Tag Archives: crime

Two arrest warrants issued for $1 mllion landfill scam

Interesting things sometimes turn up when a landfill is investigated.

Taylor West wrote for the AJC 5 June 2014, Police: Arrest warrants issued in connection with $1 million scam,

Robert Stevens (Fulton County Sheriff’s Office) Multiple arrest warrants have been issued in relation to a trail of criminal activity resulting in the theft of more than $1 million from a Fulton County business, authorities said.

Police began an investigation in mid-April when Waste Management Inc. made a complaint regarding Willow Oak Landfill, which it owns, following an anonymous tip and a private investigation, according to the Palmetto Police Department today.

In this case it was the landfill operator that filed a complaint. Waste Management is one of the two largest solid waste companies in the U.S.; the other is ADS.

The complaint alleged Continue reading

Videos: Pipeline, health, insurance, library, and alcohol @ LCC 2013-10-22

The big event was that citizens speaking about the pipeline got four of five Commissioners to come down and listen afterwards. And in a surprise addition to the agenda D.A. J. David Miller asked for and got approval for a victim assistance program. All this and insurance plan, health plan, a road closing, a grant proposal to renovate the Library (did the Commissioners get the whole board packet this time?) and let’s not forget a special performance on fire by Chairman Bill Slaughter, plus apparently the County Commission is in charge of rain like it’s in charge of alcohol.

Here’s the agenda with links to the videos, and a few notes. See also the previous morning’s Work Session.

LOWNDES COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
PROPOSED AGENDA
WORK SESSION, MONDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2013, 8:30 a.m.
REGULAR SESSION, TUESDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2013, 5:30 p.m.
327 N. Ashley Street – 2nd Floor
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Avoid charging low-level and nonviolent drug offenders –U.S. DoJ

It’s about time! The War on Drugs has failed, admits the U.S. Department of Justice, by saying it will “avoid charging certain low-level and nonviolent drug offenders with crimes that carry mandatory minimums”.

Ryan J. Reilly wrote for Huffpo today, Eric Holder Outlining New Justice Department Drug Sentencing Reforms,

The Justice Department will avoid charging certain low-level and nonviolent drug offenders with crimes that carry mandatory minimums, Attorney General Eric Holder will announce Monday. The policy shift will allow certain defendants — those without ties to large-scale organizations, gangs or cartels — to avoid what Holder called “draconian mandatory minimum sentences.”

Holder, in a speech before the American Bar Association in San Francisco on Monday, Continue reading

Gulf 3 years ago; Caspian 5 years ago: BP oil well blowouts

Two years before BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig poisoned the Gulf of Mexico (Saturday was the third anniversary), apparently BP had a very similar disaster in the Caspian Sea and covered it up. Is this a company or this the 13 spills in 30 days industry we want piping tar sands crude across America to the Gulf for all of 35 permanent jobs and CO2 emissions like 51 coal plants? There’s a cleaner, cheaper, and more energy-independent way: solar and wind power can power the U.S. and the world.

Greg Palast wrote for EcoWatch 19 April 2013, BP Covered Up Blow-out Two Years Prior to Deadly Deepwater Horizon Spill,

Two years before the Deepwater Horizon blow-out in the Gulf of Mexico, another BP off-shore rig suffered a nearly identical blow-out, but BP concealed the first one from the U.S. regulators and Congress.

This week, EcoWatch.org located an eyewitness with devastating new information about the Caspian Sea oil-rig blow-out which BP had concealed from government and the industry.

The witness, whose story is backed up by rig workers who were evacuated from BP’s Caspian platform, said that had BP revealed the full story as required by industry practice, the eleven Gulf of Mexico workers “could have had a chance” of survival. But BP’s insistence on using methods proven faulty sealed their fate.

One cause of the blow-outs was the same in both cases: the use of a money-saving technique—plugging holes with “quick-dry” cement.

By hiding the disastrous failure of its penny-pinching cement process in 2008, BP was able to continue to use the dangerous methods in the Gulf of Mexico—causing the worst oil spill in U.S. history. April 20 marks the second anniversary of the Gulf oil disaster.

There’s more in the article, such as this:

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U.S. has “moral responsibility to reduce the flow of [drug] money towards Mexico” —Felipe Calderón, President of Mexico

The Mexican president who put the Mexican Army onto the streets to stop the drug war, resulting in 40,000+ deaths, many collateral damage like the son of writer Carlos Fuentes, the Mexican president who a year ago started hinting that that didn’t work and something else should be done, is already following the path of his predecessors Ernesto Zedillo and Vicente Fox, in calling for the U.S. to end the war on drugs. Georgia can’t afford to continue spending a billion dollars a year to lock people up, especially while cutting education. If we listen to the Mexican presidents, we can save much of that billion and spend much of the savings on education.

T.W. wrote for the Economist 23 November 2012, “Impossible” to end drug trade, says Calderón,

In an interview recorded last month for this week’s special report Felipe Calderon, President of Mexico on Mexico, Mr Calderón said: “Are there still drugs in Juárez [a violent northern border city]? Well of course, but it has never been the objective…of the public-security strategy to end something that it is impossible to end, namely the consumption of drugs or their trafficking…

“[E]ither the United States and its society, its government and its congress decide to drastically reduce their consumption of drugs, or if they are not going to reduce it they at least have the moral responsibility to reduce the flow of money towards Mexico, which goes into the hands of criminals. They have to explore even market mechanisms to see if that can allow the flow of money to reduce.

“If they want to take all the drugs they want, as far as I’m concerned let them take them. I don’t agree with it but it’s their decision, as consumers and as a society. What I do not accept is that they continue passing their money to the hands of killers.”

The Economist article spelled out what Calderón still doesn’t quite say:

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Monticello, FL prison maybe not yet closing, but at what cost?

Monticello and Jefferson County, Florida, have become dependent on a prison that opened in 1990. Why? According to Rick Stone of WUSF 1 Feb 2012,
Late in the 80s, with crime rising and prisons filling up, Florida needed new prison sites but few counties wanted to be one. Jefferson
because of the state’s declining inmate population.
County, just east of Tallahassee, was different. Then, as now, underpopulated and desperately poor, it saw an opportunity and it did something unusual.

“We welcomed them with open arms,” said Kirk Reams, Jefferson County’s court clerk and chief financial officer.

That’s not our situation. Crime is as low as it has been since the 1960s, prison populations have peaked, and we do have other sources of employment. Or are we really that desperate?

Jefferson County thinks it has lucked out again, but only at the expense of Florida taxpayers, and against the prison population trend.

John Kennedy wrote for the Palm Beach Post 8 February 2012, Condemned Florida prison gets second chance at life in House, Continue reading

How to end the epidemic of incarceration

There are historical reasons for why we lock up so many people, some going back a century or more, and some starting in 1980 and 2001. Knowing what they are (and what they are not) lets us see what we can do to end the epidemic of incarceration that is damaging education and agriculture in Georgia.

Adam Gopnik wrote for the New Yorker dated 30 January 2012, The Caging of America: Why do we lock up so many people?

More than half of all black men without a high-school diploma go to prison at some time in their lives. Mass incarceration on a scale almost unexampled in human history is a fundamental fact of our country today—perhaps the fundamental fact, as slavery was the fundamental fact of 1850. In truth, there are more black men in the grip of the criminal-justice system—in prison, on probation, or on parole—than were in slavery then.
In Georgia, 1 in 13 of all adults is in jail, prison, probation, or parole: highest in the country (1 in 31 nationwide). Georgia is only number 4 in adults in prison, but we’re continuing to lock more people up, so we may get to number 1 on that, too.
Over all, there are now more people under “correctional supervision” in America—more than six million—than were in the Gulag Archipelago under Stalin at its height. That city of the confined and the controlled, Lockuptown, is now the second largest in the United States.

The accelerating rate of incarceration over the past few decades is just as startling as the number of people jailed: in 1980, there were about two hundred and twenty people incarcerated for every hundred thousand Americans; by 2010, the number had more than tripled, to seven hundred and thirty-one. No other country even approaches that. In the past two decades, the money that states spend on prisons has risen at six times the rate of spending on higher education.

And we can’t afford that, especially not when we’re cutting school budgets. That graph of education vs. incarceration spending is for California. Somebody should do a similar graph for Georgia.

The article does get into why we lock up so many people: Continue reading

Rural prisons: economic bane or bust?

Some interesting points about prisons from a Georgia blogger.

Keith McCants posted Wednesday in Peanut Politics, Prisons as Economic Development: Boom or Bust for Rural Georgia? In Georgia today there are more prisoners than farmers. And while most prisoners in Georgia are from urban communities, most prisons are now in rural areas with high levels of poverty & a unskilled, uneducated workforce. During the last two decades, the large-scale use of incarceration to solve social problems has combined with the fall-out of globalization to produce an ominous trend: prisons have become a “growth industry” in rural Georgia, in fact Rural America.

Communities in isolated regions of the state began suffering from declines in farming, mining, timber-work and manufacturing are now begging for prisons to be built in their backyards. The economic restructuring that began in the troubled decade of the 1980s has had dramatic social and economic consequences for rural communities and small towns. Together the farm crises, factory closings, corporate downsizing, shift to service sector employment and the substitution of major regional and national chains for local, main-street businesses have triggered profound change in these areas. So, many rural areas have bought into prisons as a growth industry.

Some consequences are pretty obvious:

Many small rural towns have become dependent on an industry which itself is dependent on the continuation of crime-producing conditions.
Others may take more time to see: Continue reading

I really support … allowing non-violent offenders the opportunity to work and rehabilitate — Jessica B. Hughes

Received yesterday on Ankle monitoring for Lowndes County Jail. -jsq
I really support this idea. Initially, I was concerned about it, because I know that things like the SCRAM bracelet and the ignition interlock devices are very expensive to install and maintain, especially if you consider the costs involved with probation fees. $213.00/month may not sound like a lot of money to some people, but it is a king’s ransom to others (saying $7.00/day makes it seem more manageable). Still, allowing non-violent offenders the opportunity to work and rehabilitate themselves outside of a prison is a big step forward in the philosophy of crime and punishment in this county, in my opinion.

-Jessica B. Hughes

And now an educational idea from Shakira

Belief based on evidence! About something that deals with the underlying local educational problem here: poverty. From her speech yesterday at the White House:
It is my belief and its also been demonstrated that if we provide early childhood education to Latino children it would take less than a decade to reap the benefits since investment in early education is proven to generate the fastest returns to the state.

With more ECD programs there will be less Latino students being held back, less dropouts and less crime involving school-age children; and they will be more productive individuals to society.

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