Thursday, May 21, 2015

One More Month

And then my self-sentenced service will finally be at an end....

"Ex-officials surrender in LA abuse case" Associated Press  May 15, 2015

LOS ANGELES — The former second-in-command of the nation’s largest sheriff’s department and another former top official surrendered to the FBI Thursday on federal charges they hindered an investigation into deputies accused of abusing inmates in the Los Angeles County jail system.

Former undersheriff Paul Tanaka and former captain William Thomas Carey were indicted on charges of conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

The two, both 56, are the most senior officials charged in the long-running and widespread investigation of jailhouse corruption and abuse that tarnished the career of Lee Baca, who resigned as sheriff last year.

He bailed himself out.

The charges stem from a probe of civil rights abuses that blossomed into an obstruction-of-justice case when deputies and supervisors tried to thwart the FBI by hiding a jailhouse informant and intimidating an agent....

Just who did they think they were dealing with.


Whatever happened with that L.A. execution anyway?


"A scathing new report by court-approved researchers paints a bleak picture of medical care in Illinois prisons, promptly disputed by the Illinois Department of Corrections."

The state prisons have become torture centers, but at least the public servants are still picking up a pension.

Related: A Messier Report 

It's not confined to only those states or prisons, either:

"Prison riot in Nebraska leaves 2 inmates dead" by Anna Gronewold Associated Press  May 12, 2015

TECUMSEH, Neb. — Other inmates probably killed two prisoners who died when inmates took over part of a maximum-security prison in southeast Nebraska, the top state correctional official said Monday.

Scott Frakes, director of the state correction system, said the deaths were discovered as officials regained control of the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution. The dead were identified as Donald Peacock and Shon Collins.

Speaking at a news conference, Frakes said 100 to 200 of the roughly 1,000 inmates were involved in the disturbance that began with inmates joining a large gathering in front of a housing unit Sunday afternoon.

Inmates took control of part of the facility that houses 11 death row inmates, the department said in a statement. Smoke rose from two housing units on Sunday and driveways to the prison were blocked. Prison officials said the perimeter was secured by Sunday evening and all staffers were accounted for. No inmates escaped....


"Officials regain control of Texas prison from inmates" Associated Press  February 23, 2015

RAYMONDVILLE, Texas — Officers regained control of a South Texas federal prison where inmates had set fires and caused significant damage after taking over part of the facility, according to the private contractor operating the prison.

About 300 of the 2,800 inmates were moved Sunday from the Willacy County Correctional Center to other federal facilities, said Issa Arnita, a spokesman for Management & Training Corp., the Utah-based company that runs the prison. A few hundred more will be transferred before the day is out, and the rest will be moved over the next few days.

Arnita declined to say where the inmates would be taken or how long they would remain there, citing security reasons. He did say they would be taken to other federal units in Texas and elsewhere, and he described them as “cooperative” with the transfers.

The inmates are primarily “low-level” offenders who are immigrants in the country illegally, according to the prison operator. They took control of part of the prison Friday, complaining about the facility’s conditions and medical services and refusing to complete their work assignments, officials said.

The Valley Morning Star reported that fires were set inside three of the prison’s 10 housing units, and Arnita said Sunday extensive damage was done to plumbing and heating and cooling systems. The full extent of the damage is still unknown.

According to a report last year by the American Civil Liberties Union, the large Kevlar tents that make up the facility are not “only foul, cramped and depressing, but also overcrowded.”


Things could be worse:

"Texas prison agency seeks to replenish execution drug supply" Associated Press  March 10, 2015

HUNTSVILLE, Texas — Texas’s prison agency is scrambling to find a supplier to replenish its inventory of execution drugs, which will be used up if the state goes forward with two lethal injections scheduled for this week and next.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice declined to say why it has not been able to obtain more pentobarbital from the same compounding pharmacy that provided the current batch of the powerful sedative last March.

The state switched to that source several months after its previous supplier cut ties, citing hate mail and potential litigation after its name became public through an open records request from the Associated Press.

Prison officials have since waged a legal battle to keep the name of its latest supplier secret, but it is unclear how much longer they can do so after a state judge last year ordered the agency to divulge the source. That ruling is on hold pending the outcome of the state’s appeal.

Texas is traditionally the most frequent enforcer of the death penalty in the nation.... 

Rick Perry should run on that.


So what were your complaints again?

"Jail exploits detainees, lawsuit says; Cites $1 daily wage in immigration unit" by Maria Sacchetti, Globe Staff  March 01, 2015

An immigrant detainee has filed a class-action lawsuit against the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department, saying it pays hundreds of detainees only $1 a day to mop floors, scrub toilets, and perform other janitorial duties at the Boston jail. His lawyers are seeking an estimated $4 million in unpaid wages over the last six years.

Lawyers for Anthony Whyte, a 40-year-old detainee fighting deportation to Jamaica, said he should be paid at least the state minimum wage, $9 an hour, because he is in custody for alleged civil violations and not crimes. He voluntarily works in the jail’s immigration unit.

“We’re concerned that states and private companies have started using immigration detention as a cash cow, based on the backs of this extremely cheap labor,” said Andrew Schmidt, a Portland, Maine, lawyer who is the lead counsel on the case.

Not exactly in the brochure, was it?

A spokesman for Suffolk County Sheriff Steven Tompkins said inmates and immigrant detainees are paid solely based on where they are assigned to work. Detainees and inmates can earn $1 a day working indoors doing laundry or other tasks. Convicts doing work outside of jail, such as on a recent snow-shoveling crew, can earn $3 a day and a reduction on their sentence, said the spokesman. He declined to comment on the lawsuit.

It's slave labor is what it is.

The civil lawsuit, filed Feb. 18 in Suffolk Superior Court, accuses the Sheriff’s Department of misclassifying workers as nonemployees, failing to pay overtime, and other violations of state law. In interviews, the lawyers said the law often allows criminal inmates to be paid less than the minimum wage, but civil immigration detainees should not lose their right to the minimum wage, even if the work is voluntary.

The lawsuit follows similar complaints in other states over federal officials using immigrants as cheap labor while seeking to have them expelled from the United States. In Boston, advocates for immigrants have raised concerns about detainee treatment for years. In 2009, a 49-year-old Dominican detainee at Suffolk died after an infection ravaged his body.

I'm sure I could find a related link; however, I can't tell you how discouraging it is to pull up articles from six years ago.

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which pays the Suffolk sheriff’s office about $100 a day for each immigrant housed at the jail during the deportation process, said the dollar-a-day wage is the going rate for its detainees in most facilities nationwide.

So whose benefitting off the problem?

“The Voluntary Work Program, which allows detainees the opportunity to feel productive and contribute to the orderly operation of facilities, was developed in an effort to improve detainee morale and reduce the frequency of disciplinary incidents,” Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Daniel Modricker said in a statement. He said the work is “completely voluntary,” does not constitute employment, and is done in exchange for “a small stipend.”

Didn't the Nazis say the same thing to the Jews?

Immigration and Customs Enforcement is not named in the lawsuit, and agency officials declined to comment on it.

In Bristol County, where Whyte had been detained in the past, Sheriff Thomas Hodgson said jails have no obligation to pay detainees and he does not.

“They don’t have to do the work,” he said, adding that the detainees are already costing taxpayers to house them. “Why would we want to take taxpayers’ money to pay you even more to do work that somebody’s going to do in there for free?”

However, Patrick Long, a cocounsel on Whyte’s case in Boston, said civil immigration detainees should not be treated the same as criminals.

“Even if anybody in this case had committed a crime, that’s not what they’re there for now,” Long said.

Whyte works 20 to 30 hours a week, his lawyers said. His duties have included handing out food trays at meal times, cleaning bathrooms, and emptying the garbage. Other inmates wash laundry, buff floors, and shovel snow.

Modricker said Whyte is being deported because he is an aggravated felon, although the specifics of his record were unavailable Friday. Whyte disputes that description of his criminal record, and is challenging his deportation in a separate federal lawsuit.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested Whyte for deportation in February 2012, and he has been detained in Massachusetts and Alabama for more than three years, said Hillary Cheng, another lawyer on his team who discovered Whyte through her prior volunteer work at Suffolk University’s immigration law clinic.

Whyte’s lawyers said he arrived in the United States as a child and received a green card. He has seven children, all US citizens.

“Some people gripe about having to pay child support,” Long said. “He wishes he could pay his. But on $1 a day that’s not something you can do.


RelatedKeeping an immigrant family’s dream alive

Hey, it's a dollar a day the illegal immigrant way. At least you got a job.

Which reminds me. Summer officially begins in one month, and after more than nine years of continuous blogging, I will be taking the entire summer off. In the meantime I will be cleaning up a few things close to the heart and posting them here.

Now back into the Globe pri$on. Furlough over for today. I've gone from not blogging past 8 to not blogging past 5 to not blogging past noon.