Tag Archives: probation

Videos: Office rezoning, Georgia Power, Alcohol, and road abandomnent @ LCC 2017-11-14

They added and agenda item for 7.p. Solicitor-General’s VOCA Grant Renewal; yes, really, the agenda was so long that’s sub-item letter P and the meeting was 51 and a half minutes long.

Longest at seven minutes was 6a. REZ-2017-11 Arrow Engineering, in which the County Commissioners ignored the Planning Commission’s recommendation to deny, and the County Planner’s observation the previous morning that the applicants would accept one acre. Instead they approved 2.5 acres with no conditions as Office Institutional (OI) in an area with no other instances of that.

At six minutes, 7.n. Georgia Power- VisionFirst was about putting $25,000 to hire an unnamed consultant for a joint project for unspecified results.

Update 2017-11-22: According to Chairman Bill Slaughter, the consultant is VisionFirst Advisors out of Tallahassee.

Did they mean the sinkhole-infested Mission Creek instead of 7.k. Grant of Easement for Utility Right of Way Moody-Mission Point?

Five minutes included questions from the Chairman and resulted in a split vote and a stern warning on 7.i. Beer, Wine & Liquor License – Liquor Barn, 3990 N. Valdosta Rd.

One of the two road abandonments, 7.a. Abandonment of Lane Road and a Portion of Sheavette Road, got a very rare split vote, with Commissioner Clay Griner voting alone against.

Below are Continue reading

Cook County schools furloughing teachers

Cook county schools have a budget shortfall problem, and they think they can solve it only by furloughing teachers. Remind me again why we're wasting $1 billion a year on prisons, including private prisons for the profit of private prison shareholders and executives (like CCA CEO Damon Hininger's $3 million a year) and we're furloughing teachers instead?

Greg Gullberg wrote for WCTV 10 May 2012, Teachers in Cook County Face Furloughs,

The Cook County School System is facing a $472,352 deficit. Superintendent Lance Heard tells Eyewitness News reporter Greg Gullberg that the only way out may be to initiate system-wide furlough days and cutting jobs.

"We've done everything we can to maintain the level of education for the students that we've always had and we think we've been able to do that," said Superintendent Heard.

Nothing is set in stone yet, but 488 teachers, staff and administrators, may be facing furlough days next school year. Superintendent Heard hopes to limit them to three to five per employee.

"I would like to say also that when we do take furlough days, they are always none instructional days. The students do not miss any school," said Superintendent Heard.

Yet. Keep on in this direction and the students will be missing school. As it is, they just get less-prepared teachers, for less-effective teaching. But this is not Supt. Heard's fault.

Do we in Georgia want to prepare students for jail, or to succeed in life? Prisons cost we the taxpayers lots of money. Successful young people help pay for everything. Maybe we should choose successful young people, starting with education.

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Human rights and war on drugs incompatible —LEAP

While the local CCA private prison contract expired (yay!), the U.S. still has 5% of the world’s population and 25% of the world’s prisoners, which is seven times our incarceration rate of 40 years ago, while the crime rate is about the same, and Georgia has 1 in 13 adults in the prison system (jail, prison, probation, or parole. We can’t afford that. The money we waste locking people up could be sending people to college or paying teachers. And the root cause is still the failed war on drugs, which is also one of the biggest problems with human rights around the world.

LEAP wrote 16 March 2012, Human Rights is a Foreign Concept in the UN’s “War on Drugs”

“Fundamentally, the three UN prohibitionist treaties are incompatible to human rights. We can have human rights or drug war, but not both,” said Maria Lucia Karam, a retired judge from Brazil and a board member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP).

Richard Van Wickler, currently a jail superintendent in New Hampshire, adds, “I suppose it’s not shocking that within the context of a century-long bloody ‘war on drugs’ the idea of human rights is a foreign concept. Our global drug prohibition regime puts handcuffs on millions of people every year while even the harshest of prohibitionist countries say that drug abuse is a health issue. What other medical problems do we try to solve with imprisonment and an abandonment of human rights?”

Good point.

We don’t lock up people for drinking. We only lock them up for endangering other people while drinking. And we tax alcohol sales and generate revenue for the state. Let’s do the same with drugs: legalize, regulate, and tax. That’s what we did with alcohol in 1933, and it’s time to do the same with other drugs.

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“I want him in my jail, not a private jail.” —Sheriff Chris Prine

Last week Sheriff Chris Prine volunteered his opinion of private prisons:
You were talking about the private jail system. I’d like to voice my opinion of that. The private jail from our study so far, the cost…. I’m going to use a figure of around 800 inmates; we’re pretty close to 900 in our jail now. We figure around maybe $36 a day to feed the inmate, counting of course the food and our employment.

And looking at the private jail sector. And of course I’m responsible for the inmate whether he is in a private jail or in my jail. If I’m going to be responsible for that inmate, I want him here; I want him in my jail, not a private jail.
[applause]

Another thing is the cost factor.

Continue reading

I have become a Fan of Very Supervised Probation —Robert Nagle

Received yesterday on Save money by streamlining the state penal code. -jsq
My darling 22 year-old daughter wound up with a second DWI, because the first one was a wrist-slap. Don’t hate me as a parent because of it. But she went to DWI Court in Austin. The year of intense supervision and no-nonsense attitude and her willingness to not fight it (much) has turned her attitude and Life around. Did it suck for her? Why, yes. But, who knows but what it saved someone else’s life? And maybe it saved her own. I have become a Fan of Very Supervised Probation. If she’d gone to jail for six months, I suspect she’d have just come out hating society and gone right back to what put her there.

-Robert Nagle

Presumably this was for driving while intoxicated (DWI) with alcohol. We tried Prohibition for alcohol back in the 1920s, and repealed it in the 1930s, because it produced criminal gangs while failing to stop people from drinking alcohol. So instead we criminalized the misuse of alcohol such as while driving and legalized, regulated, and taxed purchase of alcohol. And now we mostly don’t actually lock people up for DWI: we put them on supervised probation.

It’s time to do the same for other drugs. We can’t afford to continue to spend more taxpayer dollars on locking people up than on education.

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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

Time to divest from private prison companies

It’s time to stop private prison profiteering by refusing to take their profit: divest private prison company stock from personal, pension, and church funds.

There’s no need to speculate that private prison companies have incentive to keep more people locked up: CCA says so. Kanya D’Almeida wrote for IPS 24 August 2011, ‘Profiteers of Misery’: The U.S. Private Prison Industrial Complex:

CCA’s 2010 annual report states categorically that, “The demand for our facilities and services could be adversely affected by the relaxation of enforcement efforts, leniency in conviction or parole standards and sentencing practices or through the decriminalization of certain activities that are currently proscribed by our criminal laws — for instance, any changes with respect to drugs and controlled substances or illegal immigration could affect the number of persons arrested, convicted, and sentenced, thereby potentially reducing demand for correctional facilities to house them.”

CCA continues, “Legislation has been proposed in numerous jurisdictions that could lower minimum sentences for some non-violent crimes and make more inmates eligible for early release based on good behaviour, (while) sentencing alternatives under consideration could put some offenders on probation who would otherwise be incarcerated. Similarly, reductions in crime rates or resources dedicated to prevent and enforce crime could lead to reductions in arrests, convictions and sentences requiring incarceration at correctional facilities.”

What’s this got to do with Georgia? Continue reading

Disparity in Criminal Justice

Is a private prison “good clean industry” as a local leader once told me?
According to the CRF [Constitutional Rights Foundation], over 25 percent of black males and 16 percent of Hispanic males spend time in prison, while only 4 percent of white males do so. Blacks make up only 12 percent of the United States population.
Why? Continue reading

Interview with an architect of Portugal’s successful drug decriminalization

One of the architects of Portugal’s successful drug decriminalization policy says, “to make demands of addicts who are enslaved by their addiction is senseless.” Well, it makes sense to those who profit by it, such as private prison companies. And Georgia is now proposing to make field slaves out of them, for failing a drug test.

Inês Subtil wrote for communidad segura 11 May 2009, Portugal: Success in harm reduction:

In 1999, Portugal broke new ground by enacting legislation that decriminalized all drug use. Ten years later, the results are there for all to see, results of a change that João Goulão, president of the do Instituto da Droga e Toxicodependência (The Drugs and Chemical Addiction Institute) IDT, believes show the law has been instrumental in solving the problem of drug abuse, and crucial for bringing legislation into harmony with practices and people.

A family doctor, Goulão was condecorated by the president of the Portuguese Republic, but he says he is always ready for to roll up his sleeves and get out in the field. At 55, he is a candidate for the Presidency of the European Drugs Observatory, but that has not clowded his sobriety about the work at hand.

In an exclusive interview to Comunidad Segura, Goulão discusses the workings and the structure of the institution that he presides over, that has set a world-wide example of success. For him, drug use is closely associated to self-esteem. “If we could restore drug addicts their human dignity, we would be able to demand something in return. But to make demands of addicts who are enslaved by their addiction is senseless,” he said.

Now that makes a lot of sense. And Portugal demonstrates that it works.

He has more sensible things to say in the interview, including this: Continue reading

1 in 13 Georgia adults in the prison system —Pew Center on the States

Georgia is number 1 in something: locking people up, 1 in 13 of adults, according to the Pew Center on the States.

That costs us more than a billion dollars a year in tax money, 5.9% of the state budget. That’s up from $133.26 million in 1983, increased by more than a factor of seven.

Meanwhile, the correctional population swelled from around 100,000 in 1982 to more than 550,000 in 2007. And while other states have started decreasing their prison populations, Georgia’s continues to increase. The state is even coming up with new ways to lock people up, such as kicking them out of mental institutions. We seem headed back towards plantation slave labor and prison road gangs in for minor drug infractions.

How about we reverse this trend? Continue reading