Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Day in Juvenile Court

"Juvenile court investigators stymied by low pay" by Michael Levenson Globe Staff  May 07, 2018

Christina M. Gagne has been a juvenile court investigator since 2004, a highly sensitive position that requires her to interview parents, teachers, social workers, and traumatized children who have been removed from their families because of suspected abuse or neglect.

The work is difficult and rarely acknowledged, but the reports she submits to a juvenile court judge are often crucial in determining whether those children will remain in foster care or be returned to their families.

Last week, however, Gagne sent an e-mail to juvenile court administrators saying she would no longer accept investigations. Along with a growing number of her colleagues, she is frustrated that state lawmakers have not raised the investigators’ pay of $30 an hour since 1987, when Ronald Reagan was president.

That's odd because they rushed their own right through before they sat on their a$$es for 18 months.

Gagne said about 40 of the 200 juvenile court investigators in the state have joined her in refusing to take new cases. The investigators are independent contractors, many with advanced degrees in law or social work, who say taking investigations no longer makes financial sense for them because they can earn much higher rates working as attorneys or therapists. “To not have a raise in 31 years seems outrageous to me,” said Gagne, who added that, unlike some other investigators, she can afford to turn back cases because her husband is a chief financial officer.

They do have a point, especially when you see the rampant waste, fraud, abuse, and outrageous tax subsidies to corporations, et al.

And what, no union? Figure you guys would be smart enough to start one. Could bring the court system to a halt, and then the Globe would pillory you like they did the school bus drivers about five years back. You will be accused of abandoning children rather than letting them slip into the abyss that is the DCF.

Court investigators say the stagnant hourly wage has made it harder to attract highly skilled professionals willing to do the work and contributed to an exodus from the field.

At a time when the courts are struggling with a high number of child abuse cases due to the opioid crisis, any drop in the number of investigators could delay the handling of such cases, prolonging the amount of time children spend in foster care.....

I'm told the Department of Children and Families are “crucial in kids’ lives,” and “for what [they] get paid, [they're] just breaking even, not making money,” and it's a blow to morale.



"Parole board still slow to release inmates 8 years after ex-convict killed officer, critics say" by Maria Cramer Globe Staff  June 26, 2018

Dominic Cinelli was one year out of prison and on parole when he shot and killed a police officer the day after Christmas in 2010.

Since then, the number of people released on parole has remained consistently low, the state parole board has been stacked with members with law enforcement backgrounds, and the board has become less transparent, according to a coalition of attorneys, criminal justice reform groups, and prisoner rights advocates.

The coalition wrote Governor Charlie Baker on Monday, saying the board is taking longer to decide the fate of inmates and failing to properly consider their mental health and drug use disorders.

“It’s not working. It’s a terrible system,” said David Harris, managing director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice at Harvard Law School, a research and civil rights advocacy center that signed the letter. “We are terribly backwards and emblematic of the punitive posture we have taken in this country for far too long.”