Monday, December 14, 2009

MA - Truly Homeless Sex Offenders

Original Article

So I guess we'll just be seeing more people denied shelter for a night, who die in the cold weather due to the hysteria over sex offenders. Hire a damn guard for goodness sakes. I guess you'd rather someone die, then spend a little extra money on a security guard. See this case.

12/14/2009

By Justine Judge

The city of Springfield has the highest number of sex offenders in the commonwealth. Many of them end up at the Friends of the Homeless shelter on Worthington Street.

Executive Director Bill Miller said, "It's not something we're happy about that sex offenders end up in shelter. But on the other hand, where do people want them to go? Once they are released by the criminal justice system they have to go somewhere."

The Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance (Contact) is asking lawmakers to ban level three sex offenders from shelters. Level three refers to those who have been convicted of rape, indecent assault battery and are at high risk to offend again.

"They are a threat; there is no doubt about it. But saying that you can't live here doesn't minimize the threat. What it really does is divert people's attention from the reality of how do we want to manage this need in our society," Soldier On Shelter President John Downing said.

According to Downing, there are currently eight sex offenders at the shelter. All of them are required to enroll in a treatment program. He said kicking them out onto the streets will not solve the problem, instead it will make it worse.

"They are going to go to anyplace where they can get a bed or a place to sleep inexpensively and normally that will be where there are marginal families who need income so they'll allow these people," Downing said.

That means there is a greater risk for these sex offenders to be around children.

"I have to say I think that's one of the worst things that could happen. You want to know where these guys are," Miller said.

Currently the state only requires GPS monitoring bracelets for sex offenders on probation or parole. Shelter officials said a better solution would be to require every sex offender to wear a GPS unit to monitor their whereabouts at all times.
- So then you pay for it!

Video Link


TX - Stricter rules for tracking sex offenders, Texas not quite ready

Original Article

12/14/2009

By Layron Livingston

TYLER (KLTV) - It is supposed to help you keep better track of sex offenders in your neighborhood, but Texas is not ready for it. Three years ago, Congress passed the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, or SORNA. It mandated stricter rules for monitoring sex offenders. Every state was required, by law, to adopt the new standards back in July, but Texas has yet to do so.
- No, it does not "mandate" anything, they are simply guidelines.

It seems the Lone Star State is not alone. The U.S. Justice Department reports Ohio as the only state that's actually put SORNA in place, along with a group of Native American tribes in northeast Oregon.

"When adults commit sexual crimes with children, that behavior can be pretty durable...so it's important that we recognize that it takes an aggressive, intense approach to deal with those kinds of behaviors in order to keep kids safe," said Jason Isham with the Children's Advocacy Center of Smith County.

He says some of our own state rules surpass some SORNA requirements

"In Texas, we mostly impose lifetime registration on just about any adult who is convicted of a child related sex offense," said Isham.

Under SORNA, offenders would be required to register even more information, including where they go to school, work, DNA, palm prints, descriptions of their cars, and even temporary lodging info. Much of that information would then be open to the public on the registry database. Even email addresses and online screen names will have to be registered.

State Representative Leo Berman (Contact) says current standards are fair. New ones can only be an improvement.
- Fair?  That is your opinion.

"We've got to do it," said Berman. "We've got to protect our children."
- But how does it "protect" anybody?  It doesn't, it's just a placebo.  They do not work on prevention and education, only punishment after a crime has been committed.

In March, DPS sent a letter to the Justice Department, asking for a one year extension. Our state database went through a major upgrade last August, allowing the department to register internet names, DNA, palm prints and other information.

That letter goes on to say that the public will able to search by zip code, radius, and school campus, and get updates on that info to make the Lone Star State, hopefully, stand-out.

States are allowed up to two, one-year extensions to become compliant. States that don't meet the new standards risk losing millions of dollars in federal funding.

Click here to read the National Guidelines for Sex Offender Registration and Notification.

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FL - Predator Patrol: The Judy Cornett Story - She also goes by the "JACEY" alias and is a part of Absolute Zero United, an online vigilante group!

And I noticed, on the page below (click the image), they did not mention her son is currently in prison for attempted murder (see here). I guess she saw all the money to be made by exploiting their child's sexual abuse, so she joined the bandwagon.


CA - Protests about sex offenders - Sex Offender shuffle continues, after many, many years!

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And after many, many years, the sex offender shuffle continues.

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GA - Homeless Sex Offenders

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NE - New Sex Offender Law Prompts Mistaken Identity Concerns

Original Article

12/14/2009

Law Would Publicly List Every Convicted Offender

OMAHA - A new law set to take effect on Jan. 1 will require every sex offender is Nebraska to be listed on a public Web site, a change that will more than double the number of listed offenders, according to the Nebraska State Patrol.

State officials said the change is necessary to remain eligible for hundreds of thousands of federal dollars.
- It's bribery, and they have apparently not investigated how much it will cost to comply and maintain all this afterwards, which will be more than if they did not implement it.

But some, including _____, who shares a name with a sex offender, may find themselves being the target of mistaken identity.

_____ is a local basketball coach, father and church leader. He's not a convicted sex offender. But another _____ is a sex offender, convicted of sexual assault six years ago and recently released from prison.

The convicted _____ also lives in Omaha and even looks a little like the coach. The KETV NewsWatch 7 I-Team showed a photo of the convicted offender to the coach.

"Wow. Very similar," _____ said.

Someone sent the I-Team a clipping with a photo showing _____ sitting with his players.

The mailer was worried, and wanted the I-Team to investigate why _____ was allowed so close to children.

"It's just very, very, very disheartening to see that someone with the same name and similar appearance would be associated with me," _____ said.

It's a case of mistaken identity that's rare now but may soon become more common. Only those at high risk of re-offending -- about 1,400 people -- are currently on the public list. In 2010, every convicted sex offender will be listed, bringing that number to more than 3,000.

Nebraska State Patrol's Glenn Elwell said people checking the list must pay close attention to the offenders photograph and address to avoid wrongful accusations.
- Do you really expect the public to do this?

"Use the information for what it's worth and not just look at a name and go, 'Oh my gosh, my next door neighbor's name is John Doe. He's a sex offender!'" Elwell said.

The state patrol said it's already getting complaints on the new law, and it expects lawsuits to come forth to stop it from being implemented.

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MI - Coalition: Focus Mich. sex offender registry on risk

Original Article

12/14/2009

By David Alire Garcia

Coalition members point out that Michigan has highest ratio of citizens on state sex offender registry in the nation

LANSING — About once a month, a group of Michigan citizens sit around a table in one of the state Capitol’s ornate committee rooms and plot their uphill revolt.

They probably wouldn’t describe it that way, but the members of the Coalition for a Useful Registry’s professional advisory board do acknowledge they don’t often end up on the winning side of legislative or judicial skirmishes over Michigan’s growing sex offender registry.

But at the group’s Dec. 2 meeting, with members seated around highly polished wooden tables, coalition members — including those with family on the registry — discussed rare “victories” at the legislature and state appeals court, and reviewed a looming deadline to comply with new federal mandates.

Coalition members are united in the view that Michigan has too many people on the sex offender registry who, they argue, aren’t a threat to anyone and don’t merit the stigma of extended punishment on the registry.

With over 45,100 names and faces on the registry of convicted sex offenders –- and even some whose records are conviction-free –- Michigan holds the eyebrow-raising distinction of having the highest ratio of its citizens on a state sex offender registry.

According to an analysis earlier this year by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, for every 100,000 Michiganders, 472 are on the registry. That’s more than California (319), Florida (281), New York (148) or Illinois (158) – or any state.

We’re trying to put a face on this,” said Lynn D’Orio, a defense attorney and member of the advisory board. “That’s why the coalition exists.”

Nine years ago when the coalition was formed, it was mostly driven by family members of registrants who knew first-hand the humiliation and lasting negative consequences of being on the list.

We just weren’t getting very far,” said Shelli Weisberg, legislative director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan (Contact) and also a board member. “We eventually decided if we put together other professionals who could represent the same views, but back them up with their own professional credibility and their research, that we might have more of a presence.”

Today, the coalition’s professional advisory board counts social workers, juvenile case workers, attorneys and even a former prosecutor as members.

By reviewing legislation and educating state lawmakers, the board hopes to “help convince legislators that the registry needed to be, at least, reformed,” Weisberg said. “We at least need to be logical about how it’s working.”

The group has developed materials including a PowerPoint presentation that spell out proposed reforms to the registry, like most of all, moving away from a strictly conviction-based method of determining 25-year or life on the registry, and toward a risk-based system instead.

The coalition has also hosted education forums specifically for legislators.

There’s a big interest in the registry,” Weisberg added, noting that the last forum for legislators attracted over 20 state lawmakers. “We’re very encouraged with the interest.”

Since the registry was established in 1994, and went online in 1999, the registry has added photos and been made searchable by ZIP code. Those and other enhancements have been aimed, in large part, at helping concerned residents keep an eye on Michigan’s tens of thousands of convicted sex offenders.

Motivation fueled by regret, sense of injustice

At least one of those offenders has become an active member of the coalition.

His name isn’t John, but he attended the December meeting just as he’s attended many meetings of the coalition. He spoke to Michigan Messenger on the condition his real name not be published for fear of further harassment.

I’m the only active one who sticks his neck out,” John said with a heavy sigh. “I came to a point in my life where it was either do or die.”

He means that literally. He said his 1997 conviction on a fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct charge — the least serious sex crime Michigan has on the books — and the new reality of life on the online registry drove him to consider suicide.

His offense was committed in 1997 shortly after he arrived at a late-night Oakland County party, and met a girl there.

I ended up making out with her and feeling her up,” John, then 28, said in an interview. “The party ended up getting broken up by police after a fight and three months later the cops came through my door and asked if I met this girl.” John said at first he didn’t recall the girl’s name, but he answered the questions truthfully. He admits he made a mistake.

She turned out to be 14 years old,” he said. It was two years later before he pleaded guilty to what he thought was a low-level charge, a decision he describes as a huge error in judgment a decade later.

I still remember the preliminary trial — the girl thinks everything is a joke. She’s laughing on the stand,” John said. He then recalled a few more details from the night of the party: “It was a school night. She’s drinking a Southern Comfort and coke, and she’s smoking cigarettes and pot. And she doesn’t think it’s a big deal at all.”

Clothes never came off, and the girl’s parents never got involved in the case. But after completing his probation, John realized the real punishment — 25 years on the sex offender registry — was only then kicking in.

Basically pleading to that charge has ended my life — having a family, having kids, or a career path,” he said, mentioning the many times he’s been turned down for jobs.

Today John is self-employed, but constantly worried contracts could fall through due to his notoriety as a registrant.

Anything I had wanted to do has come to a halt,” he added. “I’ve stopped dreaming.”

Pushing for reform

But as part of the coalition, he’s trying to make the case to anyone who will listen — especially legislators — that putting people like him on the list for a quarter century is a punishment that doesn’t fit the crime.

In Lansing, there are probably few causes more unpopular with lawmakers than anything perceived to endanger kids’ safety. But coalition members argue strenuously that’s not what they seek. One reform they advocate is mandating risk assessments to determine if an offender really represents such a threat to the community that he or she merits 25 years on the registry.

Or allowing a process by which individuals can petition to be removed from the registry.

But in the absence of playing offense on legislation the coalition would like to see enacted, the group often finds itself playing defense on initiatives it considers a step backwards.

Weisberg cited last month’s Michigan House Health Policy Committee hearing on a proposal to permanently revoke the state license of any healthcare professional who’s convicted of criminal sexual conduct — including dietitians, pharmacists, and even veterinarian technicians — as a rare victory.

The committee hearing took place on Nov. 17. But a vote on the proposal — inspired by the well-publicized case of a Farmington Hills dentist who drugged and raped one of his patients yet was still allowed to resume his practice after serving one year in jail — didn’t happen.

That we were successful in stopping that bill was something we just don’t experience very often because it’s really easy to use the sex offenders as a kind of battering ram,” Weisberg said. “That’s why we were very pleased with our success with that bill, but it could still come back.”

That’s a sentiment more than echoed by state Rep. Rick Jones (Contact) (R-Grand Ledge), one of the sponsors of the proposal. He said the vote was simply postponed.

Asked if there’s a risk of using one sensational crime as a launching pad for legislation, Jones told Michigan Messenger there’s many more similar cases — and strongly defends his proposal.

It’s just sickening, sickening that this dentist was able to get his license back,” he said. “And there are many other cases. There have been doctors and chiropractors where they’ve raped a patient,” said Jones, who once served as Eaton County sheriff.

But citing the nearly 30 health care professions that require the state license — roughly 400,000 jobs in the state — Weisberg argues that many low-risk offenders would unnecessarily get kicked out of work if the proposal ultimately passes. “It would negatively affect a lot of people,” she said.

Beyond legislation, Weisberg invoked last month’s Michigan Court of Appeals ruling that being listed on the sex offender registry can amount to cruel and unusual punishment for underage offenders, and how victories in court can help convince lawmakers that reforms are in order.

After the DiPiazza case came down, we had many more legislators say, ‘OK, if the courts are saying this, now we can see that maybe it’s time for us to make some changes.’”

One reform she’d like to pursue is to figure out a way for sex offenders who were convicted between the ages of 17 and 20 — and in many cases have had their records wiped clean through their legal designation as “youthful trainees” — to be able to get removed from the registry.

But the coalition has yet to find a sponsor willing to introduce a bill.

At the coalition’s December meeting, staffers for two state lawmakers attended the meeting — but then were very coy afterwards explaining what they were trying to achieve by taking part.

It’s not necessarily anything he’s looking at,” explained Andy Mutavdzija, legislative director for Rep. Bert Johnson (Contact) (D-Detroit), who attended along with one other staffer from the office. “We were there to mostly be educated and enlightened on what the group was trying to aim at.”

A staffer for Rep. Rebekah Warren (Contact) (D-Ann Arbor), was also at the meeting. Since then, several messages left with Warren’s office seeking comment for this story have not been returned.

Getting in line with new federal requirements

That’s surprising since coalition members like Weisberg praise Warren for her past support, and her pledge to lead the effort to make sure Michigan complies with the federal Adam Walsh Act, a law that requires states to enhance and tweak their sex offender registries.

The deadline for compliance is April of next year, and non-compliance could mean the loss of approximately $6 million in federal funds.

Weisberg described the new federal mandates that come with the Adam Walsh Act as “a mixed bag.”

She noted that while for the first time, Michigan will have to have a petitioning process for registrants to be removed from the sex offender registry, compliance with the federal law will also force juvenile offenders to be on the public registry beginning at age 14.

Currently, Michigan law allows juveniles to be on the state’s private registry — accessible mainly to just law enforcement — until they turn 18.

John, on the other hand, has been focused on what he describes as the new “information intrusion” that compliance with the Adam Walsh Act will compel.

In addition to the current registry requirements, Adam Walsh will require that registrants regularly submit where they’re living, working or attending school, license plate numbers for any vehicle they might be driving, as well as all phone numbers and email addresses they’re using — or face further penalties.

Going forward, fingerprints and a DNA sample will also be required.

If the Adam Walsh Act passes as it sits right now, what really scares me is how many people will find that a reason to just end it,” John said bluntly. “They would just give up.”

About himself, he’s seen some changes — for the worse — close up: “I love kids, I really did. Now, I obviously shy away from them.”

The ACLU’s Weisberg emphasized that the goals of the coalition and law enforcement aren’t that far apart.

We also believe like they do that public safety is paramount,” she said. As for her wish-list of reform, she embraces a new focus on those sex offenders who truly pose a threat.

I would want the registry tiered by risk as opposed to crime such that the low risk is not publicly available and to have a meaningful and streamlined process to be removed from the registry after five years,” she added.

For John, he’s not currently eligible to be removed from the registry until 2024, a form of extended punishment he’s mostly numb to these days. But not entirely.

At the end of a recent interview, he posed a question to himself.

If I had the choice of living on the registry for 25 years or dying in my sleep,” he said, “I hope I die in my sleep.”


CA - Prosecutor: Patrolman intended to have sex with a 13-year-old girl

Original Article

12/14/2009

By LARRY WELBORN

SANTA ANA – A now-retired lieutenant for the California Highway Patrol exchanged sexually explicit messages in an Internet chat room with someone he thought was a 13-year-old girl before he drove 45 miles to meet her for a sexual liaison, a prosecutor told a jury here today.

But the "girl" turned out to be an undercover policewoman who waited for Stephen Robert Deck, 54, at a Laguna Beach park on Feb. 18, 2006 as part of a sting set up by Perverted-Justice, a non-profit (vigilante) group that targets pedophiles and is aimed at protecting children from Internet sexual predators, Deputy District Attorney Robert Mestman said.

Deck, of Oceanside, acted on his fetish to engage in a sexual relationship with a young girl and should be convicted of attempted lewd act with a child under 14, Mestman said in his opening statement of Deck's trial.

Defense attorney Court Will, however, said Deck did not show a definite and unambiguous intent to engage in a sexual act with a child, and should be found not guilty.

Will said the jury will not like Deck after they hear evidence that the then 51-year-old man had engaged in "creepy" sexually-oriented chats with a person he thought was a 13-year-old girl in an online chat room.

"You don't have to like Mr. Deck,' Will said in his opening statement. "You have to determine whether he broke the law."

The defense attorney said Deck was ill on the day he was arrested and insisted on meeting the girl in a public place rather than a Laguna Beach apartment, even though the fake victim told him that her mother was not home.

Will said Deck's intention on Feb. 18, 2006 was merely to hang out with the girl.

But Mestman said Deck showed intent to engage in unlawful sex with a minor in part because he showed up for the meeting at the park with a digital camera, a piece of key lime pie and several condoms.

Mestman also said a search of Deck's home computer revealed other "chats" with young girls, the prosecutor added.

Deck, who retired from the CHP after his arrest, faces a maximum sentence of four years in prison plus a lifetime registration as a sex offender if convicted.

He was one of 12 men arrested during the sting, which was conducted by the Laguna Beach Police Department, Orange County Department of Probation, and Orange County District Attorney's Office, with help from Perverted-Justice.com.

Ten of the defendants have either pleaded guilty or been convicted during a trial and sentenced to from six to 18 months in jail.

A warrant was issued in July 2006 for the 12th defendant, _____, 37, Tustin, an engineer, who fled after making several court appearances. _____ is featured as one of the 10 Most Wanted fugitives on the Orange County District Attorney's Web site.


LA - Worker booked on sex, weapons charges fired

Original Article

12/14/2009

The City of Shreveport SPAR employee and former police officer arrested Saturday in Southern Hills Park and charged with molestation of a juvenile has been fired, effective Sunday.

"I cannot contain my outrage about this for a number of reasons," said Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover. "First, the fact that it happened, second that it happened in a city park, and third, that the perpetrator is an employee whose job involves daily interaction with children in city-sponsored activities."

Shreveport police arrested Eric Barber, 39, of the 1400 block of Clay Street, late Saturday after catching him parked in a car and engaged in a sex act with a 14-year-old at a city park.

Barber was booked on one count of obscenity, one count of possession of a weapon during the possession or distribution of a controlled dangerous substance and molestation of a juvenile.

Police spokesman Cpl. Bill Goodin said that around 6 p.m., patrol officers checking Southern Hills Park on Bert Kouns Industrial Loop observed an adult male "engaged in what appeared to be a sex act with a juvenile ... in a vehicle" and that upon further investigation determined Barber and another male, later shown to be 14 years old, were engaged in an unspecified sexual act.

Barber is a former Shreveport police officer, Goodin said. He was terminated in December 1992 for violation of departmental policies after serving one year on the force. Authorities also believe he may have worked for Mansfield Police Department, Goodin said.

When arrested by Shreveport police, Barber still had his rig belt, with handcuffs and ammunition. He also had several police shirts and hats in the trunk of his vehicle. Police also seized his phone and laptop from inside his vehicle.

Barber has been transferred from the Shreveport city jail to Caddo Correctional Center, where his bond has been set at $8,552.


OFF TOPIC - NY - New York Finds Extreme Crisis in Youth Prisons

Original Article

You see, the states do not care about your children, they care about money and control. And they say the USA does not torture, yeah right. And I have no proof, but I am willing to bet, this is occurring all over the country! It appears to me, from this article, and many others I have read, the prison system is the reason we are going broke. We incarcerate people for insane things, and torture them while they are there.

12/13/2009

By NICHOLAS CONFESSORE

ALBANY — New York’s system of juvenile prisons is broken, with young people battling mental illness or addiction held alongside violent offenders in abysmal facilities where they receive little counseling, can be physically abused and rarely get even a basic education, according to a report by a state panel.

The problems are so acute that the state agency overseeing the prisons has asked New York’s Family Court judges not to send youths to any of them unless they are a significant risk to public safety, recommending alternatives, like therapeutic foster care.

New York State’s current approach fails the young people who are drawn into the system, the public whose safety it is intended to protect, and the principles of good governance that demand effective use of scarce state resources,” said the confidential draft report, which was obtained by The New York Times.

The report, prepared by a task force appointed by Gov. David A. Paterson and led by Jeremy Travis, president of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, comes three months after a federal investigation found that excessive force was routinely used at four prisons, resulting in injuries as severe as broken bones and shattered teeth.

The situation was so serious the Department of Justice, which made the investigation, threatened to take over the system.

But according to the task force, the problems uncovered at the four prisons are endemic to the entire system, which houses about 900 young people at 28 facilities around the state.

While some prisons for violent and dangerous offenders should be preserved, the report calls for most to be replaced with a system of smaller centers closer to the communities where most of the families of the youths in custody live.

The task force was convened in 2008 after years of complaints about the prisons, punctuated by the death in 2006 of an emotionally disturbed 15-year-old boy at one center after two workers pinned him to the ground. The task force’s recommendations are likely to help shape the state’s response to the federal findings.

I was not proud of my state when I saw some of these facilities,” Mr. Travis said in an interview on Friday. “New York is no longer the leader it once was in the juvenile justice field.”

New York’s juvenile prisons are both extremely expensive and extraordinarily ineffective, according to the report, which will be given to Mr. Paterson on Monday. The state spends roughly $210,000 per youth annually, but three-quarters of those released from detention are arrested again within three years. And though the median age of those admitted to juvenile facilities is almost 16, one-third of those held read at a third-grade level.

The prisons are meant to house youths considered dangerous to themselves or others, but there is no standardized statewide system for assessing such risks, the report found.

In 2007, more than half of the youths who entered detention centers were sent there for the equivalent of misdemeanor offenses, in many cases theft, drug possession or even truancy. More than 80 percent were black or Latino, even though blacks and Latinos make up less than half the state’s total youth population — a racial disparity that has never been explained, the report said.

Many of those detained have addictions or psychological illnesses for which less restrictive treatment programs were not available. Three-quarters of children entering the juvenile justice system have drug or alcohol problems, more than half have had a diagnosis of mental health problems and one-third have developmental disabilities.

Yet there are only 55 psychologists and clinical social workers assigned to the prisons, according to the task force. And none of the facilities employ psychiatrists, who have the authority to prescribe the drugs many mentally ill teenagers require.

While 76 percent of youths in custody are from the New York City area, nearly all the prisons are upstate, and the youths’ relatives, many of them poor, cannot afford frequent visits, cutting them off from support networks.

These institutions are often sorely underresourced, and some fail to keep their young people safe and secure, let alone meet their myriad service and treatment needs,” according to the report, which was based on interviews with workers and youths in custody, visits to prisons and advice from experts. “In some facilities, youth are subjected to shocking violence and abuse.”

Even before the task force’s report is released, the Paterson administration is moving to reduce the number of youths held in juvenile prisons.

Gladys Carrión, the commissioner of the Office of Children and Family Services, the agency that oversees the juvenile justice system, has recommended that judges find alternative placements for most young offenders, according to an internal memorandum issued Oct. 28 by the state’s deputy chief administrative judge.

Ms. Carrión also advised court officials that New York would not contest the Justice Department findings, according to the memo, and that officials were negotiating a settlement agreement to remedy the system.

Peter E. Kauffmann, a spokesman for Mr. Paterson, said the governor “looks forward to receiving the recommendations of the task force as we continue our efforts to transform the state’s juvenile justice system from a correctional-punitive model to a therapeutic model.”

The report contends that smaller facilities would place less strain on workers, helping reduce the use of physical force, and would be better able to tailor rehabilitation programs.

New York is not unique in using its juvenile prisons to house mentally ill teenagers, particularly as many states confront huge budget shortfalls that have resulted in significant cuts to mental health programs. Still, some states are trying to shift to smaller, community-based programs.

The report by New York’s task force does not say how much money would be needed to overhaul the system, but as Mr. Paterson and state lawmakers try to close a $3.2 billion deficit, cost could become a major hurdle.

Ms. Carrión has faced resistance from some prison workers, who accuse her of making them scapegoats for the system’s problems and minimizing the dangerous conditions they face. State records show a significant spike in on-the-job injuries, for which some workers blame Ms. Carrión’s efforts to limit the use of force.

We embrace the idea of moving towards a more therapeutic model of care, but you can’t do that without more training and more staff,” said Stephen A. Madarasz, a spokesman for the Civil Service Employees Association, the union that represents prison workers. “You’re not dealing with wayward youth. In the more secure facilities, you’re dealing with individuals who have been involved in pretty serious crimes.”

Advocates have credited Ms. Carrión, who was appointed in 2007 by former Gov. Eliot Spitzer, with instituting significant reforms, including installing cameras in some of the more troubled prisons and providing more counseling.

But the state has a long way to go, many advocates say.

Even the kids that are not considered dangerous are shackled when they are being transferred from their homes to the centers upstate — hands and feet, sometimes even belly chains,” said Clara Hemphill, a researcher and author of a report on the state’s youth prisons published in October by the Center for New York City Affairs at the New School.

It really is barbaric,” she added, “the way they treat these kids.”


KS - Kansas court affirms convictions in activist death

Original Article

12/11/2009

TOPEKA (AP) — The Kansas Supreme Court has upheld the convictions of a homeless man accused of killing a Topeka activist who tried to persuade him to contact his family.

The court on Friday rejected an appeal from Charles Lloyd Hollingsworth III of his first-degree murder and kidnapping convictions.

He and two others were convicted of murder in Shawnee County for the June 2006 death of _____. The other two defendants' convictions also have been upheld.

_____, registered sex offender, formed a group called Homeless Come Home, and frequently attended local government meetings. Authorities say he visited homeless camps regularly.

Authorities say Hollingsworth and his fellow defendants became angry with _____ when he entered their camp. _____ was tied to a tree and suffocated.


The Money Tree is Picked Again, this time, 1.1 Trillion Green

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Amicus Curiae Brief in Carr v. United States

Original Article | Amicus curiae