There’s a huge difference between justice that punishes and justice that restores.
Disregarding any of these areas short-circuits our criminal justice system.
There’s a huge difference between justice that punishes and justice that restores.
Disregarding any of these areas short-circuits our criminal justice system.
This subject is a hard one to write about. This is not a topic that is liked nor tolerated and all for good reasons. We must protect our communities and our citizens. This topic has unbelievably found its way into the stage-coach with the gold. I will be lenient in saying that there may good and well be those politicians that do not completely understand what has been happening in this field and really feel that they are protecting the citizens. As for other politicians they know exactly what they are doing and this just puts more funds into the coffer.
I am talking about the notorious “Sex Offender” label. I am not soft on crime. I have worked with DOC and I have testified in courtrooms for both prosecutors and for defense attorneys. I have helped to sentence and I have helped to defend. I have sat on a jury and yes, we found the defendant guilty. I believe in being held accountable. I believe in having a safe community. The “Sex Offender” label has gotten way out of hand. This is not what it was originally intended for. This label is to help us, the community to know who is really dangerous, who could be a threat to us or our children. When that label is passed out frivolously we lose the seriousness of it by making all incidents seem that they are of major concern. Example: Teenage couples engage in sex…the young man is charged and then labeled an offender. If this law was mandated lets say 60 years ago…just how many sex offenders would there be today? Then there are the lesser crimes that are not taken into consideration. Those that have had no prior criminal history and a one time incident that would have been inappropriate touch turns out to be a felony of “Sexual Assault.” I had a public defender tell me that if I were in a crowded bar and a man were to touch me as he is standing there in a place that I feel is inappropriate or bumps into me accidental but I feel is still inappropriate I can press charges for “Sexual Assault” because that is how I perceived it. This is not the real meaning of “Sexual Assault.” If this was mandated in the last 60 years how many “Sex Offenders” would we have?
Now we have thousands upon thousands of sex offenders that we are scrutinizing. Some that are labeled for ridiculous reasons. While we are trying to keep track of so many we lose sight of the dangerous ones that could re-offend or even those that do not have a label. This is a false sense of security. It also causes major problems for those that are labeled for the rest of their life or for what the sentence allows as it is hard for them to find jobs, hard to find a place to live, hard to support their families. Where do you expect these people to go? Read this article from Bozeman, MT:
You may be wondering at this point what this has to do with politics or money. Let me show you a few statistics and refresh you from an earlier subject.
“About 34 percent of Montana’s current prisoners were convicted of sexual crimes, according to statistics compiled by Blair Hopkins, a therapist who treats sexual offenders in the state prison. Of those, more than 90 percent are undergoing or are waiting to begin intensive sexual offender treatment.” *Source Bozeman Daily Chronicle
That states 34 percent. That is a very large number. We discussed the prisons for profit. We discussed the parole board not letting many out on parole. Let’s take one more step down the trail that leads to revenue. We discussed that once they are out on parole by their very own figures 94% return back to prison because of technical violations, not for breaking the law. What better way than to have that many labeled sex offenders, that once paroled, with as hard as it is to find a place that will allow them to live there, to find a job that will hire them are unable to report or register as they are commanded to do. Probation officers are then violating them and sending them back. The same inmates are being recycled for profit. The short time while they are on parole they have to pay a fee. They also have to pay a fee to take the mandated classes. Those classes can take up to 10 years to finish. If they are not finished they end up in prison again. Cha-ching, Cha-ching.
Then you have those that have been railroaded based on “hearsay” with no evidence. In these classes you have to admit complete guilt that is described on your DOC record from the county attorney. Those that are innocent are not going to want to do that. They then cannot pass the class nor be let out of prison. I have seen this first hand. I have documents that back this up. I have seen county attorneys accept a plea bargain that states one way in court transcripts but then in the media and DOC records they have added more to the plea bargain. Too many cases like that. I have seen where they tell a defendant that they have to be a registered sex offender but then after the sentencing find out via the media that it was not court mandated by law. It is something that the county attorney put together. Yes, the public defender had lied and did not tell the truth about the law. No matter how hard they try the defendant cannot get anyone to correct the records. That my friends is a group of outlaw cowboys when you cannot find anyone to help you. I find the statistics and all of the same allegations of foul play and records that prove that some of these are innocent but they are all found guilty anyway extremely disturbing! What if someone falsely accuses you? What if your spouse is falsely accused? What if your teenage son or daughter is falsely accused? What do you do when the system is tainted? Again, pray that they never want to use you or any member of your family for their gain.
Over to the right of the page is a Resource Column. Please take the time to look through and read the articles. Education about a problem subject is the best way to bring about change.
Sometimes when I think how good my book can be, I can hardly breathe.— Truman Capote
Remember how I said that the cowboys have found other creative ways to find gold? Now is the time to mozy on down that lane to where some of their hidden treasure is.
“Year after year, the big kahuna in state spending is human services — and Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s proposed budget makes no exception here, with substantial increases in Medicaid, the state-federal program that pays medical bills for the poor.”
Our laws date back to 1912, and were passed in response to Copper Kings who tried to buy the entire state government with bribes.
“The ruling by the Montana Supreme Court in Western Tradition Partnership, Inc. v. State of Montana is a ray of hope for American election law. During the 1910 elections, giant industries descended on Montana and spent huge sums of unregulated, undisclosed money, as much as $6 million, to elect Republican legislative candidates. The result was the most lopsided election in Montana history.” *Source sunlightfoundation.com. Now this article only stated the Republicans but Democrats too have used this in a different way under a different guise. So far I have shown you CCA Prison which funds money to political campaigns and politicians fund them inmates. Now, let’s discuss the federal money that is funded to the state. You may ask why I feel this is disturbing, what problem can there be with Medicaid when it is needed? What happens when you are talking about millions and millions of dollars that is being funded into the Montana system the way Medicaid is? Medicaid is used for various programs in the state that supplies many jobs and funding that the state then can use at its own discretion. If something rocks the boat the money falls out. What do these cowboys do when this happens?
With all of these ingredients so far, add this into the mix, when a state department is receiving millions of dollars of funding that they can lose or have lost (Medicaid) . It looks good for DOJ to look like they are really doing something by making an example of certain cases. They find a scapegoat who they can convict and that person becomes a “poster child” and they get their funding or have it re-installed. This shows the federal government that they are complying with their terms while making a few changes that are only superficial. Changes that are not bringing change. This then has a two-fold purpose, they are making the federal government happy thinking that changes have been implemented and at the same time it looks real good for election time. The community believes what the DOJ (county attorney) says and we think “wow they are really tough on crime and keeping us safe!” The whole thing is a show, not caring at all about the person they railroaded and sacrificed for their money. No one knowing the real crime that is being committed by these cowboys, locking people away all for the sake of money. Judges taking bribes, evidence that is tampered with, departments doing their own internal investigations who are not the law. Trumped up charges, without evidence but just enough legal leeway to suggest that “he say – she say” can and will convict you. Laws that have been created that gives them the freedom to get away with what they want. Some of our community people have fought this and received the hard time that they were warned about. Others are scared and knows what can happen as they have seen it done and plea bargain. Which then DOJ in Montana proudly goes around and states that the person admitted to guilt. When all different levels of departments are involved how does a person stand a chance? How would you stand a chance?
You may wonder how I would know this and where would I get my information. This is what ripped my rose-colored glasses off and made me see the corruption. That cowboys today are no different from back in 1912 when they made it the law about big corporations and funding. There may be a law that looks good to the people but the funding is still happening. I sat in meetings, I sat in courtrooms, I watched this happen, I researched, but I also have internal documents that expose it.
Just pray that they never want to use you as an example for their own political gain or to receive financial funding.
I gave you a scenario how prisons and states can profit from prisons but how does it feel in real life? There are more people than you realize who want to speak up and be heard. It’s hard to hear one small voice. But when you have many voices you can’t help but to be heard.
Inmates Speak Out At Montana State Prison, Deer Lodge: http://citizensforclive.org/articles-links/montana-inmates-speak-out-at-msp
Inmate Speaks Out Desperate Plea For Medical Help: http://montana.watchdog.org/2011/12/19/inmates-hernia-dilemma-comes-to-attention-of-state-officials/
There are so many websites on the internet that talk about the corruption in Montana that all you have to do is type in a few key words and it will pull all sorts of articles up. This is not something that is new apparently and I do not need to give more websites from years past. When are the good people of Montana going to stand up and do something? Or is Montana proud of the ole cowboy outlaws that terrorize people? I have seen so many articles where it states “there is an atmosphere of fear.” MONTANA SPEAK UP! This is the time to turn the tide with elected officials and clean up this mess.
This website is Families Against Mandatory Minimums and is for Montana. http://www.famm.org/StateSentencing/Montana.aspx
Here is just a little fun fact link. Famous Cowboy Names – Legends Of The Old West. http://www.jimwegryn.com/Names/Cowboys3.htm
“As Governors deliver their January State of the State addresses, the fiscal lamentations can be heard across the land. Then there’s Montana, where Governor Brian Schweitzer this week ordered a 5% across the board cut in state agency spending. (Montana prides itself of having a surplus of $40 million.) In 2007 he offered a $400 per homeowner property tax cut. The former rancher and businessman has also cancelled low-priority renovations and decorations on state buildings, cut state agency travel budgets by 35% in favor of video conferencing, and nearly eliminated state printing costs by posting state documents online. He’s vetoed more than 30 spending bills and has been one of the loudest critics of the pork projects that have been funded with federal stimulus money.”
Wall Street Journal
Here is a tweet from the Governors Twitter account: Montana ends fiscal year with $340M in the bank. apne.ws/oDDW2v
With all the corruption going on with the prison system why not take the surplus and see what needs to be done.
I have people asking me how a prison or how a state or even how can a community profit from prisons. So I’m going to give a little scenario here…….
Let’s put it this way. Someone makes an accusation about you. It’s not true. But the police, DOJ, DCI, DOC and other departments can talk with other people and they all of a sudden become so called…”witnesses.” Then the charges get trumped-up to more. Now you have 6 or 7 charges against you. You are sitting there with a public defender…and a cohort of his or hers…they tell you in no uncertain terms that you are not going to get a fair trial and now you are looking at 40 years to life. NO FAIR TRIAL!! Then they tell you in your best interest that you need to plea bargain. There is no evidence, no positive DNA, NO nothing! But they have stacked it against you. If you go to jury trial they know that a jury will convict on at least 1 charge or count. I’ve been on a jury, I have a family member that has been on 5 juries and has been foreman. After sitting there you begin to think…..”Well, this person can’t be innocent of everything or they wouldn’t be here.” Then if you plea bargain they sentence you based on “hearsay” or “maybe”. Our law was never set up that way!
So they find you guilty on 1 charge that can carry 40 years to life. Here you are innocent. The judge gives the maximum. You go to prison. Now the prison starts making money. They make it through vending machines, phone calls, commissary, inmates families. We are not talking a bit of money. We are talking about millions! They in turn give financial funding to politicians that help increase the prison population to ensure they keep their jobs as politicians and gain more power in their field. Then you have jobs for that community because more jobs are needed to house that many inmates. They also get state funding through Medicaid and other incentives…that you the taxpayer are paying for. Then within the prison you have (real scenario) a DOC employee that needs wood to burn for one of the native religious groups. He orders a cord of wood that would cost $100.00 but the company HE orders from it costs $800.00. The wood company gets a profit, the DOC employee gets a kickback the prison is also included and they get a kickback. Now imagine that scenario in every field of operation it takes to run a prison. And I mean EVERYTHING!! Now, you are worth more to the system with you being in prison. People are making money off of you and your family. They change rules like the wind and they confiscate your belongings. They give your belongings to other guards or sell it in the prison hobby program to make more money. Here in Montana the Parole Board answers to no one. They are demeaning to the inmates. Calling them names and humiliating them over any little thing. Sooooo ..you did your time even though you are innocent, you are ready to go before the Parole Board….60% do not get approved on the first time. Irregardless how good they were. 72% are eligible for parole but never get looked at. You finally get out on parole…….after much frustration from the get go. 94% are sent back to prison on a technicality, not on breaking the law. That is unheard of…..but that is because they are making more money by you being in prison than not. It’s a win/win for all levels of people who are involved……but not for you the inmate or the inmates family.
Tell me if you see something wrong with this picture. A public defender here in Montana has 6 years under his belt. But he has never stepped inside of a courthouse to defend one defendant. Why? Because he successfully got every single one to plea bargain. Are you telling me that not one person was not guilty? Did not even stand a trial? Now take that one public defender and make it several more to where the ACLU had to step in and sue the system to try to get it changed for these people. It is still a problem. Both the ACLU and the Innocence Project are trying to fight this!! http://www.aclu.org/files/FilesPDFs/mt_indigent_1.pdf
Montana Public Defenders office got 27,664 new cases in last fiscal year, Law and Justice committee stated.
Now, I know this article looked really honorable to many people. It would unless you are actively aware of what is happening in the justice system of Montana.http://sunlightfoundation.com/blog/2012/01/17/citizens-united-montana-fights-back/
Yes, it looked like Attorney Steve Bullock fought a huge win against shadow political groups. Unfortunately as you have seen there are so many other ways to get corporate funding. Instead of going through the front door you can turn and go around through the back door. That is what is happening with millions of dollars in Montana. Recall the latest news article of http://montana.watchdog.org/2012/01/18/8189/ where David Gallik resigns as State’s Political Practices Commissioner.
This article is even more disturbing http://www.treasurestatepolitics.com/tag/brian-schweitzer/.
CCA Prison (Big Corporation) contributed to Governor Brian Schweitzer’s campaign in the last election. Now what happened to that whole transparency thing of not accepting Big Corporate money for elections?
Don’t think that the cowboys of Montana haven’t found other creative ways to find gold. Trust me, they have. Financial funding comes in many forms. So cleverly disguised. I will continue that subject in another blog.
Once bitten by a snake, he/she is scared all his/her life at the mere sight of a rope. Chinese Proverb
Beautiful view of the mountains as you are on your way to prison at Deer Lodge, Montana State Prison.