Of course it was negligence. Gross negligence, as with scores of other articles I have posted. Wake up, America! Health care in our prisons is a joke, and it is costing YOU BILLIONS of $$$$$$ every year.
Read about the needless death of Tom Husar. Unfortunately, his parents are mistaken in thinking that a $5 million verdict will be a deterrent. It won’t; I have seen too many of these! The only possible deterrent is prosecution and imprisonment of those responsible!
Excerpts from the Article:
It was negligence, Thomas Husar’s parents claim in a lawsuit, when their son’s medical needs went unanswered for at least 12 hours in the Broome County jail.
It was deliberate indifference, they say, when corrections officers ignored 40-year-old Thomas as he began crying for help from his cell the afternoon of Nov. 5, 2019 — pleas other inmates echoed on his behalf in the hours that followed.
And it was a violation of Thomas’ legal rights, his parents argue, when jail personnel failed to provide him with adequate medical care for his chronic illness during the three weeks he spent behind bars before he died.
The $5 million in damages sought by Thomas’ parents Mike and Diane Husar in a negligence lawsuit filed in court Sept. 15 won’t bring him back, but they argue it could bring accountability for his death while he was in jail.
The seed of a lawsuit — Husar was the ninth Broome County inmate to die in the jail since 2011 — was planted in January when the Husars filed a notice of claim against the county and the sheriff’s office, their first step toward legal action. The 19-page lawsuit filed in the state Supreme Court of Broome County argues Thomas Husar’s death was preventable.
Diane and Mike Husar of Binghamton with photos of their late son Tom Husar, who died in November 2019. Tom suffered from a chronic disease and was in the Broome County Jail on a probation violation when he died. January 23, 2020.
“Thomas was not monitored or treated with reasonable care under the circumstances, and was not monitored or treated in accordance with internal policy, statewide regulations … for providing basic medical care to inmates in a correctional environment,” Ray Schlather, the Husar’s Ithaca-based attorney, said in the lawsuit.
Defendants in the complaint include Broome County, Sheriff David Harder, the jail’s administrator Major Mark Smolinsky, as well as unnamed John/Jane Doe defendants who are employed by the county.
Thomas Husar, a Chenango Valley High School graduate and Eagle Scout, stood at 6-foot-5 and loved to play basketball. But when his attempts at playing at the college level didn’t pan out, he turned to coaching. Husar spent a year coaching in North Carolina, then took a job as an assistant college coach at Mount St. Vincent’s in New York City.
But in 2009, after about two years battling intense pain symptoms, doctors put him on a grueling regimen of high-dose opioid medications. He’d been diagnosed with systemic mastocytosis, a condition that created high numbers of mast cells in his small bowel wall.
Background:Thomas Husar died after his arrest on a probation violation. His parents blame the jail.
A doctor who treated Husar in New York City described it as an “unusual condition,” one that couldn’t be cured, but could be treated. Symptoms included chronic severe abdominal pain, unpredictable swelling of the ankles to an extent that impedes walking and in other parts of the body, transient numbness, headache, nausea, vomiting, fever and excessive thirst.
That diagnosis and his strict medication requirements cut Husar’s coaching career short in 2015, and he returned to Broome County to live with his parents. Two years later, in 2017, Husar was charged in Binghamton with driving while impaired by drugs. His family believes his prescription medication was a factor in the arrest.
He pleaded guilty in exchange for probation, which he was later accused of violating for missing a court appearance in 2019. He was jailed that October.
The lawsuit filed Tuesday argues the Broome County Sheriff and the jail’s administrator were personally informed of Husar’s illness, that he’d been in the jail’s medical unit and that he’d previously been hospitalized while an inmate.
The lawsuit said Husar had been taken into custody earlier in 2019, and spent a week hospitalized while handcuffed to his bed, before he was released. In late October, about a week before Husar’s death, the lawsuit said, a corrections officer requested that Husar be returned to the jail’s medical unit because of his declining health. That requested transfer never happened.
Husar lost about 30 pounds during his three weeks in jail and he developed an ulcer, according to the lawsuit. He was awaiting a Nov. 6, 2019 court date.
The lawsuit said Husar began calling for help from his cell around 2 p.m. on Nov. 5, showing “obvious pain, confusion and distress.” For 12 hours, the lawsuit claims, his cries were ignored and no attempts at medical care were made. Some jail personnel allegedly told others to “ignore him,” the lawsuit said, and a lockdown of the cell block was ordered.
The next morning, at 2:38 a.m., jail officers found Husar collapsed in his cell. He was later pronounced dead.
A copy of Thomas Husar’s death certificate stated the manner of his death was by natural cause, the result of bleeding out from the ulceration of an artery.
But the lawsuit also argues “deficient and substandard” policies and practices by Broome County officials during Husar’s incarceration, either individually or in combination, were factors in his death.
Read the Thomas Husar lawsuit here:
Certainly a major development, and a move which every state should make, as should the Feds!
Excerpts from the Article:
Colorado became the first state to pass a law prohibiting law enforcement officers from invoking qualified immunity as a defense when they’re accused in a lawsuit of violating a citizen’s civil rights. Hopefully, the law passed in June will start a trend in other states and lend support to a bill introduced in Congress on June 4, 2020, to do the same for federal civil rights lawsuits.
As part of a police reform bill introduced by Colorado Governor Jared Polis, called “Enhance Law Enforcement Integrity Act,” the new law says “qualified immunity is not a defense to liability pursuant to this section.” It also bans chokeholds, limits when police can shoot at fleeing suspects, and requires police to use body cameras and make the footage available to the public.
Qualified immunity, a hot topic lately, is a commonly used affirmative defense protecting law enforcement from lawsuits arising from alleged civil rights violations by officers committed in the line of duty. It was created by the U.S. Supreme Court in Pierson v. Ray, 386 U.S. 547 (1967), where a group of men filed a federal civil rights lawsuit after they were arrested and convicted in Mississippi for violating a state segregation law by mixing races in a bus terminal. When the Supreme Court later declared the law unconstitutional, they filed their lawsuit. The Supreme Court ruled that the police weren’t expected to “predict” that the law was unconstitutional and therefore they weren’t liable for the illegal arrests. Qualified immunity stems from the idea that unless “clearly established” law exists prohibiting an officer’s conduct, he’s immune from liability, no matter how egregious his actions may be.
Colorado’s law disqualifying qualified immunity, however, only applies to state lawsuits. “What Colorado did in this bill, which I think is really creative,” says Benjamin Levin, an associate professor at Colorado Law, “it creates a state cause of action in Colorado State courts, for people whose rights have been violated under the Colorado State Constitution.”
University of Denver law professor Alan Chen adds, “the importance of this is that it gives Colorado citizens a credible vehicle for enforcing their state constitutional rights against law enforcement officers.”
Critics of limiting or abolishing qualified immunity for law enforcement officers say it’s needed to ensure protection for officers’ split-second decisions in life-threatening situations. But “that doesn’t mean that the police are going to lose every [lawsuit] just because they don’t have qualified immunity,” says Chen. “There are other reasons why the plaintiffs might not necessarily prevail.” And the new law’s supporters have said as much, noting the change in law in Colorado only creates a lane for relief and doesn’t guarantee the outcome.
Studies show that isolation for juveniles is wildly counterproductive. I have seen adults go nuts (start talking to themselves, answering themselves, etc.) and it is worse for juveniles.
As for my experience, when guards willfully, maliciously, and criminally kept me in isolation for 415 days … “Thank you, God, for my strong spirit”.
Many kids need mental health attention, which is totally lacking in all of our prisons.
Excerpts from the Article:
Isolation. Timeout. Lockdown. The hole. Solitary confinement goes by many names, and it can be employed as arbitrarily as the language used to define it.
“There is no single standard for anything in the United States when it comes to crime and punishment, which is usually to everyone’s detriment,” said Ian Kysel, a visiting assistant clinical professor of law at Cornell Law School.
“In the area of conditions of confinement, that really continues to be the case. There’s really no enforceable national standards for anything in relation to minimally adequate conditions of confinement.”
Solitary confinement has its roots in the Quakers, a Protestant sect exploring more humane ways to treat criminals in the late 18th century. Quakers used isolation as a means of purification through introspective prayer — a form of penance.
The practice has since transformed and been institutionalized throughout the U.S. justice system, including in juvenile facilities as a means of discipline, protection and treatment.
Roughly 20% to 26% of youth reported being isolated during their time in juvenile detention. Of these, 87% reported they were isolated for more than two hours, while 53% said it was longer than 24 hours, according to a 2016 report by the federal Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency
“Solitary confinement and other forms of isolation remain all too common in juvenile facilities,” said Karen Lindell, a senior attorney at the Juvenile Law Center. “As described in our 2017 report on the use of solitary confinement, almost half of juvenile facilities report using isolation to control behavior, and more than two-thirds of juvenile defenders we polled say they have clients who spent time in solitary.”
Rule 45.1 of the UN’s “Nelson Mandela Rules” of internationally recognized guidelines states that solitary confinement “shall be used only in exceptional cases as a last resort, for as short a time as possible.”
At the national level, a federal law in 2016 prohibited the use of solitary confinement and involuntary seclusion to punish children — but it’s only applicable to those in federal Bureau of Prison facilities. However, across the country, it’s up to state and local officials to regulate the use of solitary confinement.
Jacqueline Rodriguez, then 12, spent the 2009 Christmas holidays at the Hillcrest Juvenile Hall in San Mateo, California. She was held in isolation because state law required roommates to be no more than two years apart in age and there were no other detainees 14 or younger.
Advocates, researchers, legislators and psychologists agree on the long-lasting, detrimental effects solitary confinement has on youth and adults alike. Despite overwhelming evidence and pressure from these groups, solitary confinement still is utilized in nearly every state for one reason or another. According to the National Conference of State Legislators, 16 states use it without limitations.
One of those states is Louisiana, where juvenile detention centers follow standards outlined by the state’s Department of Child and Family Services. Long-term correctional facilities follow standards outlined by the Office of Juvenile Justice. These standards mainly address the process employees must follow after placing a youth in room confinement, room isolation, protective isolation or administrative segregation. Included are mandatory check-ins and proper documentation. “I would say that those standards are still lacking. They still allow kids to be confined in their cells for too long,” said Rachel Gassert, policy director at the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights. “It’s certainly of no value and it’s very harmful.”
Isolation can have an almost immediate psychological impact and cause lasting trauma in adults, research has shown, but experts say its effects on young people are more detrimental because their brains still are developing.
The extensive psychological effects of solitary can include hallucinations, anxiety, rage, insomnia, self-harm and suicidal thoughts and attempts, according to a 2011 report by Human Rights Watch. Physical damage includes lack of adequate exercise, physical changes, stunted growth, inadequate nutrition, hair loss and problems menstruating.
Experts say young people placed in solitary are more at risk to develop depression, engage in acts of self harm and attempt or die by suicide. Those with a history of mental illness, trauma and abuse are even more at risk.
This was the case for Solan Peterson, 13, of Louisiana. On Feb. 1, 2019, Solan was sent to Ware Youth Center in Coushatta after setting a roll of toilet paper on fire in his middle school restroom. Four days later, he was placed in solitary confinement after taking apart a lamp and using it to break the lock on his cell door. On Feb. 10, Solan died by suicide in the room he was confined.
“I think it was a major contributor to his death,” said his father, Ronnie Peterson. “He was not the type that would have survived long in solitary confinement.” Two days before Solan took his life, a 17-year-old at Ware had died by suicide while in solitary.
Solan was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and had a history of trauma from his time in the foster care system, where he went from home to home until his adoption in October 2013.
“When it’s like the situation we grew up in,” said Siarah Shalom Hall, Solan’s biological sister. “Occasionally after having been adopted it would cross my mind, ‘I wonder if my biological parents are still alive? I wonder how they’re doing or if one of them have killed themselves?’ “It never even crossed my mind that it was one of my siblings.”
Under Louisiana’s guidelines, corrections officers are supposed to check on young people held in solitary every 15 minutes. They didn’t. About two that morning in 2019, Peterson and his wife received a phone call informing them their son had hanged himself using a bedsheet and died hours before. He had been in isolation for four days.
“He would have probably been OK in a regular cell amongst a bunch of other kids in Ware,” his father said. “It might not have been ideal, and he might have had some problems, but I don’t think we’d had the same outcome.”
Hall, Solan’s sister, said there were red flags that should’ve been considered before placing Solan in confinement, including his childhood trauma and ADHD medications. “It just blows my mind that every single sign just slipped past everyone,” she said. “So many people played a role in this happening, and so many people were able to prevent it and just no one did.
“If there were even just a few more regulations. There were tons of things that could be put into place. But even if one of those things were there, this could have been prevented.”
After Solan’s suicide, his family became advocates against the use of solitary confinement, working with various groups and lawmakers, including the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights, to push new legislation. In June 2019, Gov. John Bel Edwards signed House Bill 158, commonly known as Solan’s Law.
The law provides alternatives to juvenile detention in Louisiana and requires screening that takes into account any factors — such as previous arrests and mental health — that would lessen or increase a sentence.
“The idea was just to establish objective criteria that was aligned with the purpose of detention,” Gassert said. “That does not mean that a child must be detained if they meet certain criteria. But just that they should not be detained if they don’t meet the criteria.”
Although Solan’s Law doesn’t specifically address solitary confinement, it’s considered a step in the right direction as an increasing number of advocates push for Louisiana to ban the practice. “That’s by far not all that needs to be done,” Hall said. “There is so much more. Even through this, I learned a lot that’s wrong with solitary confinement.”
Isolation practices should only be used when it’s deemed absolutely necessary through set protocols, she said, such as when a child is putting others in genuine danger. “I would like to see all solitary confinement abolished,” Peterson said, ’but especially for youths because I find it to be a kind of torture.”
Seven states have laws that limit or prohibit the use of solitary confinement in youth detention centers, according to the National Conference of State Legislators.
In January 2018, California enacted legislation that provides specific guidelines for juvenile solitary confinement and replaced the term with “room confinement.” The law limits room confinement to four hours, after which the minor must be released and checked by medical staff, or given a plan detailing when he or she will be released from the locked room.
“You could have a law that bans all uses of solitary confinement,” said Lindell with the Juvenile Law Center, “and yet the system might still be very often placing kids in a room by themselves for many hours at a time, or perhaps days at a time for their own safety or for something called room confinement or isolation. There’s all these kinds of different euphemisms or terms.”
Experts and advocates say isolation is a last-resort method of de-escalation that should only be used to allow a child time to calm down. If it doesn’t work, Lindell said, employees must try something else. “You don’t need to just continue to put that person in the room for longer,” she said. “You need to get another mental health professional involved. You need to try something different. There’s a whole host of different tools, potentially, but what we don’t need is to be next to extend that period.”
Lindell said “necessary” use of solitary confinement should be for a matter of hours, never for punishment and always as a time to calm down.
Kysel, the Cornell law professor, called the continued use of solitary confinement in the U.S. despite widespread condemnation “a kind of comprehensive institutional failure.”
“You’re not going to reform the use of solitary confinement without reforming the way that we treat young people in conflict with the law,” he said.
Jos Fox is a Myrta J. Pulliam fellow. This report is part of Kids Imprisoned, an investigation of juvenile justice in America produced by the Carnegie-Knight News21 program. For more stories, visit kidsimprisoned.news21.com. If you or someone you know is in need of help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or text 741-741 to connect with a trained crisis counselor right away.
To which I say: Hooray! Too many of the old fogies have been there too long! 🙂
We need new blood and new laws!
Excerpts from the Article:
A Black political newcomer campaigning on a progressive platform has defeated the leader of Delaware’s state Senate in a Democratic primary.
Social worker Marie Pinkney garnered about 52.4% of the vote in Tuesday’s primary to defeat Senate President Pro Tem David McBride in the 13th Senate district primary.
McBride is one of the longest-serving lawmakers in Delaware history. He was first elected to the Senate in 1980 after spending two years in the House and had not had a primary challenger since 1986. He became pro tem in 2016 after serving four years as majority leader.
Pinkney advances to face Republican Alexander Homich in the November general election.
During the campaign, Pinkney was particularly critical of McBride for “locking up” gun-control legislation last year.
McBride declared last year that several gun-control measures, including bans on certain semiautomatic firearms and large capacity magazines, would not come out of a committee he led because support among fellow Democrats was “almost nonexistent.”
Jesse Chadderdon, executive director of the Delaware Democratic Party, said the election results suggest McBride’s position on the gun bills “ultimately had consequences,” as more than two-thirds of Democrats favor stronger control measures.
“It’s hard to say it was the only factor, but do I believe it was the most significant factor? Yes, I do,” he said.
Pinkney is one of several newcomers endorsed by Progressive Democrats for Delaware who defeated incumbent Democratic lawmakers.
“That’s a huge victory,” PDD President Jordyn Pusey said of Pinkney’s win.
In other races, newcomer Eric Morrison defeated Rep. Earl Jaques of Newark, who was facing his first primary challenge in 10 years. Morrison will face Republican Tripp Keister and Libertarian William Hinds in November. Should he win the general election, Morrison would become the first openly gay candidate elected to the General Assembly.
Progressive challenger Larry Lambert defeated Rep. Ray Siegfried, who was elected in 2018 to represent a Claymont-area district. Lambert was the runner-up to Siegfried in the 2018 Democratic primary. He will face Republican James Haubrich and Libertarian Scott Gesty in November.
A fourth candidate endorsed by Progressive Democrats for Delaware, Madinah Wilson-Anton, was leading Rep. John Viola in a Democratic primary for the 26th House District. Viola has held the Newark-area seat for 22 years. Wilson-Anton, a former legislative aide, could become the first Muslim elected to the General Assembly if she defeats Viola and then Republican Timothy Conrad in November. State elections commissioner Anthony Albence said Wednesday that officials were not anticipating any changes to unofficial vote totals showing Wilson-Anton defeating Viola by a narrow margin.
Two other progressive candidates won Democratic primaries for open state Senate seats. Sarah McBride easily won the primary for the 1st District seat and is likely to become the first openly transgender candidate elected to the General Assembly, as the district is overwhelmingly Democratic.
Attorney Kyle Evans Gay, who has been endorsed by abortion rights and gun-control groups, easily won her 5th District Democratic primary and will face incumbent Republican Sen. Cathy Cloutier in November.
Pusey said Tuesday’s results show the Democratic Party needs to start listening more to its progressive members and do more to help working people.
“They’re not really in touch with the demographics of their districts anymore,” Pusey said of incumbent lawmakers. “They’re not really advocating for things that are going to help everybody, and I think the voters are just tired of it. … They have been holding onto power, and they haven’t been doing what the Democratic voters really want.”
“We’re a party that is very diverse, but our two biggest constituencies are women and people of color,” he noted, saying it should not have come as a surprise that Pinkney, a young Black woman, would be competitive in a majority-minority Senate district.
Chadderdon, a former Senate staffer, said McBride’s legacy includes his commitment to environmental stewardship and public health. He helped Delaware in 2002 become the second state, after California, to pass a law against smoking in indoor workplaces and public places.
“He was an environmentalist before it was cool to be an environmentalist,” Chadderdon said of McBride. ”… He did a great amount to move environmental policy forward at a time when it wasn’t chic.”
Trump and Biden condemn shooting of Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies – Duh! Violence is NOT the Answer – MLK taught us that! – kra
Violence never is the solution! tRump’s Tweet, like so man of his others, shows his ignorance; there is no way he can “get much faster with our courts”! The fool should spend more time governing and less time Tweeting! Add to that the fact that he promotes violence, and we must vote him OUT!
Excerpts from the Article:
President Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Sunday denounced what police called an ambush of two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies and said the attacker, still at large, should face harsh punishment.
The sheriff expressed optimism Sunday that the deputies would recover after being shot Saturday night as they sat in their patrol vehicle in Compton. A video released by authorities shows a person walk up to a parked police car, fire a gun into the passenger-side window and then run away.
Police and elected officials have urged the community to come together in condemnation of the attack, which comes at a fraught moment for law enforcement across the nation and in Los Angeles. Police agencies, including the sheriff’s department there, have faced mounting anger and demonstrations over deadly force deployed against people of color.
“Animals that must be hit hard!” he said. Later Sunday morning, Trump tweeted of the officers: “If they die, fast trial death penalty for the killer. Only way to stop this!” At a roundtable in Nevada, the president spoke of stiffer penalties for violence, saying that if a suspect is apprehended, “we are going to get much faster with our courts and we have to get much tougher with our sentencing.”
Biden also condemned the “cold-blooded shooting” in a tweet Sunday morning.
“Acts of lawlessness and violence directed against police officers are unacceptable, outrageous, and entirely counterproductive to the pursuit of greater peace and justice in America — as are the actions of those who cheer such attacks on,” Biden said in a statement Sunday afternoon. “Those who perpetrate these crimes must be brought to justice, and, if convicted, face the full brunt of the law.”
The injured deputies, a 31-year-old woman and a 24-year-old man, were both sworn into office 14 months ago, officials said at a news conference. Both suffered multiple gunshot wounds, according to authorities, and underwent surgery Saturday night.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva called the shooting a “cowardly act,” echoing the words of California Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D) earlier at the news conference. Jones-Sawyer called the deputies “heroes,” and Villanueva said the attack was a reminder of the tough and dangerous job facing law enforcement.
Last year, 48 law enforcement officers were killed by an offender “while engaged in or on account of the performance of their official duties,” according to the FBI. Villanueva, who on Sunday tweeted appreciation for “overwhelming support” from across the country, expressed concern about other suspects opening fire on officers “unprovoked.”
The deputies, part of a transportation detail, were shot about 7 p.m. Saturday and were able to radio for help, according to the sheriff’s department. The shooter fled on foot. Sheriff’s Capt. Kent Wegener said Saturday night that despite video capturing the incident, authorities have only a “very, very generic suspect description” provided by one of the wounded deputies: Details captured through a “fisheye lens,” he said, are “going to be deceiving.”
Sunday afternoon, the sheriff’s department announced a $100,000 reward for information “leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect,” who was described as a black man between 28 and 30 years old in dark clothing.
Sunday afternoon, the scene outside St. Francis Medical Center was calm. Officers said the protests had ended Saturday. Three members of the sheriff’s department stood outside the hospital’s entrance holding gifts, balloons, a teddy bear and a letter addressed to “Our Hero.”
Every law enforcement agency and prison should disclose names and details of officers charged with a crime! Here we see the all too familiar cover up activity of a prison.
This fat cat, Kelso, is a real clown! A rich one, but a clown nonetheless.
READ Culture of Cover Up:
Excerpts from the Article:
Two corrections officers at the Middlesex County Adult Corrections Center were suspended after being charged with crimes in 2019, but county officials won’t say who they are or what they did. Warden Mark Cranston and County Counsel Thomas Kelso have thus far protected the identities of the charged employees, and cleared one of them to return to work at the jail.
At a time when law enforcement transparency and accountability is at the forefront of the national discussion, Cranston and Kelso are actively violating the New Jersey Attorney General’s internal affairs policies.
The long-standing guidelines require all law enforcement agencies, including jails and prisons, to “periodically release a brief synopsis of all complaints where a fine or suspension of 10 days or more was assessed to an agency member.” By now, a synopsis on each of these cases, and possibly others, should have been released.
But Middlesex County’s jail has not released any, despite repeated requests for this information from Warden Cranston over the past six weeks. Kelso, who was initially under the impression the two corrections officers were convicted of crimes, didn’t hesitate to defend concealing their names and offenses committed at an August 20 public meeting. As it turns out, both men are still defendants in criminal cases, despite what the jail indicated on their annual “professional standards summary.”
One of the officers was suspended for six months, “which was the maximum period that was appropriate for the offense he was charged with,” according to Kelso. The other employee was “suspended without pay, pending termination,” Kelso said on September 17. “Neither one were involved in incidents that were job-related. They were non-job-related,” assured Kelso, the county’s top lawyer.
Kelso is paid over $206,000 to be the Middlesex County Counsel, and can come and go as he pleases, as the job has no set hours.
While Passaic County ousted their top lawyer for refusing to work full-time, the elected leaders here have supported Kelso unconditionally even as he runs a law firm and works for big developers on the side.
Kelso represents nearly all of the major developers building in New Brunswick, including the New Brunswick Development Corporation (DEVCO), the notorious enterprise that built the county government’s headquarters, and much of downtown New Brunswick. For weeks, Kelso was an obstacle to information about the corrections officers that found themselves on the wrong side of the law.
“Mr. Kratovil, that information is not available to the public,” Kelso told this reporter on August 20. “What’s posted on the website now for 2019 is the information that is required to be provided to the public.” But the information Kelso provided was not accurate, according one of the elected officials who was questioned by New Brunswick Today.
When faced with New Brunswick Today’s first question during the public comment period of the meeting, asking how many CO’s had been convicted of crimes in 2019, Kelso answered confidently: “The answer is two.” But, on September 3, Freeholder Shanti Narra admitted there was an error on the jail’s internal affairs summary form, which overstated the two matters as “convictions” in “Superior Court.”
The internal affairs form was corrected the following day, after the Attorney General was notified of the situation by New Brunswick Today.
Now it characterizes both cases as “Diverted” instead of “Convictions.”
Cranston, who took over as warden in 2014, after leaving a high-level position in the New York City Department of Corrections. He lives in Union County, and is paid a $164,124 salary to run the corrections campus in North Brunswick, which includes the 1,200-bed jail, as well as a 100-bed juvenile detention center.
During Cranston’s first year as Warden, a young Plainfield resident named David Yearby died in the jail, and following the release of disturbing video, the county’s insurance company paid the man’s family $5 million this year. Cranston also ran afoul of the county’s policy that required him to live in the county, until this reporter brought the violation to his attention in 2018.
While some of the inmates are serving sentences for criminal convictions, many have only been accused of a crime and awaiting trial, not unlike at least one of the corrections officers roaming the hallways.
The jail still has a policy of taking $100 cash “fee” from every inmate upon entry, in a move to bolster the county budget
“We’re not providing that information to you because it is not required,” said Kelso, after being asked what crimes the officers were convicted of. This reporter responded with outrage at the secrecy to protect criminal officers, which carried over to the next Freeholder meeting on September 3.
Two weeks later, the Freeholder in charge of public safety provided a correction to our questions without acknowledging she was also correcting Kelso’s statements from the prior meeting.
It’s unclear whether the county will finally release required information on the cases, now that they’ve admitted the suspensions doled out far exceeded the threshold standard of ten days, or if the jail administration will face any consequences for violating the Attorney General’s guidelines.
Unless and until some transparency rule or law is enacted, some of the only information available will be the sometimes-flawed summary forms filed by agencies like the Middlesex County Jail.
According to the revised document, the jail completed 19 internal affairs investigations in 2019, and five of those complaints were sustained. One of the five was categorized as “other criminal violation.”
Further complicating matters, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal has made a thus far unsuccessful attempt to increase the minimum transparency when it comes to cases of “major discipline” at law enforcement agencies. The new directives, implemented in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, would have expanded major discipline to include cases where an officer was suspended for five or more days, and for the first time, require the disclosure of the names of officers who received major discipline.
These cases in Middlesex County seem to show the need for more stringent requirements and enforcement of transparency.
But even though Grewal’s proposals are relatively modest, police unions have sued to stop the implementation of the directives, effectively halting public access to the names of officers found to have done wrong and leaving matters like these in limbo all over the state. Ironically, the police unions cite the state’s Open Public Records Act, claiming it represents a ceiling for the maximum transparency allowed, rather than what it is: just one way to obtain records from the government.
New Jersey’s Appellate Division heard arguments in the case on September 16. Regardless of their ruling, it’s likely be appealed to the State Supreme Court.
The directives were set to go into effect on July 15, and the New Jersey State Police and several communities had committed to also release the names of those who faced major discipline over the past 10 or 20 years.
The Whole Story:
Democrats to investigate forced surgery claims in Georgia – Now THIS is Abuse of Power and OUTRAGEOUS! – KRA
Reporter Rachel Maddow broke this news. Another tale of tRump’s ICE agency out of control. “Imagine that”, said I sarcastically.
Excerpts from the Article”
Leading congressional Democrats reacted furiously Tuesday to lightly substantiated claims that immigrants held at a detention center in Georgia are undergoing questionable hysterectomies. In a complaint filed Monday, a nurse alleges that the Irwin County Detention Center performed questionable hysterectomies, refused to test detainees for COVID-19 and shredded medical records.
A top medical official with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement released a statement “vehemently” disputing the claims, saying only two women have been referred for hysterectomies from the facility since 2018.
The statement came after Democrats seized on nurse’s allegations that a gynecologist she called the “uterus collector” was performing “mass hysterectomies” — declaring they would investigate the matter.
A follow-up news conference Tuesday in Atlanta provided little information to substantiate the claims. Lawyers for the nurse, Dawn Wooten, refused to release her full statement that she made to the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General. She declined to take questions after making a statement with no reference to mass hysterectomies or did not quantify how many of the procedures were performed on immigrant women at the facility.
Wooten worked full-time as a licensed practical nurse at the immigration jail until July, when she was demoted.
Dr. Ada Rivera, medical director of the ICE Health Service Corps, said both surgeries had been approved by ICE officials.
“To be clear, medical care decisions concerning detainees are made by medical personnel, not by law enforcement personnel,” Rivera said in the statement. “Detainees are afforded informed consent, and a medical procedure like a hysterectomy would never be performed against a detainee’s will.”
Rivera said ICE would fully cooperate with any resulting investigation by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General, but said it wished Wooten had brought claims to ICE officials first.
The doctor is not named in the complaint, but lawyers who represent women at the jail said their clients have been taken to a local gynecologist named Dr. Mahendra Amin. Scott Grubman, a lawyer for Amin, said in a statement that he was confident the doctor would be cleared of any wrongdoing. Amin was previously accused by state and federal authorities of falsely billing Medicare and Medicaid in an investigation that led to a $520,000 settlement in 2015.
Democrats were quick to jump on the allegations after spending the last three years condemning the Trump administration’s treatment of immigrants, including the separation of families and the detention of children in squalid conditions at the border.
“If true, the appalling conditions described in the whistleblower complaint – including allegations of mass hysterectomies being performed on vulnerable immigrant women – are a staggering abuse of human rights,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, said in a statement.
Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, said the panel is conducting an ongoing investigation about the conditions at ICE contractor facilities “and will be examining these new and incredibly serious allegations.”
It was unclear to Wooten if women knowingly consented to the operations. She said nurses raised concerns about the doctor.
“Everybody he sees has a hysterectomy — just about everybody,” Wooten said in the complaint. “He’s even taken out the wrong ovary on a young lady.”
The facility in Ocilla, about 200 miles (320 kilometers) south of Atlanta, houses men and women detainees for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as well as inmates for the U.S. Marshals Service and Irwin County. It’s run by the private LaSalle Corrections, a Louisiana company.
Wooten spoke little about the hysterectomy allegation during the news conference, instead focusing on her concerns that the facility wasn’t testing detainees for COVID-19, that the detention center wasn’t being sanitized, and that little protective equipment was available for employees.
While the 27-page complaint filed by advocacy group Project South quotes unidentified detainees extensively, it also includes detailed comments from Wooten. The complaint says Wooten was demoted after missing work with coronavirus symptoms, which she believes was retaliation for raising questions about COVID-19.
“I know I was demoted because I raised questions about why,” Wooten said during the news conference. “I was told not to tell officers that there were detainees they dealt with day in and day out that were positive.”
Wooten said the number of detainees infected was much higher than reported because there was no active testing and not all cases were reported, according to the complaint. The New York Times reported in June that inmates engaged in protests because of concerns about poor COVID-19 protections.
Wooten is quoted as saying the sick call nurse sometimes fabricated seeing detainees in person when they hadn’t and that she saw the nurse shred a box of detainee complaints without looking at them. She said nurses ignored detainees reporting COVID-19 symptoms.
If detainees reported a fever, nurses would put them on an over-the-counter cold medication for seven days without testing them for COVID-19, she said.
Wooten said the facility declined to use two rapid-testing COVID-19 machines that ICE purchased for $14,000 each. No medical staff had been trained on them and she saw the machines used only once.
As of Sunday, 42 detainees at the facility had tested positive for the virus, according to ICE. Nationwide, 5,772 detainees were positive.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Legacy In the rearview mirror, the victories of a trailblazing feminist. On the road ahead, the threat of an entrenched and powerful minority. With Letter to Editor by kra UPDATED 9/23/20
America has lost a genuine treasure. Did you know that RBG virtually single handedly she opened millions of doors of opportunity for women!?
This article reminds us why the Supreme Court should not be a battleground for a political fight over appointments.
Excerpts from the Article:
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday at the age of 87, will forever have two legacies.
The one Americans could be focusing on right now is the one of legal trailblazer: Justice Ginsburg, the second woman ever to be appointed to the Supreme Court, paved the way for women’s equality before the law, and for women’s rights to be taken seriously by the courts and by society.
As an attorney she argued, and won, multiple cases at the Supreme Court in the 1970s, eventually persuading an all-male bench to apply the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause to sex-based discrimination. On the court, she continued to point the way toward greater equality in opinions like United States v. Virginia, which held unconstitutional the Virginia Military Institute’s policy of refusing to admit women. “Inherent differences between men and women, we have come to appreciate, remain cause for celebration,” Justice Ginsburg wrote for a 7-to-1 majority, “but not for denigration of the members of either sex or for artificial constraints on an individual’s opportunity.” It was sweet revenge for someone who had once been rejected for jobs at top New York law firms, and denied a clerkship on the Supreme Court, because she was a woman.
The other legacy of Justice Ginsburg’s that the country is now urgently forced to confront is the cold political reality that she died in the final weeks of a presidential campaign, at a moment when President Trump and Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, appear to be dead-set on replacing her with someone who would obliterate much of the progress she helped the country make.
The court now faces a serious crisis of legitimacy. Senate Republicans, who represent a minority of the nation, and a president elected by a minority of the nation, are now in a position to solidify their control of the third branch of government. The Supreme Court, with another Trump appointee, could stand as a conservative firewall against the expressed will of a majority of Americans on a range of crucial issues.
The cynicism of the political moment stands in sharp relief against Justice Ginsburg’s idealism. She faced down multiple bouts of cancer and other health emergencies during her tenure on the bench. Through it all, she never wavered in her commitment to the court as a vehicle for a more just and more equal America. She was a dogged, tireless fighter — it was easy to imagine she might live another 20 years, battling back whatever came at her. Of course, we knew better.
Defending her decision not to retire when President Barack Obama could have picked her replacement, she said, “There will be a president after this one, and I’m hopeful that that president will be a fine president.” She never anticipated President Donald Trump, whom she called a “faker” during a 2016 interview. She shouldn’t have said it, but she was right.
Everyone who cares about the integrity of the nation’s highest court has been dreading a moment like this — the death of a justice as Americans are already casting their ballots in the most contentious and consequential presidential election in living memory. The future of the court now rests in the hands of Mr. McConnell, the man who has done more damage to the court’s standing than perhaps anyone in modern American history.
With Mr. McConnell’s help, President Trump has already filled two seats on the court with hard-right ideologues. The first, Neil Gorsuch, is a justice solely because of Mr. McConnell’s obstruction, on false pretenses, of President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland. The second, Brett Kavanaugh, was a highly contentious nominee with a long, troubling record in government that Mr. McConnell hid from the American people. And that was before Mr. Kavanaugh faced credible allegations of sexual assault.
At least there was no question about the circumstances surrounding the vacancy that Justice Kavanaugh filled. In contrast, Justice Gorsuch’s seat is forever stained by Mr. McConnell’s outrageous ploy to deny a Democratic president an appointment. At the time, the majority leader claimed that he was holding open the seat that had been held by Justice Antonin Scalia because it was an election year, and the American people should have a “voice” in choosing the next justice.
Mr. McConnell disavowed that position almost immediately, claiming that it only applies when the presidency and the Senate are controlled by different parties. On Friday night, he said, “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate” — even though the election is less than two months away. So much for the American people.
Throughout the Trump years, Republicans have shown little willingness to place principle above party, or to place the long-term interests of the nation above short-term political victories. But perhaps a few Republican senators will take the quickened pulse of the nation and consider the case to postpone resolving Justice Ginsburg’s replacement.
Justice Ginsburg, who was Jewish, died on the eve of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year. Fittingly, it is a day when Jews look backward and forward, reflecting on what has passed, and preparing for what is to come. Justice Ginsburg’s death marks the end of her long battle on behalf of equality for all Americans. Others must now carry that fight forward.
Letter to the Editor – Warning – A Legal Midget Looms in our Future – 9/19/20
RBG has died. Let us pray that Trump does NOT ram through her replacement b4 he loses in November and leaves in February!
Justice Ginsberg REDEFINED that flag which now covers her in the Rotunda. B4 RBG, America was not the land of opportunity for all. Thanks to her brilliant and dogged efforts, women now have equal opportunities, and she did it damn near single handedly!
RBG was a legal giant. She was ahead of her time, and as a legal scholar she was right up there with Cardozo, Holmes, Brandeis, and Franfurter. History will never say the same of any Trump appointee.
Virtually single handedly she opened millions of doors of opportunity for women! If the past is any indication of the future, Trump will appoint a legal midget!
The Supreme Court should not be a battleground for a political fight over appointments, but, sadly, times have changed. RBG was confirmed by a Senate vote of 93 to 6. Due to Trump’s politicization of everything, that could never happen again … for either party.
Ken Abraham, founder of Citizens for Criminal JUSTICE, former prosecutor, Dover, DE 302-423-4067
I encourage YOU to take a couple of minutes this weekend to write about an important issue near and dear to your heart. It is a great way to reach millions of eyeballs. COMPLETE INSTRUCTIONS BELOW.
This letter was published in both of our state’s largest papers, and perhaps others around the nation which I do not know about: http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/are-delaware-inmates-safe-from-covid-hell-no-with-letter-to-the-editor-kra/
INSTRUCTIONS FOR LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
I get lots of letters published, and ghost write for others. THIS IS THE BEST WAY TO REACH THOUSANDS OF READERS! SEARCH “The top ten newspapers” in (your state!).
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.
Send the email to yourself, and put on the “bcc” bar the email addresses for Letters to the Editor for the top ten newspapers in your state and several national ones – The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, U S A Today (google the Letter to Editor email addresses). Any questions, CALL me at 302-423-4067! My “bcc” list is now about 400 papers, all over America!
GOOGLE THE EMAIL ADDRESSES FOR “LETTERS TO THE EDITOR” FOR THE TOP TEN NEWSPAPERS IN YOUR STATE AND SAVE THAT INFORMATION FOR REPEATED USE – Some papers will print a letter from you every 2 weeks, some every 30 days, some every 90 days. They have varying policies. But if you really want to make a difference shoot them a new letter once a month! I send one out every 2 weeks.
CLICK ON THE TAB ON OUR WEBSITE “LETTERS TO THE EDITOR. OPEN “ARTICLES”, THEN CLICK THAT TAB FOR HUNDREDS OF SAMPLE LETTERS!
Need a Letter on some criminal justice issue and not a great letter writer? NO EXCUSE! Email me a rough draft and call me and I’ll polish it up! firstname.lastname@example.org .
ANY QUESTIONS, CALL ME AT 302-423-4067.
The insidious ways building private prisons creates more prisons. A new study finds that creating more private prison beds causes more people to be incarcerated—and for longer periods.
Second only to the “war on drugs”, private prisons are the worst thing to happen to our criminal justice system. See many articles on my website under “prison abuse”!
Excerpts from the Article:
Private prisons—prisons run by companies that are paid by the state to house convicted criminals—have been criticized for the way they cut costs to protect their profits, which leads to higher employee turnover, reduced security, and inadequate healthcare. They’re also often linked to the issue of mass incarceration. Though only a small portion of incarcerated people in America are held in private prisons, new research shows that the facilities are a deeper part of the problem: More private prison beds in a state are not only connected to an increased number of inmates, they may also lead to longer sentences.
To tease out if there was any connection, the researchers at Washington State University looked at data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, Human Rights Defense Center, United States Sentencing Commission’s Monitoring of Federal Criminal, and other sources, spanning from 1989 to 2009. They then built a model to estimate how private prisons affected new incarceration and sentencing lengths, holding constant other variables such as state demographics and political characteristics, and even broke down that data by crime type. They controlled for the fact that there could just be more crime occurring, and found that private prisons still seem to increase the number of new prisoners and the sentence length for some crimes.
Overall, the researchers found that increasing private prison beds by 61 per million population in a state led to an additional 6 to 37 new prisoners per million each year. That’s on top of the trend of 178 new prisoners per million per year, which they say occurs on average, without an increase in private prison beds. (The private prison population rate has skyrocketed in recent years—seeing 47% growth between 2000 and 2016, compared to a 9% increase for the total prison population over the same time period.)
While private prisons don’t affect incarceration rates for violent crimes—possibly because sentencing guidelines for such crimes don’t leave room for the possibility of probation—they do have an effect on incarceration rates for property, fraud, drug, and weapons crimes. This same effect was seen on sentencing length and is usually significant, co-author Gregmar Galinato, a professor in WSU’s School of Economic Sciences, says over email, for types of crimes “where there is more leeway in sentencing.”
The researchers lay out two possible reasons why: the ability of private prisons to lobby, directly contribute to, or bribe politicians for policies that could increase incarceration rates, and the fact that private prisons increase capacity, lessening the potential for overcrowding. The most prominent example of the former is the “Kids for Cash” scandal in Pennsylvania, in which two judges were bribed by a private prison company to give harsher sentences to juvenile offenders, rather than probation. The latter is important because when prisons are overcrowded, a judge may be less likely to send someone to that facility. But the introduction of private prisons leads to more beds, and a so-called “solution” to that overcrowding that increases incarceration rates, rather than addressing the root causes of incarceration.
“So, if mass incarceration is an important issue, we found one contributor: private prisons,” Galinato says. The researchers weren’t able to quantify how big of a contributor private prisons are compared to others, like the three-strikes policy or police bias, but other research backs up the role of private prisons on incarceration rates. According to the ACLU, leading private prison companies “essentially admit that their business model depends on high rates of incarceration,” and the Justice Policy Institute released a report back in 2011 that found private prison companies helped fuel increased incarceration rates by using their influence on legislators to enact harsher criminal justice policies. Galinato hopes his latest research influences how lawmakers weigh the costs, and benefits, of adding new private prisons to their state.
Tell me something I don’t already know! BOP personnel and state prisons personnel – in all states – routinely ignore their own policies, often causing great harm to inmates!
A Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General report from September 24, 2019, found that an assistant director of the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) took part in a sexual and financial relationship with a former president of the prison workers’ union, who at the time was employed in that role. The relationship included the transmission of sexually explicit photographs from the BOP official’s agency phone to the union official.
The officials were not named in the brief public report, but — according to USA Today coverage of the story — officials familiar with the matter identified the BOP official as Judith Garrett and the ex-prison union chief as Eric Young, who served in that capacity through August 2019.
The BOP said “the assistant director had been removed from a management position in July 2018.”
“The BOP will take appropriate actions in response to the (inspector general’s) findings,” the agency’s statement said, but declined prosecution of Garrett.
Young’s successor as union president, Shane Fausey, said the findings were “a surprise,” and “We are convening an emergency meeting of the board right now. We’re going to have to look back at everything to see what related to him (Young) and whether there were conflicts of interest. I want to be clear, he (Young) is the former president.”
The DOJ IG found that Garrett’s alleged relationship with Young was, in addition to being inappropriate, “a conflict of interest in violation of federal regulations and BOP policy.” Both Garrett and Young declined to comment.
The IG also found that Garrett allegedly had an improper relationship with a BOP contractor and lied about it when confronted by federal investigators. Dominic Henry, a former prisoner who served as a bureau consultant for newly released prisoners, alleged that Garrett sought an improper relationship with him.