INDICTED: VP Cheney and former Attorney General Gonzales - Private Prison Profiteers?
Reuters reports, "Former attorney general Gonzales used his position to 'stop the investigations as to the wrong doings' into assaults in county prisons, the indictment said.” If they need a witness at Gonzales' trial (not that I think he will actually go to trial) I would be glad to testify. Only, my testimony does not involve an assault investigation that was prohibited, but a wrongful death investigation. See Mary's Commentary section in this article to discover my evidentiary testimony to hold this man accountable on that charge, and the new Attorney General should take a lesson.
NOTE: There is a petition to end private prisons in the comments section of this article.
********************* Grand jury indicts Cheney, former Attorney General Gonzales
Dallas Business Journal
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Vice President Dick Cheney and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales have been named in a South Texas grand jury indictment on charges related to the alleged abuse of prisoners being detained in Willacy County federal detention centers, The Associated Press said.
Willacy County is located in South Texas and includes the cities of Lyford, Raymondville and San Perlita.
The AP says the indictment alleges Cheney maintains a conflict of interest on the grounds that he has an investment in the Vanguard Group, a company that holds interest in private companies running federal detention centers. The indictment cites Cheney for “at least misdemeanor assaults,” on detainees because of his work with the prison companies, The AP is reporting.
Private prisons are big business in America, a country where 1 in every 134 citizens is presently imprisoned. The number of people imprisoned in America is currently around 2.3 million, and of those, 1.25 million are mental patients who should be in hospitals or in community care under mandatory treatment provisions, depending on the offense.
Taxpayers are made to believe mental hospitals closed due to lack of available resources and to deinstitutionalize mental patients for humanitarian reasons. Both are false. The average cost to taxpayers for imprisoning each and every mental patient is in the neighborhood of $100,000 per year, and that comes after the expense of court. And there has been no “deinstitutionalization of psychiatric patients.” Mental patients who would have been in hospitals about 20 years ago are presently relegated to prisons, because the nation has criminalized mental illness.
Families suffer much because their loved ones are regularly incarcerated for having a common and treatable health disorder. Being a prisoner can only worsen the mental state of those who are incarcerated to punish them for having an “illegal” health condition. American values of equal rights suffer, because mental patients are often incarcerated without any understanding of their Miranda rights or the ability to contribute to their own defense against criminal charges. The only winners are Private Prison Profiteers. See the article below about a family that paid the ultimate price for the state's lack of funds for adequate care of a schizoprenic man who was too delusional to recognize his need for psychiatric treatment. Now that he committed murder, however, no expense will be spared to prosecute him and keep him imprisoned for the next 20 years of his life expectancy.
Oregon Man Murders His Sister
Mandatory sentencing provisions and three-strikes laws have added many people to the burgeoning prison population. The cost to taxpayers is staggering, as states seek increasing allocations of funds to cover the expense. For example, Gov. Schwarzenegger sought $67 million in March, as reported in the article excerpt below. As is true in many cases, the money will benefit Private Prison Profiteers.
Schwarzenegger seeks $67 million boost for private-prison operator
By Andy Furillo
Published: Sunday, Mar. 09, 2008 | Page 1A
McFARLAND, Kern County – As far as the inmates are concerned, it's fine if California pays tens of millions of dollars more to their private-prison captors.
This year, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's state corrections agency is proposing a five-year, $67 million increase to one company, GEO Group Inc. The proposal would bump up the daily rate the state pays per inmate by 50 percent, which the company says it needs to increase the minimum pay of its officers from $10 an hour to $14.70.
(See link above for entire article.)
The sad truth is that while other businesses fail across the globe and clamor for government (taxpayer) bailouts, the prison industry expands and prospers as the economy worsens. See the article excerpt below with news out of West Virginia: ************************* Hundreds of jobs to fill
By Charles Owens
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
The long process of filling several hundred jobs at McDowell's new $224 million federal prison will soon be underway.
Cathi Litcher, an activation coordinator for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, said many talents and skills will be needed at the new federal prison currently under construction at the Indian Ridge Industrial Park in Welch. The jobs to be filled include cooks, supervisors, medical doctors, dentists, nurses, recreational specialists, teachers, accountants, secretaries, facility management positions, warehouse supervisors, correctional officers and even automotive repair supervisors. In all, about 320 to 340 positions will be filled.
One example of an excessive sentencing involves Judge Joseph E. Spruill, who in February, sent a 23-year-old father with no prior convictions to 120 years behind bars for passing a note to his pharmacist for a prescription drug he had taken since age 17. Young Kevin became addicted to a prescription drug, like Senator McCain's wife did. Judge Spruill reportedly said he issued the excessive sentence to “make an example” of Kiser. Perhaps on appeal, Kiser’s attorney should try to subpoena Judge Spruill’s investment portfolio to ensure there was no conflict of interest. Plenty of judges may very well be private prison profiteers, as well as some prosecutors who frequently withhold evidence at trial. Prison privatizing a major reason why taxpayers currently pay $185 BILLION annually for its prison budget, although two-thirds of offenders in prison were incarcerated for non-violent crimes. Like every good business, there is a need for fresh stock with long shelf life.
Young father unfairly sentenced to 120 yrs in prison on 1st offense
Fri Nov 14, 2008
A 23 year old man was sentenced to over a century in prison. Ricky Kiser was sentenced by Judge Joseph E. Spruill in February 2008 to 120 years for robbing pharmacy of prescription medication Kiser was addicted to by Dr. Shriharsh Pole, who had prescribed him the medication since the age of 17 (5 yrs) and abruptly cut off of because Pole was being investigated by the F.B.I. Judge Spruill did not sentence Kiser based on the non‑violent robbery in which Kiser did not possess a weapon, harm, intend to harm, or threaten anyone in any way.
Read more about the case here: http://www.care2.com/news/member/713942253/952643
There is a petition to help Ricky Kiser here:
Alberto Gonzales was Attorney General when my mentally ill brother, Larry Neal, was secretly arrested and died in Memphis/Shelby County Jail in August of 2003. Gonzales was still in that position in 2005 when my family requested the USDOJ to please do its job of protecting institutionalized persons and investigate Larry's death and the likelihood of a conspiracy between Shelby County Jail and The Cochran Firm, the law firm that pretended under contract to be our wrongful death attorneys. Five years after Larry's death and even with the change of leadership in the Attorney General's office, justice for Larry is still denied. See http://wrongfuldeathoflarryneal.com.
Read more about Gonzales here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alberto_R._Gonzales
Perhaps it will be a good idea for Albeto to spend some time in prison himself, considering the many ways the USDOJ has failed the American people over the last number of years, and certainly under Gonzales' directorship. This writer is not surprised that Gonzales was indicted and faces prison. Some people call it Karma. When I was a child, old people used to say, "What goes around comes around."
Some of the commissioners on the Shelby County Board of Commissioners when Larry died under secret arrest wound up in prison themselves eventually, including Michael Hooks, the nephew of ex-NAACP President. Attorney Julian Bolton, ex-Cochran Firm managing partner, was himself a Shelby County Commissioner. But this information was not discovered by Larry's family until after the Cochran Firm fraud caused Larry’s family to miss the opportunity to have an honest lawyer represent us against the jail. Since that time, Bolton left The Cochran Firm himself and launched an unsuccessful lawsuit against his previous employer alleging the firm cheated him of his full partnership monies due. Of course they did, I thought to myself - Karma.
Perhaps if The Cochran Firm were not perceived as being an African American firm (wrongly, according to ex-Cochran Firm attorney Shawn Holley in her NPR interview) and if there were not so many African Americans on the Shelby County Commission at the time of Larry's death, some of the civil rights groups would assist Larry's family. However, in a world where everyone is "looking after number one," and protecting affiliations that seem most profitable, wealthy people often dodge accountability and those who are vocal against injustice get chased by cars and receive no response from Emergency 911 services. Like Duanna Johnson, the transgender woman who was murdered on November 9, my mother and I planned to sue Shelby County Jail, except our suit regarding Larry was prevented by The Cochran Firm fraud.
See videos at this link:
Can Law Firms Be Government Agencies?
My grandmother used to say, "What is done in the dark will someday come to light." The United States Department of Justice reported to Larry's family that the Shelby County Jail never reported Larry's demise while in the jail's custody, as it was supposed to do under the terms of a federal lawsuit following many abuses against prisoners. How much sense does it make that the USDOJ will not investigate this death, if that is the case? It only makes sense to me if the USDOJ is protecting the very people it should be supervising. The Shelby County Government has a long history of problems conducting itself ethically. See http://www.snpa.org/circuitcontestawards/walls-kushma.htm.
I read that hearings were conducted in federal court in 2006 to determine whether Shelby County Jail should be released from USDOJ overview. A reporter found online a Release from the USA issued to Shelby County Jail, although she was prohibited from reporting on these events. (This story is highly censored.) If true, the hearings and Release probably mean the USDOJ determined that Larry's secret arrest and unexplained death were insignificant, as well as the Jail's omission to report his death to federal overviewers according to the terms of its Agreement with the USA. Larry probably was not even worth mentioning at the hearings. He was only another mental patient, after all - and a black one at that.
My family even launched two petitions to get others to help us request an investigation. One closed in July. The second petition to the USDOJ asking for Larry to be given equal consideration to Michael Vick's dogs when they were killed is at the link below. Although I believe the law requires deaths of citizens on government property to be investigated, or at least reported, the USDOJ remains adamant: No accountability for Larry Neal. Our petition can be opened and the comments viewed without the need to sign, by selecting "view signatures." http://www.petitiononline.com/Neal/petition.html
It is high time for Americans to embrace justice for its own sake and save our democracy. People in positions of trust should act honorably and stop being so mercenary. When caught, like Gonzales may be now, perhaps it is a good idea to follow Judge Spruill's lead and "make an example" of him, even if Gonzales would likely get a presidential pardon.
Regarding private prisons, Americans should demand to see the stock portfolios of judges who issue excessive sentences, politicians who advocate for three-strikes laws, mandatory sentencing, change misdemeanor crimes into felonies, and put forth other legislation designed to increase the stock of young, able-bodied people being condemned to prison. Hundreds of thousands of non-violent young people are effectively made slaves for prison owners who use inmate labor to manufacture goods for sale through interstate commerce. Sentences like Judge Spruill’s are perceived as being illogical, but perhaps issuing excessive sentences to healthy, young people makes perfect sense – for some judges.
Injustice and abuse of power coming from people who Americans have placed in positions of trust is abominable, and it needs to CHANGE. Hopefully, with the new administration in Washington, some justice might be brought back to the United States Justice Department and to our courts.
My page http://www.care2.com/c2c/people/profile.html?pid=513396753
My group: http://www.care2.com/c2c/group/AIMI
My articles: http://my.nowpublic.com/search?fulltext=1&type=story&keys=mary+neal
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Stone Mountain, Georgia, United States