Tag Archives: probation

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

Eligible for prison road labor

In for a drug offense? Got out but failed a drug test? You may be eligible for a prison road gang!

AP wrote 4 July 2011, GA parolees & road maintenance

Georgia is expanding a pilot program that sanctions some parolees by putting them to work rather than returning them to prison.

The program began in Milledgeville, Gainesville, Columbus and Dalton. This summer it will be expanding to communities across Georgia.

Parolees are eligible if they have committed low-level violations of their supervision requirements, such as the onetime failure of a drug test or curfew violations.

How long will it take before these prisoners are sent to work in fields?

Wouldn’t it make more sense to stop wasting taxpayer dollars on locking up people for minor drug offenses?

Or maybe prison slave labor is a good way to celebrate July 4th.


PS: Gretchen got this item from Dwight Rewis of Echols County.

Many rural farmers are taking notice of HB 87 —Patrick Davis

Patrick Davis points out from Macon that HB 87 is producing Lowndes County farm employment problems, and maybe local farmers should take that into account when they vote.

Patrick Davis wrote, Rural Republicans in Georgia can’t have it both ways on immigration reform

With the law passed and ready for implementation, many rural farmers—especially in Central and South Georgia—are taking notice to the exodus of migrant workers and immigrants which has left some farmers without workers to pick crops.

Many of these same farmers that are hurting economically and losing crops in these rural counties had voted Republican for years.

Valdosta’s Ellis Black who represents parts of Lowndes County as a state representative helped to pass Gov. Nathan Deal’s conservative and punitive agenda and consequently it has contributed to drive an increasing number of migrant workers out of the Peach State.

Black has continued to justify his HB-87 vote and attempt to support Gov. Deal’s ridiculous assertion in regard to the use of probationers as a solution.

That last link is to Parolees to replace migrants? Gov. Deal says put probationers in fields by David Rodock in the VDT 15 June 2011, which included: Continue reading

Trend towards drug legalization

Has anyone else noticed that even sitting big name politicians are saying things only one step short of just legalize it?

The most famous politician in the world said a few months ago: ‘Drug legalization is an “entirely legitimate topic for debate,”‘ which is a big change from 2009 when Obama laughed off the question.

Newly elected GA gov. Nathan Deal said we can’t afford to lock up non-violent drug offenders. In April Gov. Deal signed a bill to create a panel to overhaul sentencing laws.

Public opinion is almost to the majority nationwide for legalization, according to the Pew Research Center.

Private prisons have no business plan, because the majority of their “customers” are in danger of not getting locked up. We don’t need a private prison in Lowndes County, Georgia. Spend that tax money on rehabilitation and education instead.


Protests about “trillion dollar incarceration machine” crash White House web site

W.E. Messamore wrote for caivn.org 18 June 2011, Internet activists crash White House phone lines calling for an end to the War on Drugs:
On Friday June 17th, exactly 40 years after President Richard Nixon declared a “War on Drugs,” Internet activists organizing from the social news and activism website, Reddit.com, called the White House en masse to demand an end to the War on Drugs, calling it a “trillion dollar incarceration machine” with a measurable failure to reduce drug use, or harm from drug use.
The original post included this:
This is also the last vestige of Nixon’s fight against the civil rights and anti-war movements: And if you look at US incarceration rates, it’s been incredibly effective. . .
  • 4,919 Black males per 100,000 population
  • 1,717 Latino males per 100,000 of population
  • 717 White males per 100,000 of population.
  • South Africa under Apartheid (1993) – 851 Black males per 100,000
That’s right, almost six times as many black males per capita get locked up in the U.S. than in South Africa under apartheid. The numbers are even worse for young people and especially young black males, leading to this summary:
This isn’t a War on Drugs: It’s a Race War; It’s a War on the youth, likely to protest controversial policies (a war that conveniently takes away those groups voting rights). It’s a war on the American People, paid for by the American people, for the American people’s own good.
Yep. Except a majority of the American people don’t want the “war on drugs” any more. It’s time for the laws to change.

Back to the main article: Continue reading

Call Off the Global Drug War —Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter in the New York Times 16 June 2011, Call Off the Global Drug War said the Global Commission on Drug Policy:
… has made some courageous and profoundly important recommendations in a report on how to bring more effective control over the illicit drug trade. The commission includes the former presidents or prime ministers of five countries, a former secretary general of the United Nations, human rights leaders, and business and government leaders, including Richard Branson, George P. Shultz and Paul A. Volcker.

The report describes the total failure of the present global antidrug effort, and in particular America’s “war on drugs,” which was declared 40 years ago today. It notes that the global consumption of opiates has increased 34.5 percent, cocaine 27 percent and cannabis 8.5 percent from 1998 to 2008. Its primary recommendations are to substitute treatment for imprisonment for people who use drugs but do no harm to others, and to concentrate more coordinated international effort on combating violent criminal organizations rather than nonviolent, low-level offenders.

These recommendations are compatible with United States drug policy from three decades ago. In a message to Congress in 1977, I said the country should decriminalize the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, with a full program of treatment for addicts. I also cautioned against filling our prisons with young people who were no threat to society, and summarized by saying: “Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself.”

Imagine that! A drug policy meant to address the problem.

How did we go wrong? Continue reading

Gov. Deal celebrates Juneteenth by recommending indentured agricultural labor

Remember 85% of people in the prison system are black, and Gov. Nathan Deal recommends during the week of Juneteenth celebrations, according to David Rodock in the VDT today, Parolees to replace migrants? Gov. Deal says put probationers in fields
With the recent exodus of undocumented Hispanic migrant workers leaving Georgia to avoid the consequences of House Bill 87, Gov. Nathan Deal made a statement on Tuesday suggesting that probationers could potentially fill the approximately 11,000 open jobs in the state’s agricultural economy.

“Specifically, I asked Department of Corrections Commissioner Brian Owens and (Department of Agriculture) Commissioner Gary Black to review the current situation and offer possible options,” said Deal in his statement. “Commissioner Owens has indicated that there are 100,000 probationers statewide, 8,000 of which are in the Southwest region of the state and 25 percent of which are unemployed … I believe this would be a great partial solution to our current status as we continue to move towards sustainable results with the legal options available.”

The potential move would allow probationers who are unable to find work to have a source of income, provided they are able to meet employer standards. Income can then be used to pay probation fines, along with other state fines that are a requirement of their probation sentence.

This fits right in with Joe Pritchard’s rumored suggestion to replace animal shelter employees with interns.

Hey, if there’s one thing Georgia is good at, it’s locking up more people even while other states realize they can’t afford to do that anymore.

So if probationers don’t want to pick onions, lock ’em up again, in the new private prison VLCIA wants to build in Lowndes County! That will benefit private prison executives and investors and not us in Lowndes County, but hey, that will serve those immigrants right!


Private Prisons don’t save much money —NYTimes

Richard A. Oppel Jr. wrote on the front page of the New York Times, 19 May 2011, Private Prisons Found to Offer Little in Savings
The conviction that private prisons save money helped drive more than 30 states to turn to them for housing inmates. But Arizona shows that popular wisdom might be wrong: Data there suggest that privately operated prisons can cost more to operate than state-run prisons — even though they often steer clear of the sickest, costliest inmates.
That’s right, they leave we the taxpayers to pay more in public prisons to house the most expensive prisoners:
The research, by the Arizona Department of Corrections, also reveals a murky aspect of private prisons that helps them appear less expensive: They often house only relatively healthy inmates.

“It’s cherry-picking,” said State Representative Chad Campbell, leader of the House Democrats. “They leave the most expensive prisoners with taxpayers and take the easy prisoners.”

And yet private prisons still cost more.

Could it have something to do with their executive salaries?

Anyway, we don’t need a private prison in Lowndes County. Spend that tax money on education instead.


Find better way to fight crime —Rev. Chuck Arnold

Another Sunday, another preacher against private prisons. Unlike some, this one is not famous; Rev. Chuck Arnold is pastor of Valley of the Flowers United Church of Christ in Vandenberg Village, CA. He wrote in the Lompoc Record 20 May 2011
Going to a RAND Corporation study, in 1994 higher education received 12 percent of the state budget, corrections 9 percent, other services 9 percent (which included controlling environmental pollution, management of parks, fighting of brush fires, regulating insurance and other industries). By 2002 higher education took the biggest hit, along with “ other services,” both of which were virtually eliminated from the state budget. Corrections on the other hand went from 9 percent to 18 percent of the budget.
Which means that California, like so many other states, including Georgia, spends more on prisons than on education.

And not just public prisons anymore: Continue reading

Biomass down for now: next?

Congratulations to all who worked against the biomass plant: today was the deadline on its most recent extension, so it’s gone for now. Congratulations to WACE and SAVE and NAACP and New Life Ministries and everyone else who was involved, especially Natasha Fast, Seth Gunning, and Brad Bergstrom, who were working against it before almost anyone else.

Congratulations to those who were instrumental even though they were not exactly or originally biomass opponents, especially Ashley Paulk, who came out and said what needed to be said, and George Bennett, who was willing to admit in public that he was one of the earliest proponents of the biomass plant but new knowledge caused him to think differently.

A big shoutout to the VSU Faculty Senate, the only traditional non-activist body that went on record as opposing the biomass plant with an actual vote before the extension deadline. The VSU Faculty Senate did what the Valdosta City Council, the Lowndes County Commission and the Industrial Authority Board would not. Go Blazers!

A special strategic mention to Kay Harris and David Rodock of the Valdosta Daily Times, who came to realize they were not being told the whole truth by the Industrial Authority. The VDT even gave a civics lesson on how to stop the biomass plant.

And a very special mention to the people who did the most to make the name of biomass mud in the public’s eye: Brad Lofton, Col. Ricketts, and the VLCIA board. Without their indoctrination sessions and paid “forum” and stonewalling, people wouldn’t have been turned against that thing nearly as fast!

Yet it ain’t over until it’s over.

According to David Rodock in the VDT today: Continue reading