Re-Blogged from January 30, 2012
“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.”
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 is 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. The 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. Call them names and humiliate 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.