Tag Archives: DOJ

OR: Department of Corrections addresses negative audit

From the article: “The agency that manages Oregon’s inmate worker program has requested an audit of itself from the Secretary of State’s office in response to an unflattering internal report released last week that found several conflicts of interest in agency contracts.”

According to the rest of the article, there’s been a DOJ investigation into the former head of Oregon Correctional Enterprises.  The former head of OCE has accused the department of corrections of using OCE as a “slush fund,” as well as forcing OCE to hire and give raises to the son of a department deputy director.

Read more here.

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GA: Department of Juvenile Justice investigates sexual misconduct caseload

From the article: “At a meeting of the state board at the Macon Youth Development Center, officials said they have called in the GBI and the state’s Department of Corrections to help close at least 20 investigations of either sexual abuse or sexual harassment involving incarcerated youths, said Jim Shuler, the department’s communications director.”

The department has anonymous tip boxes established on housing units, as well as an anonymous tip line.  Read more here.

In Ohio, Governor Kasich formed a task force following the release of the BJS report.  The task force came up with the following recommendations for immediate action:

·         Continue the Climate Assessor initiative at each DYS facility

·         Develop effective communication methods among facility youth and staff, Central Office staff and Task Force members

·         Implement random security checks to serve as a deterrent for misconduct

·         Establish a monitoring system for supervisors who view live cameras to enhance safety and security for youth and staff

·         Develop an integrated reporting protocol to improve mandatory reporting and coordination of investigations between DYS and other state agencies

·         Enhance reporting mechanisms for both youth and staff

·         Review 2012 Activity Management System (AMS) reports to ensure that information is accurately entered

·         Develop a plan to conduct cultural assessments at all DYS facilities

·         Work with Bureau of Justice Statistics to receive a detailed summary of Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) survey information pertaining to DYS facilities

·         Review, analyze and summarize historical information and reports to better understand the context of data collected by the Bureau of Justice Statistics

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NY: Sex abuse stats skewed by law

I had been seriously wondering about why NY had looked so good in the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ recent report on sexual victimization in juvenile facilities.  And now, the truth comes out.

From the article: “It’s a meaningless statistic because state officials, citing privacy, hindered federal officials trying to survey youths raped in prisons here.”

Shame on you, NY. 

Read more here.

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GA: 20 DJJ investigators suspended after sex survey

From the article: “The Department of Juvenile Justice suspended with pay 19 investigators and the former head of DJJ’s office of investigations after it was discovered that little if anything had been done with 20 open cases into allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct between juveniles and staff.”

Georgia’s taking the BJS report seriously.

Read more here.

[Note: Edited on 6/17/13 (see below comments)]

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Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Detention Facilities

The Bureau of Justice Statistics just released a report on sexual victimization in juvenile detention facilities.  The report can be accessed here.  Ohio, my state, reportedly ranks in the top four states in the nation for reported sexual victimization.  We in Ohio have been reeling from this report.  The Governor called for an interagency task force that has begun operating.   The Ohio Department of Youth Services put out this statement (excerpt):

The safety of our youth is our top priority, and Governor Kasich has called for an interagency task force, which met yesterday and today to begin analyzing the report to make sure we have the strongest possible safeguards in place at our facilities. The anonymous survey approach used by BJS differs from the incident-based approach that states use, and the new information is important to us to make sure we are doing everything possible to protect our youth.

We are taking immediate action including assigning a Climate Assessor to reach out to staff and youth at Circleville Juvenile Correctional Facility beginning this weekend. The Climate Assessor will reach out to youth and staff and observe the institutional culture in order to report back to the task force, which will meet again on Monday. Over the next two weeks, additional Climate Assessors will be in place at all four DYS facilities.

I am incredibly shocked.  DYS just ended most of a massive piece of litigation that resulted in a greater amount of oversight and external monitor presence in the four youth facilities than possibly any other system in the nation has.  The Ohio Public Defender has an office in one of the facilities and staff regularly communicate with the youth.  Youth have access to a “Legal Assistance Program” provided by an external law firm.  The large team of court monitors that are part of the consent decree have been regularly going through the facilities on site visits.  The state’s Correctional Institution Inspection Committee has had an active presence in the facilities.  I can’t recall the specific staff-to-youth ratio in DYS, but it’s something like 4:1.  Each pod of around 20 or less youth generally has two to three staff assigned to it.  It is just unimaginable to me that sexual victimization could be regularly occurring amongst the youth (in one youth facility, 30% of youth reported victimization) and that no one would hear about this.  And yet the BJS methodology is reportedly extremely sound.  So I am just flabbergasted about this and wondering what more needs to be done to prevent sexual victimization in Ohio’s facilities.

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Justice Department Finds Pennsylvania State Prison’s Use of Solitary Confinement Violates Rights of Prisoners Under the Constitution and Americans with Disabilities Act

A lot of attention on the use of solitary confinement and administrative segregation…which is a good thing.

From the press release: “Today, the Justice Department issued a findings letter detailing the results of its investigation into the use of solitary confinement on prisoners with serious mental illness at the Pennsylvania State Correctional Institution at Cresson in Cambria County, Pa.  The department found that Cresson’s use of long-term and extreme forms of solitary confinement on prisoners with serious mental illness, many of whom also have intellectual disabilities, violates their rights under the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).”

Read more here.

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Justice: Prison Compassionate Release Programs Inconsistent

From the article: “The U.S. Bureau of Prisons lacks clear standards on when to grant compassionate release to inmates with terminal illnesses and limited life expectancies, the Justice Department’s inspector general said Wednesday.”

The poor management of the program “has likely resulted in potentially eligible inmates not being considered for release,”

Read more here.

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GA: Eight Current or Former Macon State Prison Officers Charged in Conspiracy to Assault Inmates

From the DOJ Civil Rights Division press release: “Deputy Warden James Hinton and seven former members of the Correctional Emergency Response Team (CERT) at Macon State Prison in Oglethorpe, Ga., were charged with federal civil rights, conspiracy or obstruction offenses arising out of incidents in which inmates were allegedly assaulted by officers in order to punish the inmates for prior misconduct.   The indictment alleges that former CERT members Christopher Hall, Ronald Lach Jr., Delton Rushin, Kerry Bolden, Derrick Wimbush, Kadarius Thomas and Tyler Griffin, conspired to assault inmates, and that the seven former CERT members conspired with Deputy Warden Hinton and others to cover up their misconduct by writing false reports and providing misleading information to investigators.”

I feel like this is probably such a common occurrence in American corrections that, not to take away from the DOJ, but this is a drop in the bucket.  Still, I guess these guys won’t be doing it anymore, and hopefully it serves as a warning to other staff considering the same in GA…

Read a news article with better details than the press release here.

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Justice Department Intervenes to Protect Prisoners from Life-Threatening Conditions at Orleans Parish Prison in New Orleans

From the DOJ press release: “The department seeks remedies to correct inadequate medical, mental health care and suicide prevention practices; failures to protect prisoners from physical and sexual violence; deficiencies in environmental health and safety; and inadequate language access services for Latino prisoners with limited English proficiency (LEP).”

Read more here.

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Oklahoma Inmate Sentenced for Conspiring with Jailer to Assault Another Inmate

“Phillip Oliver, 46, an inmate at the Muskogee County Jail (MCJ) was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Muskogee, Okla., to one year and a day followed by one year of supervised release for one count of conspiracy related to the orchestrated beating of a fellow inmate at the behest of a jailer on duty.”

Read more: http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2012/July/12-crt-888.html

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