practical-tip-how-you-can-create-a-powerful-effective-force-for-reform-of-our-criminal-justice-system/
Please take a moment to join our Citizens for Criminal JUSTICE group on MeWe, the fast – growing social media platform positioning itself as an alternative to FB!
Yes, he was funny as hell, but also wise:
Feel free to reproduce anything I have written anywhere at any time, with or without attribution. The important thing is to share the information, educate the public, most of whom are clueless about what a disaster the criminal justice system is!
Want to debate any of this? Call any time; I work from 3 or 4 a m until I drop every day. Better yet, please invite me to a public forum to debate any of these issues!
Make A Difference
So many say “why bother, there’s nothing I can do!”
Well, I sure hope one of those is not you!
For you can be far, far more influential than you think,
All you need do is share some well-thought-out-ink!
READ http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/practical-tip-how-you-can-become-a-prison-reform-advocate-here-is-how-do-it/PracticalTip: How YOU can become a “prison reform advocate” – or any ADVOCATE! Here is how! EASY as 1, 2 ,3 ! DO IT!
Why Am I Up in The Middle of The Night?
Why Am I Up in The Middle of The Night?
Because there is so much injustice in the justice system, it’s just not right,
So I rest when I can, but, largely, I fight, fight, fight,
I remember when the system did in fact work quit well,
But since our “war on drugs”, it’s gone straight to hell!
Learn neat stuff: The BBC series “Planet Earth – Dynasties”! Have you seen shrimps attack a starfish? Did you know that there are fish with jaws so powerful that they can bite through rock? Have you seen the astonishing transformations which cuttlefish use to disguise themselves? Did you know there is a predator which eats great white sharks? – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iC3hGfTI3ew
MAKE it a great day! Ken Abraham
Founder, Citizens for Criminal JUSTICE, (CCJ)
430 Kings Hwy., Suite 414, Dover, DE 19901
Founder, “Adopt a Prisoner” Church Reentry Program,
And founder of no more organizations this decade! 🙂
So I say: Quit the idiocy and legalize it!
More than six in ten US adults believe that the personal use of cannabis ought to be legal in every state in the country, according to nationwide polling data compiled by Survey Monkey and the news portal Axios.
Sixty-three percent of respondents said that they support “legalizing the recreational use of marijuana on a national level.” Eighty-seven percent of respondents said that they support “allowing adults to legally use marijuana for medical purposes.” Both percentages are consistent with other recent national surveys.
Though nearly two-thirds of respondents favored legalization, only about one-quarter of those surveyed expressed interest in using marijuana themselves.
Drug Addiction Isn’t a Crime—We Just Treat it Like One A new film proves that there is an alternative, and that it works.
They see the folly of the war on drugs. The video confirms what I have said for years: “For many in reentry and recovery, it makes a huge difference to know that someone cares whether they succeed”! It also confirms that prison treatment programs do NOT work!
READ this: The Power of Advertising – Win the “War on Drugs” – http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/the-power-of-advertising-win-the-war-on-drugs/
Keith Whiteman was first locked up in 1995, at age 20. Three years in prison, five months out—then he offended again. Another two years in prison, seven months out. Three more times he returned, spending years behind bars and then a few months free. Each time he committed yet another offense (or several), all a byproduct of his addiction to drugs. “A recidivating machine,” Keith described himself to me.
Overall, Keith had 40 felony convictions, six felony imprisonments, and many more stints in jail. Each cycle came at a cost, both to him and to society. During 15 years in the custody of the Washington State Department of Corrections, Keith took advantage of every “treatment” program the Department of Corrections (DOC) had to offer. Yet, while you could lock him up a countless number of times, for longer and longer sentences, it wasn’t until he was released into a web of support that he was able to break the cycle of imprisonment: going in with a drug addiction, coming out with a drug addiction, and reoffending.
In 2008, though, something changed: Just before his release, Keith connected with the Post-Prison Education Program, and we delivered. We stood with Keith and his family as he strived to build a life worth living. The Post-Prison Education Program facilitated and encouraged his entry into and success in college; provided housing, groceries, transportation, and additional basic needs; and, importantly, mentored Keith intensively. For the first time, Keith said, people cared about him who weren’t related to him, who owed him nothing. Buoyed by hope, he was able to overcome addiction, earn a college degree, launch a career in human services, and father his son with consistency and dignity.
Dr. Gabor Mate’s words come closer than any I’ve ever heard or read that adequately explain the power of addiction: “people jeopardize their lives for the sake of making the moment livable. Nothing sways them from the habit—not illness, not the sacrifice of love and relationship, not the loss of all earthly goods, not the crushing of their dignity, not the fear of dying. The drive is that relentless.”
“Prison wasn’t the solution,” Keith said in an interview for the new Brave New Films feature about addiction and incarceration, Sentencing Reform: Drug Addiction, released today. It never is, and it never will be. Noted criminal-justice analyst David Lovell, who spent years as a research professor at the University of Washington, once argued that the DOC is incapable of successfully addressing recidivism, readmission, overdoses, and suicides. “Probation and community corrections officers can’t really manage cases, at least not by themselves, in a way that responds in a timely fashion,” Lovell wrote. To help high-risk prisoners in their time of need, “you need to be available and trusted. That’s not a reasonable expectation for DOC employees,” by virtue of their enforcement role. “Many of them do their very best,” he wrote. But what corrections officers in the community do—supervise ex-offenders and refer them to programs—does not “take the place of a genuine relationship between the ex-prisoner and his or her real community of support.”
If what Americans really want is sheer hateful vindictiveness and punishment with no intent of rehabilitation, they should by all means continue on the course set by presidents Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, Bush, and now Trump: Build more prisons, increase sentences, call for the death penalty for drug dealers, and continue to throw away taxpayers’ dollars at a rate of as much as $504 billion per year. Continue to be blindingly, inexpressibly ignorant, while failing to improve community safety even one whit.
However, if our country wants to help pull people out of addiction and into productive, healthy, and hopeful lives, they should listen to what Eldon Vail, former secretary of the Washington State Department of Corrections, proposed to me years ago: Commit, in the state legislature, to reducing the prison population, starting with long-term prisoners. Release people only into programs with a proven track record that are centered in evidence-based principles and include treatment, job training, education, and/or employment. The programs should handle all the casework; probation officers, he said, should be there for enforcement only. Dedicate half the savings from a reduced prison population to the programs supporting former prisoners on the outside.
Such an approach would save taxpayer dollars, Vail said, in the short and long term, and would enhance community safety. What’s more, when people who have long suffered from addiction leave prison and land in a well-knit safety net, they can build lives worth living for themselves, their families, and our communities. Just ask Keith Whiteman.
“They are fighting a war on drugs and engage citizens in paramilitary conflict on a daily basis. And the number of citizen casualties in this war is much higher than in the war on terror. That says a lot about our national priorities.” I would substitute the word “STUPIDITY” for “priorities. READ How the War on Drugs Has Destroyed Justice! = http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/how-the-war-on-drugs-has-destroyed-justice/
We all remember this one! Black man ran because he had a warrant for child support; cop shot him in the back several times!
Excerpts from the Article:
More than 1,000 Americans were killed in 2017 by a particularly violent class of fellow citizens. Some of those killed by these highly trained gunmen were children, and many of them were unarmed. Are these shooters terrorists? Heavily armed gang members? No. They’re the police.
According to The Free Thought Project (“TFTP”), police killed at least 1,184 Americans in 2017. Terrorists, on the other hand, killed 12. Those sworn to uphold the law have killed nearly 100 times as many as those attempting to make a political statement through an act of violence on American soil.
The number killed in mass shootings, such as those in Nevada and Texas, are not included in this government tally of terrorist killings. But according to TFTP, even if the deaths from these mass shootings are included, police have still killed far more people than all the mass shooters in 2017 combined.
The tendency of police to kill so many Americans has vexed criminologists and sociologists. Some suggest that America is riddled with crime, but the numbers don’t support that thesis. In the United Kingdom, there are 109.96 crimes per 1,000 citizens. That is nearly three times the rate in America, which stands at 41.29 crimes per 1,000 citizens. But police in the U.K. killed only four people in 2017.
In fact, America stands out across the globe for its high rate of police killings. According to TFTP, American police killed more people in four days than were killed in all of 2017 by police in Germany, England, Spain, Switzerland, and Iceland—combined.
The Free Thought Project proposes two reasons why police in America are so deadly compared to the rest of the world. First off, American police are rarely punished for brutality and killing. Police killings are often investigated by other officers from the same agency as the shooter. Prosecutors, who work with local police on a daily basis, are loathe to charge cops with crimes.
But a far bigger problem in America is the militarization of the police force. Police are arguably no longer citizens on patrol, who protect and serve, but members of a standing army that occupies the nation. They are fighting a war on drugs and engage citizens in paramilitary conflict on a daily basis. And the number of citizen casualties in this war is much higher than in the war on terror. That says a lot about our national priorities.