War on Poverty FAILURE

At the start of the ’60s over 80% of black households were two parent homes and it was also the early ’60’s when heroin started mysteriously flooding into black neighborhoods all across the nation. This was a time when blacks were routinely denied jobs or any way to support their families. In 1964 President Johnson and the Democrats declared “War on Poverty” suddenly plenty of cash and housing became available to poor families with children and it only had one rule (besides income). “No adult male (the father) is to live in the home of family receiving aid” This rule was vigorously enforced with random unannounced home inspections. They would go through your closets and drawers looking for any sign of a man (the father) living in the home. I know this, I lived it, I remember it, as if it were yesterday. This strange lady opening my drawers looking at my stuff and my mom freaking out if her boyfriend ever left something of his at the house. This went on for over a generation. Having more children was encouraged by having no limits on the number and increasing benefits for every additional child. Marriage for young women was discouraged by the simple fact you lose that safety net and it just became a way of life. Before all this the black family was a strong one, headed by men tempered by 300 years of slavery who demanded strict discipline and control.

Johnson and the Democrats managed to break the back of the black family in a generation. The results of blacks raised without a father being self-evident.

War on Poverty By Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield

In his January 1964 State of the Union address, President Lyndon Johnson proclaimed, “This administration today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in America.” In the 50 years since that time, U.S. taxpayers have spent over $22 trillion on anti-poverty programs. Adjusted for inflation, this spending (which does not include Social Security or Medicare) is three times the cost of all U.S. military wars since the American Revolution. Yet progress against poverty, as measured by the U.S. Census Bureau, has been minimal, and in terms of President Johnson’s main goal of reducing the “causes” rather than the mere “consequences” of poverty, the War on Poverty has failed completely. In fact, a significant portion of the population is now less capable of self-sufficiency than it was when the War on Poverty began.

In fiscal year 2013, the federal government ran over 80 means-tested welfare programs that provided cash, food, housing, medical care, and targeted social services to poor and low-income Americans.

Federal and state governments spend $1 trillion in taxpayer dollars on America’s 80 means-tested welfare programs annually.

Overall, 100 million individuals—nearly one in three Americans—received benefits from at least one of these programs. Federal and state governments spent $943 billion in 2013 on these programs at an average cost of $9,000 per recipient. (Again, Social Security and Medicare are not included in the totals.)

Today, government spends 16 times more, adjusting for inflation, on means-tested welfare or anti-poverty programs than it did when the War on Poverty started. But as welfare spending soared, the decline in poverty came to a grinding halt. The more the government spends, the less progress against poverty is made.

LBJ actually declared, “We want to give the forgotten fifth of our people opportunity not doles.”[18] He claimed that his war would enable the nation to make “important reductions” in future welfare spending: The goal of the War on Poverty, he stated, would be “making taxpayers out of taxeaters.”[19] Because he viewed the War on Poverty as a means to increase self-support, Johnson proclaimed that it would be an “investment” that would “return its cost manifold to the entire economy.”

Although President Johnson intended the War on Poverty to increase Americans’ capacity for self-support, exactly the opposite has occurred. The vast expansion of the welfare state has dramatically weakened the capacity for self-sufficiency among many Americans by eroding and undermining the family structure.

When Johnson launched the War on Poverty, 7 percent of American children were born outside of marriage. Today, the number is over 40 percent. As the welfare state expanded, marriage stagnated and single parenthood soared.

The number of single-parent families with children has skyrocketed by nearly 10 million, rising from 3.3 million such families in 1965 to 13.2 million in 2012. Since single-parent families are roughly four times more likely than married-couple families to lack self-sufficiency (and to be officially poor), this unravelling of family structure has exerted a powerful downward pull against self-sufficiency and substantially boosted the official child poverty rate.

The War on Poverty crippled marriage in low-income communities. The welfare system actively penalized low-income couples who did marry by eliminating or substantially reducing benefits. As husbands left the home, the need for more welfare to support single mothers increased. The War on Poverty created a destructive feedback loop: Welfare promoted the decline of marriage, which generated the need for more welfare.

Today, unwed childbearing and the resulting growth of single-parent homes is the most important cause of official child poverty

This lack of progress in building self-sufficiency is due in major part to the welfare system itself. Welfare wages war on social capital, breaking down the habits and norms that lead to self-reliance, especially those of marriage and work. It thereby generates a pattern of increasing intergenerational dependence. The welfare state is self-perpetuating: By undermining productive social norms, welfare creates a need for even greater assistance in the future.

The effects of welfare have been horrifying.

Sources: Heritage

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Shocking Need: American Kids Go Hungry
By Kimberly Brow, ABC News

Click here for full coverage of Hunger at Home: Crisis in America

Donate here: Feeding America

One In Five American Children Go Hungry and are Malnourished

Child homelessness in U.S. hit all-time high in recent years, new report says

2.5 million homeless children in America today

40% of homeless have jobs

Homeless U.S. Veterans

Political Contributions Drove Juvenile Prison Privatization

By David Reutter

Florida is moving to privatize all of its state-run juvenile detention centers. The move comes despite allegations of abuse at two of the state’s private juvenile detention centers.

“These programs offer unique services and facilities that should be maintained. We are therefore committed to an orderly transition from public to private operation for the benefit of our employees and the youth in our care,” said DJJ Secretary Wansley Walters.

Questions abound about whether the DJJ’s quality-assurance system can guarantee the public is receiving what it pays for and whether youths are cared and treated for in a humane manner. State officials have acted to douse the fire of unconstitutional conditions by closing three youth facilities that became the focus of scrutiny of their operations.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division conducted an investigation in 2010 of the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys and the Jackson Juvenile Offender Center. Shortly after the investigation began, the DJJ closed both facilities.

That move, however, did not stop the DOJ from issuing a December 2011 report that was highly critical about not only the state’s operation of those facilities, but its oversight of them.

“The constitutional violations identified in the enclosed report are the result of the state’s failed system of oversight and accountability, which we suspect affect the entire juvenile justice system statewide,” Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez said in a cover letter to Governor Rick Scott.

Then, in September 2012 DJJ announced it was closing the Thompson Academy, which was run by Youth Services International (YSI). That announcement came only months after Gordon Weekes, the chief assistant public defender, filed a motion in state requesting the court to appoint an independent monitor to investigate Thompson Academy.

In the motion, Weekes alleged staff uses excessive force, citing an instance of a staff member breaking a juvenile’s nose and another case where a juvenile’s ankle was broken. Food quality was so poor and “minimal” that staff uses it as “currency” to reward youth for certain behaviors.

Additionally, it was alleged that staff “actively smoke” marijuana at the facility and make it available to youth.

Weekes’ motion is not the first time the Thompson Academy came under scrutiny. In October 2010, the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a class action lawsuit that included allegations of sex abuse in addition to claims mirroring those asserted by Weekes’ motion. One of the class action suit’s claims concerned a staff member forcing a 14-year-old to twice perform a sex act on him and that supervisors failed to act on the report of the incident. That suit was resolved in May 2011 in a sealed settlement.

In announcing the closure of Thompson Academy, DJJ said the decision was not based on the longstanding allegations of poor supervision or treatment. Rather, the facility’s 154 beds make it bigger than the state wishes for its juvenile detention centers to be. “Controversy in the past has nothing to do with the decision,” said DJJ spokesman C.J. Drake.

A December 2012 abuse incident at Milton Girls Juvenile Residential Facility raises a red flag about private operators. In that incident, guard Shannon Linn Abbott, 33, was arrested and charged with battery causing great bodily harm. Yet, the day after Abbott bailed out of jail, she was back on the job supervising children at the facility.

The incident was not reported to DJJ until the 15-year-old youth who was abused called a DJJ abuse hotline. Video of the incident showed that as Abbott escorted the youth, she slammed the girl face-first against a concrete wall, threw her to the ground face-first, and sat on her for more than 10 minutes.

The incident was not reported to DJJ until the 15-year-old youth who was abused called a DJJ abuse hotline. Video of the incident showed that as Abbott escorted the youth, she slammed the girl face-first against a concrete wall, threw her to the ground face-first, and sat on her for more than 10 minutes.

“The victim is not showing any signs of resisting. The victim is observed not pulling her arms away from the defendant; the victim is not attempting to strike the defendant in any manner and is compliant throughout the entire event,” the police report states.

While the youth is pinned to the floor by Abbott and another guard, several other employees walk in and out of the picture. “No one seems to be alarmed by what’s happening there. Definitely, there are issues that we need to have a serious conversation about,” said Walters.

The conversation entails turning the state-run facilities for youths over to privateers. Considering the dismal operation history, one can only wonder how the state could relinquish control of its facilities to corporations that put profit ahead of rehabilitation. Bravard’s public defender may have the answer.

“I don’t want to make this about politics,” Weekes said,” but it’s the elephant sitting in the room.”

Campaign contributions by YSI to politicians paint that elephant green.

YSI donated a total of $155,000 to politicians and political parties in Florida between 1998 and 2011. A large portion of those contributions, $65,000, was made between 2007 and 2011. Of that, $46,000 went to the Republican Party, which controls Florida’s executive branch and its legislature. YSI contributed $40,500 to candidates for office in Florida, political parties, and other committees in 2011 to March of 2012. The Republican Party received $20,000 of that money.

In closing Thompson Academy, DJJ invited YSI, the operator of seven juvenile detention centers in Florida’s to contracts worth more than $81.8 million, to bid on the facilities it plans to privatize.

“There is a danger,” said Southern Poverty Law Center attorney David Utter, “in privatizing the imprisonment of children” and awarding contracts to companies that donate heavily to politicians.

Sources: Miami Herald, publicintegrity.com, browardpalmbeach.com, Center for Public Integrity, huffingtonpost.com. 

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The Crisis of Juvenile Prison Rape: A New Report

Boycott the city of Fullerton, CA. Justice for Kelly Thomas

By Christopher R Rice

A jury has acquitted police officers Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli of the death of Kelly Thomas, a homeless, schizophrenic man who died after a violent altercation with law enforcement (see video above) in Fullerton, Calif. in 2011. Continue reading: Acquitted

1) The Kangaroo Court Prosecution of Officers Jay Cicinelli and Manny Ramos, involved in the gruesome beating, torture, and murder of Kelly Thomas is a miscarriage of justice.

2) DA Tony Rackauckas and Superior Court Judge William R. Froeberg should resign immediately.

3) Dan Hughes, Chief of Police in Fullerton, California should resign immediately.

4) Mayor Doug Chaffee, and the Fullerton City Council should step down.

Under the U.S. Constitution, the condition of being homeless or mentally-ill does not justify a kangaroo court or a fatal savage beating by government employees.

“[W]here police take matters in their own hands, seize victims, beat and pound them until they confess, there cannot be the slightest doubt that the police have deprived the victim of a right under the Constitution.” Justice William O. Douglas wrote in (Williams v. United States, 341 U.S. 97, 71 S. Ct. 576, 95 L. Ed. 774 [1951]).

Superior Court Judge William R. Froeberg runs a court of law in which the violations of procedure, precedents, and due process are so gross that fundamental justice is denied. It means that the judge is incompetent or obviously biased.

We now officially launch “Operation Fullerton”, you can expect two things.


We can no longer in good conscience trust the police, the politicians or the corporations to police themselves. Link to this article from forums and blogs. Mention it with links in your comments on blogs. PROMOTE IT.

Police should be in the communities to serve and protect not to harass and arrest. The war on drugs is really a war on the community. People are treated like insurgents in occupied territory and not citizens in need of protection. We need to address how the war on drugs has become a war on us that has caused more problems than it has solved.

The Innocence Project has helped free hundreds of wrongly convicted people from prison in the last decade, and they point to studies which estimate that between 2.3% and 5% of all prisoners in the U.S. are innocent, which suggests that roughly 46,000 to 100,000 people are currently serving time for crimes that they did not commit. Keep that in mind the next time you are tempted to believe that your innocence will protect you from prosecution.

In America it is the criminals who get promotions and bonuses, bailouts and tax breaks. The middle class gets the squeeze and the poor are either caged up or shot like dogs in the street.

We have given them every benefit of the doubt, every chance to reform, we can not in good conscience continue to wait and hope, we must act.



Protest at the Fullerton police station, city hall.

Fullerton PD: 2651 E Chapman Ave. (714) 525-5596 and 230 Dale Pl. Fullerton, CA. (714) 449-7091

Fullerton City hall: 303 W. Commonwealth Avenue (714) 738-6300

July 22

Bubbles Tasting & Brunch Event

Sun, Jul 22, 12:00pm

Vino Nostra, Fullerton, CA.

July 28

Fullerton Health & Wellness Fair

Sat, Jul 28, 10:00am

Fullerton Community Center, Fullerton, CA.

October 22-A National Day of Mourning

On October 22nd, we are all Americans, we stand as one people, one nation, without color, creed or division. We are one, we are America.


This is a call for a day of prayer and calm. To mourn the dead. This is a non-violent protest. A day of remembrance, not a day for violence.

1.) To participate we call on everyone everywhere to wear black to mourn the dead.

2.) Do not go to work, or to school or to church, as remembrance of the dead.

3.) No shopping. Do not spend one dime on October 22nd. No buses, no trains and no planes for one day to show our solidarity with those who have been murdered.

Want more?

No charges for white Nashville officer in black man’s death

No charges for officer who body slammed female student

Keith Scott killing: No charges against officer

No Charges Filed Against Off-Duty LAPD Officer, Anaheim Mayor ‘Deeply Disturbed’ By Video

No charges against officer in Jay Anderson shooting; video released

No charges against LAPD officers who shot and killed Ezell Ford, D.A. says

No charges against 2 LAPD officers in fatal downtown shooting of a woman in 2015

No charges against officer in fatal shooting of Memphis man

No charges for Tempe officer whose body cam was off during deadly shooting

No Charges for Officers in Alton Sterling Case

No Charges for Officer Who Fatally Shot Korryn Gaines

No charges for officers Tamir Rice shooting

Officer Who Killed Philando Castile Found Not Guilty

No Charges in Shooting of 13-Year-Old Andy Lopez By Sonoma County Sheriff’s Deputy

Police brutality and the use of excessive force, including police beatings, unjustified shootings and the use of dangerous restraint techniques to subdue suspects are as American as apple pie. Nothing is being done to monitor or check persistent abusers, or to ensure that police tactics in certain common situations minimize the risk of unnecessary force and injury.

Neither City councils or state legislatures seem willing to act, it has been left to the people to bring justice. How many will you let die? Well, how many? Ten more? Fifty more? A hundred more? A thousand more?

After the police manhandled and killed Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Kelly Thomas, and countless others, America’s leadership told police officers to be even more violent with us. See video below:

We live in a time when elected politicians ignore the needs of their constituents; where the judiciary and police institutions will not uphold the rights of citizens; where the media are afraid to report the truth; where lawlessness abounds and ordinary people are left unprotected and defenseless against the rapacity of a few. The answer to our dilemma is for people of courage to actively help each other. Only if we unite can we succeed. That is the only way. There is no other way.

Family violence is two to four times higher in the law-enforcement community than in the general population

Research in Brief: Officer-Involved Domestic Violence

Police Wife: The Secret Epidemic of Police Domestic Violence

Stay Informed:

Independent Media Center – Great site for news. So great that the government shut the site down for a few days to investigate and steal records.

LEAP – Law Enforcement Against Prohibition: Current and former members of law enforcement who support drug regulation rather than prohibition.

Fully Informed Jury Association –  Their mission is to inform all Americans about their rights, powers, and responsibilities when serving as trial jurors. Jurors must know that they have the option and the responsibility to render a verdict based on their conscience and on their sense of justice as well as on the merits of the law.

Cop Block– Film the police. Record the truth.

The Innocence Project– They work to exonerate the wrongfully convicted through post conviction DNA testing; and develop and implement reforms to prevent wrongful convictions. This Project only handles cases where post conviction DNA testing can yield conclusive proof of innocence.

Who’s a Rat.com – REAL LIFE – REAL PEOPLE largest online database of informants and agents.  Locate a RAT and let’s dispose of these RATS!

The Young Turks – Get The Young Turks​ Mobile App Today!
Download the iOS version here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-young-turks/id412793195?
Download the Android version here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tyt

Raise The Fist – This was the original site  shut down by our Government,  and is running again by Professor David S. Touretzky at Carnegie Mellon University.  “Mirror Site”

October 22 Coalition – Stop Police Brutality, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation!

Police-State – In A Police State Atmosphere Fascists Will Rise To The Top.

Pursuit Watch – This website for information about high speed police pursuit.

Civilians Down – This site is dedicated to the civilians killed by police officers in the United States.

Botched Paramilitary Police Raids– Locate these botched police raids in your state.

Fight Internet Censorship & Protect Online Free Expression

Tapping Officials Secrets –State FOIA laws examined.

RCFP.org – The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Great Site!

The Smoking Gun -Great site! Large collection of public documents on crimes, celebrities, politicians, and the FBI.

Prison News Blog

Live from Lockdown There are over 2 Million people incarcerated in the U.S. and recent Department of Justice numbers indicate that there are over 21,000 street gangs in the U.S. with over 700,000 active members, numbers we cannot afford to ignore. Street gangs, the War on Drugs and mass incarceration weigh heavily on American culture, mainly its cities, and impose an enormous fiscal burden upon government and taxpayers, threatening to stall the engines of American prosperity.

Solitary Watch Santa got sent to prison and Jesus got the death penalty.

ACLU For almost 100 years, the ACLU has worked to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

Tortured, Killed & Driven to Suicide: Whistleblower Exposes Abuse of Mentally Ill in Florida Prison

A shocking new exposé in The New Yorker magazine documents how prison guards at the Dade Correctional Institution in Florida have subjected mentally ill prisoners to vicious beatings, scalding showers and severe food deprivation. Journalist Eyal Press notes the guards act with near impunity since prison staff, including mental health workers, often fear reprisals for speaking out. He writes that prisons have become America’s dominant mental health institutions. The situation is particularly extreme in Florida, which spends less money per capita on mental health than any state with the exception of Idaho. We speak with Eyal Press and one of his sources, George Mallinckrodt, a psychotherapist and whistleblower who lost his job after reporting on abuse of his patients in the Dade Correctional Institution’s Transitional Care Unit in 2011.

United States: Mentally Ill Mistreated in Prison

By HumanRightsWatch

Mentally ill offenders face mistreatment and neglect in many U.S. prisons, Human Rights Watch charged in a report released today.

One in six U.S. prisoners is mentally ill. Many of them suffer from serious illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression. There are three times as many men and women with mental illness in U.S. prisons as in mental health hospitals.

The rate of mental illness in the prison population is three times higher than in the general population.

According to the 215-page report, Ill-Equipped: U.S. Prisons and Offenders with Mental Illness, prisons are dangerous and damaging places for mentally ill people. Other prisoners victimize and exploit them. Prison staff often punish mentally ill offenders for symptoms of their illness – such as being noisy or refusing orders, or even self-mutilation and attempted suicide. Mentally ill prisoners are more likely than others to end up housed in especially harsh conditions, such as isolation, that can push them over the edge into acute psychosis.

“Prisons have become the nation’s primary mental health facilities,” said Jamie Fellner, director of Human Rights Watch’s U.S. Program and a co-author of the report. “But for those with serious illnesses, prison can be the worst place to be.”

Woefully deficient mental health services in many prisons leave prisoners undertreated – or not treated at all. Across the country, prisoners cannot get appropriate care because of a shortage of qualified staff, lack of facilities, and prison rules that interfere with treatment.

According to Human Rights Watch, the high rate of incarceration of the mentally ill is a consequence of underfunded, disorganized, and fragmented community mental health services. State and local governments have shut down mental health hospitals across the United States, but failed to provide adequate alternatives. Many people with mental illness – particularly those who are poor, homeless, or struggling with substance abuse problems – cannot get mental health treatment. If they commit a crime, even low-level nonviolent offenses, punitive sentencing laws mandate imprisonment.

“Unless you are wealthy, it can be next to impossible to receive mental health services in the community,” said Fellner. “Many prisoners might never have ended up behind bars if publicly funded treatment had been available.”

The Human Rights Watch report is based on more than two years of research and hundreds of interviews with prisoners, corrections officials, mental health experts and attorneys.

It describes prisoners who, because of their illness, rant and rave, babble incoherently, or huddle silently in their cells. They talk to invisible companions, living in worlds constructed of hallucinations. They lash out without provocation, beat their heads against cell walls, cover themselves with feces, mutilate themselves until their bodies are riddled with scars, and attempt suicide.

The Human Rights Watch report documents how prisoners with mental illness are likely to be picked on, physically or sexually abused, and manipulated by other inmates, who call them “bugs.” For example, a prisoner in Georgia, who is both mentally ill and mildly retarded, has been raped repeatedly and exchanges sex for commissary items such as cigarettes and coffee.

Mentally ill prisoners can find it difficult if not impossible to comply with prison rules, and end up with higher than average rates of disciplinary infractions. Security staff – who usually lack training in mental illness – do not distinguish between the prisoner who is disruptive or fails to obey an order because of illness and a prisoner who causes problems for other reasons.

Mentally ill prisoners have been punished for self-mutilating (“destroying state property”); attempting suicide with a torn sheet (“destroying state property”); for yelling and kicking cell doors because of hearing voices (“creating a disturbance”); for throwing papers at a guard while delusional (“battery”); and for smearing feces on the cell door (“being untidy”). Untrained staff escalate confrontations with mentally ill prisoners, sometimes using excessive force. Several mentally ill prisoners have died from asphyxiation after struggling with guards who used improper methods to control them.

Over the past two decades, prison mental health services in the United States have improved – usually because of prisoner litigation. But the surging number of mentally ill men and women entering prison has outrun the availability of services. Public officials have been unwilling to provide the funds necessary to ensure adequate treatment for all the mentally ill offenders who need it.

“Prison officials are being asked to do something they aren’t equipped to do,” said Fellner. “Prisons are designed for punishment, not as places to provide comprehensive mental health treatment. If people with mental illness must be incarcerated, they should be housed in facilities designed and funded to meet their mental health needs.”

Human Rights Watch urged the U.S. Congress to enact legislation proposed by Senator Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) and Congressman Ted Strickland (D-Ohio) that would provide federal grants to divert mentally ill offenders into treatment programs rather than jail or prison, and to improve the quality of mental health services provided to jail and prison inmates.

Human Rights Watch also recommended the use of independent mental health experts to assess mental health services in each prison system, urged elected officials and the heads of correctional agencies to ensure that mentally ill prisoners receive mental health services consistent with community standards of care, and called for rules to prevent housing prisoners with mental illness in isolated confinement or super maximum security prisons.

Quick facts on over criminalization:

• Approximately 20 % of state prisoners and 21 % of local jail detainees have a “recent history” of a mental health condition.

• Approximately 26% of homeless adults staying in shelters live with serious mental illness and an estimated 46% live with severe mental illness and/or substance use disorders. • In 2012, it was estimated that 23.1 million Americans needed treatment for problems that related to drugs or alcohol.

• Pew Research finds that 67% of Americans say that the government should focus more on providing treatment for those who use illegal drugs such as heroin or cocaine. Just 26% think the government’s focus should be on prosecuting users of such hard drugs.

It’s simple. Diversion programs work better than incarceration – for everyone. In cities like Seattle, San Antonio, and Salt Lake City, we see that successful solutions are a viable option to help end serious social problems. These services alter the course of people’s lives in a positive way and save taxpayers huge amounts of money. We cannot continue to isolate and imprison people who suffer from mental illness, substance abuse, or homelessness. We must treat them with compassion and care to better serve our communities and our pocketbooks.

It’s time we got serious about pulling our money out of incarceration and putting it into systems that foster healthy communities. Hundreds of thousands of people are locked up not because of any dangerous behavior, but because of problems like mental illness, substance use disorders, and homelessness, which should be dealt with outside the criminal justice system. Services like drug treatment and affordable housing cost less and can have a better record of success.

This summer, news stories from around the nation provided the American people with a litany of issues about how police officers respond to community members. By highlighting programs like Crisis Intervention Training (CIT), Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD), and Housing First,

OverCriminalized explores the possibility of ending incarceration for millions of Americans who, through successful intervention programs, can put their lives back on track. OverCriminalized focuses on the people who find themselves being trafficked through this nation’s criminal justice system with little regard for their humanity and zero prospects for actual justice. They are victims of unwillingness to invest in solving major social problems, and the consequent handling off of that responsibility to the police, the courts, and the prisons. They are the mentally ill, the homeless, and the drug addicted. Sometimes they are all three.

The Crisis of Juvenile Prison Rape: A New Report

By David Kaiser and Lovisa Stannow

When Troy Erik Isaac was first imprisoned in California, his cellmate made the introductions for both of them. “He said to me, ‘Your name is gonna be Baby Romeo, and I’m Big Romeo.’ He was saying he would be my man.”

Troy was twelve at the time. A skinny, terrified little kid, he accepted the prisoner’s bargain being imposed on him: protection for sex. He wasn’t protected, though. Soon he was attacked and raped at night by another cellmate, a sixteen-year-old. He told staff he was suicidal, hoping to be placed in solitary confinement, but they ignored him; the rapes continued.

In 2005, the Department of Justice investigated a juvenile facility in Plainfield, Indiana, where kids sexually abused one another so often and in such numbers that staff created flow charts to track the incidents. Investigators found “youths weighing under 70 pounds who engaged in sexual acts with youths who weighed as much as 100 pounds more than them.”

Reporters in Texas, in 2007, discovered that more than 750 juvenile detainees across the state had alleged sexual abuse by staff over the previous six years. That number, however, was generally thought to under-represent the true extent of such abuse, because most children were too afraid to report it: staff commonly instructed their favorite inmates to beat up kids who complained. Even when the kids did file complaints, they knew it wouldn’t do them much good. Staff covered for each other, grievance processes were sabotaged and evidence was frequently destroyed. Officials in Austin ignored what they heard, and in the very rare instances when staff were fired and their cases referred to local prosecutors, those prosecutors usually refused to act. Not one employee of the Texas Youth Commission during that six-year period was sent to prison for raping the children in his or her care. [See: PLN, Feb. 2008, p.1].

Until now, when such stories have made it into the press, officials have been able to contend that they reflected anomalous failings of a particular facility or system. But a report released on January 7, 2010 by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) should change that. Mandated by the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA), and easily the largest and most authoritative study of the problem ever conducted, it makes clear that sexual abuse in juvenile detention is a national crisis.

This is a difficult problem to measure, since some inmates make false claims, and some, fearing retaliation even when promised anonymity, choose not to report abuse. Overall, most experts believe that the numbers such studies produce are usually too low. But 12.1 percent of kids taking the BJS survey across the country said they’d been sexually abused at their current facility during the preceding year. That’s approximately 3,220 out of the 26,550 who were eligible to take it.

The survey, however, was given only at large facilities that held youth that have been tried for some offense for at least ninety days. That’s more restrictive than it may sound. In total, according to the most recent data, there are nearly 93,000 kids in juvenile detention on any given day. Although we can’t assume that 12.1 percent of the larger number were sexually abused –many kids not covered by the survey are held for short periods of time, or in small facilities where rates of abuse are somewhat lower – we can say confidently that the BJS’s 3,320 figure represents only a small fraction of the juveniles sexually abused in detention every year.

What sort of kids get locked up in the first place? Only 34 percent of those in juvenile detention are there for violent crimes. (More than 200,000 youth are also tried as adults in the U.S. every year, and on any given day approximately 8,500 kids under 18 are confined in adult prisons and jails. Although probably at greater risk of sexual abuse than any other detained population, they weren’t included in the BJS study.) According to a report by the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission, which was itself created by PREA, more than 20 percent of those in juvenile detention were confined for technical offenses such as violating probation, or for “status offenses” like disobeying parental orders, missing curfews, truancy, or running away –often from violence and abuse at home. Many suffer from mental illness, substance abuse, and learning disabilities.

A full 80 percent of the abuse reported in the study was perpetrated not by other inmates but by staff. And shockingly, 95 percent of the youth making such allegations said they were victimized by female staff. 64 percent of them reported at least one incident of sexual contact with staff in which no force or explicit coercion was used; staff caught having sex with inmates often claim it’s consensual. But staff have enormous control over inmates’ lives. They can give them privileges, such as extra food or clothing or the opportunity to wash, and they can punish them: everything from beatings to solitary confinement to extended sentences. The notion of a truly consensual relationship in such circumstances is grotesque even when the inmate is not a child.

Nationally, however, fewer than half of the corrections officials whose sexual abuse of juveniles is confirmed are referred for prosecution, and almost none are seriously punished. Although it is a crime for staff to have sex with inmates in all 50 states, prosecutors rarely take on such cases. As children’s advocate Isela Gutierrez put it to The Texas Observer, “local prosecutors don’t consider these kids to be their constituents.” A quarter of all known staff predators in youth facilities are allowed to keep their positions.

The biggest risk factor found in the study was prior abuse. 65 percent of those who had previously been sexually assaulted at another correctional facility were also assaulted at their current one. In prison culture, even in juvenile detention, after an inmate is raped for the first time he is considered “turned out,” and fair game for further abuse. 81 percent of those sexually abused by other inmates were victimized more than once, and 32 percent more than ten times. 42 percent were assaulted by more than one perpetrator. Of those victimized by staff, 88 percent had been abused repeatedly, 27 percent more than ten times, and 33 percent by more than one facility employee. Those who took the survey had been in their facilities for an average of just half a year. In essence, the survey shows that thousands of children are raped and molested every year while in the government’s care – most often, by the very corrections officials charged with their rehabilitation and protection.

The necessary precautions to prevent this horrific treatment are clear (see the June 2009 National Prison Rape Elimination Commission Report, page 159). So far, however, reform has been slow. The Plainfield unit was converted to an adult facility after the Department of Justice investigation; nonetheless, two other juvenile facilities in Indiana were on the BJS report’s list of the thirteen worst nationally, as were two in Texas. In 2005, The Department of Justice investigated the L.E. Rader Center in Oklahoma. Although the state Attorney General’s office “refused to allow the United States the opportunity to tour the Rader facility,” investigators examining documents discovered, among other problems, rampant sexual abuse of the facility’s boys by female staff. It concluded that Oklahoma “fails to protect youth confined at Rader from harm due to constitutionally deficient practices.” But years later, Rader too is on the BJS’s list of worst facilities: 25 percent of its inmates still claim abuse by staff.

A recommendation by the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) in New York that judges avoid sentencing children to the state’s juvenile detention facilities unless they pose a significant risk to public safety has received a great deal of press lately, most recently on the editorial page of The New York Times. That recommendation followed multiple revelations of violent, neglectful, and abusive conditions – first in a Human Rights Watch report issued in 2006, then in a 2009 Department of Justice investigation, and finally in the report of a taskforce created by Governor David Paterson. Most of the abuses described in these documents were not sexual. Now, though, we are told that the problems in New York are even worse than reported. New York juvenile facilities surveyed by the BJS did not in aggregate perform markedly better than the national average. It turns out that sexual abuse is yet another crisis in the state’s juvenile detention system, as it is across the country.

Unfortunately, such abuse also goes on at appalling rates in adult prisons and jails, as we’ll discuss in an essay we are now preparing for publication: in much higher numbers than have so far been reported in the press. There are effective ways to stop sexual abuse in detention, as we’ll explain. But despite the reports by the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission and the Bureau of Justice Statistics, some important corrections leaders are fighting the necessary reforms. We’ll discuss their influence in the Obama administration’s Department of Justice, and why they are so resistant to change.

This article was published on the blog site for the New York Review of Books on January 7, 2010, and is reprinted with permission.

The Dark Secret of Juvenile Detention Centers


Thirty-two teens escaped from a Tennessee juvenile detention center late Monday night, taking advantage of an overnight shift change to leave the building before slipping underneath a chain-link fence to freedom. By the next evening, all but seven had either been caught by police or turned themselves in. “Was [the escape] a fluke? Was that planned? We don’t know yet,” said Rob Johnson, a spokesman for the state’s Department of Children’s Services. It wasn’t the first time that teens at the Woodland Hills Youth Development Center made a break for it. In May, a half-dozen escaped their bedrooms early one morning and made it to the facility’s outdoor courtyard before being convinced by staff to return to their rooms.

It’s too soon to speculate about what motivated the kids to escape. But while we await details, now is the perfect time to recount the troubling history of staff sexually abusing children in facilities like Woodland Hills. That’s not to suggest that misconduct is what motivated the kids to flee—we don’t know if it even played a role. Woodland Hills does, though, have a well-documented record of alleged sexual misconduct. This sort of abuse happens outside the country’s field of vision, behind fences and closed doors, where authorities can too easily brush aside allegations from troubled youth. That’s all the more reason to give the abuse a fuller accounting whenever news from a facility like Woodland Hills spills over (or in this case, under) its walls.

So, what has been going on at Woodland Hills? A 2010 investigation by the Tennessean found a series of allegations that had gone largely uninvestigated and unpunished by authorities. One of the facilities’ kitchen employees, the newspaper discovered, had reportedly given a 17-year-old boy chlamydia, and later lived with a different male juvenile who she had been accused of abusing while he was in the facility. The woman was cleared in four separate state investigations despite failing a lie detector test. She was ultimately convicted only after she turned herself in to police. In another case uncovered by the paper, a different female guard went on to marry a former inmate after he was released from the facility. The woman kept her job even after her marriage came to light.

Such incidents are sadly common inside our juvenile justice system. In the most recent federal survey of detained juveniles, nearly 8 percent of respondents reported being sexually victimized by a staff member at least once in the previous 12 months. For those who reported being abused, two things proved overwhelmingly true, as they were in Woodland Hills: They were teenage boys, and their alleged assailants were female employees tasked with looking out for their well-being. Nine in 10 of those who reported being victimized were males reporting incidents with female staff. Women, meanwhile, typically make up less than half of a juvenile facility’s staff.

These were not one-time occurrences. Among those who said they were abused by staff, 86 percent reported more than one incident in the previous year; 20 percent of those who reported sexual misconduct said it happened at least 11 times over that period. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics survey, the use or threat of force was present in only one in five victims. Instead, the research suggests that female guards are more likely to establish a relationship with the boys, writing them letters, giving them gifts of alcohol or even drugs, or granting them special favors to build their trust. Such activity—often called “grooming”—not only sets the stage for the abuse that follows but also makes the teens less likely to report their abusers after the victimization happens—or even to consider it abuse in the first place. Consider, nearly one in five of the victimized youth reported that they “always” made the first move, while an additional 46 percent said they “sometimes” did. Even if the teens are of age—and at least some were likely over the age of consent—that changes nothing: No one being kept in custody can consent to having sex, regardless of age or gender.

The Justice Department first documented the surprising prevalence of female staff sexually abusing male juveniles in 2010 after surveying a limited sample of detention centers and group homes. Three years later the DOJ released a second report with a broader sample, finding the same trend. While there is cautious hope that the problem will be addressed through policy changes required by the Prison Rape Elimination Act—which bans guards of the opposite gender from performing body searches or otherwise being present when a juvenile is undressed, among other things—the issue remains largely off the nation’s radar, popping up on those rare occasions when a parent of a victim contacts the press, but then quickly receding back into the darkness that so often envelops our justice system.

In that regard it is not unlike what happens in the nation’s adult prisons, where routine sexual assault among inmates is often unfairly brushed aside as simply part of the punishment. For the young males in juvenile homes, that it-happens-but-what-can-you-do-about-it attitude comes with a twist: It’s the boys who are being abused who often receive much of the blame. In an interview with ProPublica last summer, Reggie Wilkinson, a former director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, conceded there is no such thing as consensual sex in a detention center. He followed that by saying, “[T]he reality of it is that some of the guys in prison are very persuasive and some of the women are very persuasive.”

“Sadly, again and again, we still have corrections officials talking about manipulative youth,” says Lovisa Stannow, the executive director of Just Detention International, a human rights organization dedicated to ending sexual abuse in prisons and jails. “Stop and think about that: We’re talking about troubled kids who need help turning around their lives. This is not rocket science: If you are a corrections officer, you need to abide by the law.”

The attitude that these boys bear some blame, however small, is dangerous in a vacuum. It’s downright reckless when we know that 90 percent of reported incidents involve male juveniles and female guards. “That minimizing of a serious crime is really contributing to the crisis,” says Stannow, “and we are talking about a crisis here.”

Homeless U.S. Veterans

The problem of homelessness among veterans is a big one. The VA served more than 92,000 homeless veterans. With an estimated 500,000 veterans homeless at some time during the year, the VA reaches 20% of those in need, leaving 400,000 veterans without supportive services.

VA Homeless official site: VA Homeless

The vast majority of homeless veterans (96%) are single males from poor, disadvantaged communities. Homeless veterans have served in World War II, Korean War, Cold War, Vietnam War, Grenada, Panama, Lebanon, Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), Operation Iraqi Freedom, and the military’s anti-drug cultivation efforts in South America.

  • The number of homeless female veterans is on the rise: in 2006, there were 150 homeless female veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars; in 2011, there were 1,700. That same year, 18% of homeless veterans assisted by the VA were women. Comparison studies conducted by HUD show that female veterans are two to three times more likely to be homeless than any other group in the US adult population.
  • Veterans between the ages of 18 and 30 are twice as likely as adults in the general population to be homeless, and the risk of homelessness increases significantly among young veterans who are poor.
  • Roughly 56% of all homeless veterans are African-American or Hispanic, despite only accounting for 12.8% and 15.4% of the U.S. population respectively.
  • About 53% of individual homeless veterans have disabilities, compared with 41%of homeless non-veteran individuals.
  • Half suffer from mental illness; two-thirds suffer from substance abuse problems; and many from dual diagnosis (which is defined as a person struggling with both mental illness and a substance abuse problem).
  • Homeless veterans tend to experience homelessness longer than their non-veteran peers: Veterans spend an average of nearly six years homeless, compared to four years reported among non-veterans.
  • Veterans are 50% more likely to become homeless than other Americans due to poverty, lack of support networks, and dismal living conditions in overcrowded or substandard housing.
  • About 1.5 million veterans are considered at-risk of homelessness. At risk is defined as being below the poverty level and paying more than 50% of household income on rent. It also includes households with a member who has a disability, a person living alone, and those who are not in the labor force.
    • Research shows that the greatest risk factors for homelessness are lack of support and social isolation after discharge. Veterans have low marriage rates and high divorce rates; and, currently, 1 in 5 veterans is living alone. Social networks are particularly important for those who have a crisis or need temporary help. Without this assistance, they are at high risk for homelessness.
    • Nearly half a million (467,877) veterans are severely rent burdened and paying more than 50% of their income for rent. More than half (55%) of veterans with severe housing cost burden fell below the poverty level and 43% receive food stamps.
    • Approximately 45% of the 1.6 million veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are seeking disability compensation.  The average wait to get a disability claim processed is now eight months. Payments range from $127/month for a 10% disability to $2,769 for a full disability.


  1. “Vital Mission: Ending Homelessness Among Veterans,” The Homelessness Research Institute at the National Alliance to End Homelessness, Nov. 2007.
  2. “Community Homelessness Assessment, Local Education And Networking Group (CHALENG) For Veterans. The Fourteenth Annual Progress Report On Public Law 105-114. Services For Homeless Veterans Assessment And Coordination.” February 28, 2008.
  3. “Is Homelessness a Housing Problem?” Understanding Homelessness: New Policy and Research Perspectives. Fannie Mae Foundation, 1997.
  4. National Survey of Homeless Veterans in 100,000 Homes Campaign Communities, 100,000 Homes, November 2011.
  5. Veteran Homelessness: A supplemental Report to the Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, US Department of Housing and Urban Development and the US Department of Veterans’ Affairs, 2009
  6. The Center for American Progress
    http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2001/11/veterans_ day.html
  7. Sandy Leeds, lecturer, the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin.

UPDATE: Tiny homes helps homeless veterans get new lease on life By Rob Hughes, 9News

Local homeless veterans have a new lease on life and they have a new home thanks to the Veteran’s Community Project.

The local charity provides transitional “tiny homes” to homeless veterans, and there was a ribbon cutting Monday to celebrate 13 veterans moving into Veterans Village off of East 89th and Troost.

One of the veterans that got a new home was Marvin Gregory, who served in the Army. Now Gregory has a home for his kids.

“It’s a life-changing thing for me,” Army veteran Marvin Gregory said. “I’ve lived pretty hard for some years now. I have hope. They’ve given me hope. They let me know that folks still do care and you can make it.”

The ribbon-cutting was an emotional move-in ceremony. Now Gregory and the other veterans can look forward to things like starting a new career.

“I try to keep myself together, stay focused and remember what I’m made of and where I come from,” Gregory said. “I’m going to get down on my knees and say a prayer and thank God for this, because this is a really big blessing.”

The tiny homes are made possible by community donations. Veterans Community Project also provides resources to help veterans get back on their feet.

Justice Dept. Half of Sexual Abuse Claims in American Prisons Involve Guards, Study Says

By Liz Fields, ABCNews

Allegations of sex abuse across the country’s prisons are on the rise, with nearly half of cases allegedly being perpetrated by guards, according to a new study conducted by the Justice Department.

The new Bureau of Justice Statistics report documented more than 8,763 allegations of prisoner sexual victimization between 2009 and 2011, which they say is an 11 percent increase over the number of allegations documented in a report covering 2007-08.

The study found 49 percent of the unwanted sexual misconduct or harassment involved prison staff as perpetrators, in acts ranging from verbal sexual harassment to the most serious nonconsensual sexual penetration.

Related article: Pentagon: Hundreds of military kids sexually abused annually

Allen Beck, a Justice Department statistician and the study’s co-author told ABC News the increased reporting may not necessarily a reflection of an actual increase in the incidence of sexual victimization, but could in part be attributed to the Prison Rape Elimination Act (2003), which is being implemented across the country after final regulations for the act were issued in May 2012.

“It’s reasonable to believe that some of the increase may be related to the greater attention being paid to the issues as well as the better recording and reporting procedures to us,” Beck said.

The Act forces prisons to comply with standards geared toward reducing the incidence of rape and sexual victimization, a key component being the provision of multiple channels for inmates to report abuse, including the option to contact an outside entity. Facilities will also be audited for compliance with the legislation.

Previously, finding the appropriate channels to report abuse could be considered more daunting for inmates, especially if they had to be made intra-institutionally to someone working within the prison’s chain of command.

Bradley W. Brockmann, executive director of The Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights at Brown University told ABC News that although the study showed there was a rise in the number of reports of sexual abuse, those cases represented a minute fraction of the “extraordinary sexual victimization that goes on daily.”

“The biggest challenge here is that prisons are closed doors,” said Brockmann, who is also a civil rights attorney. “What happens behind those walls generally stays behind them. For somebody to speak out takes immense courage.”   Brockmann said that often when prisoners do speak out, they fear retaliation from the correctional officers.

“Ultimately unless there are witnesses — which is rare — it’s going to come down to the word of the prisoner versus officer,” he said.

This aligns with the study’s findings, which revealed that only 10 percent of sexual abuse claims were investigated and substantiated by officials, the rest being dismissed as “unfounded” or “unsubstantiated.”

Of those substantiated cases, 84 percent of female staff-on-inmate sexual contact “appeared to be willing,” compared with 37 percent of cases allegedly perpetrated by male staff, despite clear laws prohibiting any form of sexual contact between inmates and staff.

Brockmann, attributes some of those numbers to “the extraordinary vulnerability of particularly female prisoners, a disproportionate number of whom have also been victims of sexual, emotional physical abuse since childhood.

“It doesn’t take a lot of coercion to result in what might appear to be consensual act, even though no sex behind bars between staff and inmate can be consensual,” he said.

Of the fewer cases in which the sexual abuse claims against correctional officers were found to be substantiated, more than three-quarters of those officers were fired or resigned, while 45 percent were referred for prosecution and only 1 percent were actually convicted of a crime.

The survey did not break down figures between inmates of different sexual orientations, although Beck said that previous surveys on non-heterosexual and gender nonconforming inmates had revealed much higher rates of sexual victimization.

The study comes the same week as reports of a Justice Department investigation into allegations of rampant sexual abuse at Alabama’s Tutwiler Prison, where inmates were said to “universally fear for their safety” and officers allegedly forced women to engage in sex acts just to obtain basic sanitary supplies.

Brockmann said that shedding light upon and reducing sexual abuse and harassment in prisons like these remains a challenge across the country.

“We know there are hundreds of thousands of more cases out there,” he said.

“That slight increase in reporting I hope is a harbinger of things to come, that there are more individuals who feel safe or more mechanisms to report abuse and avoid retaliation.

“What will make a difference is when we see a few tens of thousands of cases reported,” he said. “That will show something.”

The reports, Sexual Victimization Reported by Adult Correctional Authorities, 2009?11 (NCJ 243904), and Survey of Sexual Violence in Adult Correctional Facilities, 2009?11 – Statistical Tables (NCJ 244227), were written by Allen J. Beck, Ramona R. Rantala and Jessica Rexroat of BJS.   The reports, related documents and additional information about BJS’s statistical publications and programs can be found on the BJS website.

NYC rape case highlights loophole that allows police to dodge sex assault charges


The 18-year-old woman was driving with two friends near Coney Island in September when the two plainclothes detectives pulled her over and found marijuana. The officers released the two male passengers, handcuffed the woman and told her she was under arrest, prosecutors say.

Then, investigators say, detectives Eddie Martins and Richard Hall repeatedly sexually assaulted her before releasing her on Sept 5. The woman went to the hospital, where prosecutors say DNA was obtained that matched both men.

According to the victim, named Anna, the officers brutally took turns raping her inside an undercover NYPD van, CBS New York reports.

But the officers have pleaded not guilty to rape and other charges, and the case has highlighted an apparent loophole in the laws of New York and many other states that may allow police to escape sexual assault charges by claiming sex acts were consensual. While New York law already bars sexual contact between corrections workers and inmates, it doesn’t apply explicitly to police.

“I was shocked,” Democratic state Sen. Diane Savino said of when she learned of the oversight. “It should be clear across the state for officers from every department, that when someone is in custody they do not have the ability to consent to sexual activity.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is part of a bipartisan push to close what the Democrat calls “an egregious loophole” with legislation that would make it clear that people in police custody cannot give consent. A bill has already passed the state Assembly and was pending in the Senate.

The case underscores a chronic problem that was documented in an Associated Press investigation in 2015 that found about 1,000 officers across the country had lost their badges in a six-year period for rape, sodomy and other sexual assault. That total didn’t even include New York or California because those states didn’t track the number of officers fired for such offenses.

Bowling Green State University criminal justice Professor Philip Stinson has studied sexual misconduct by police around the country and confirmed such loopholes exist in many state laws.

But he cautioned that the legislation in New York might create new loopholes. Citing cases in which officers requested sexual favors in exchange for dropping a ticket or the threat of arrest, Stinson said motorists or pedestrians stopped by police are still under the power of the officer even though they haven’t been formally arrested or detained.

But laws are needed, he said, as are internal department policies and programs that make it easy and safe for victims to file complaints. A study released two years ago reviewed policies of 35 policy departments and found that only about half had rules relating to sexual misconduct by officers.

In New York City, for example, a police watchdog group announced just this past week that it will begin investigating allegations of sexual misconduct by officers. Previously, such allegations were handled internally by the department.

Stinson said his research shows that the small minority of officers who engage in sexual misconduct often target drug addicts, sex workers, children, young women or others that they believe will be too frightened to come forward.

“It’s the most vulnerable girls and women – and sometimes teenage boys and men – that I worry about,” he said. “The ones who are perceived by officers as being throwaways.”

In New York, the two detectives resigned from the department before they were to face an administrative proceeding that could have resulted in their firing. Their criminal trial has yet to begin. Martins’ attorney Mark Bederow wouldn’t talk about the defense, but stopped short of saying his client denied all contact with the woman.

“The allegation that there was any non-consensual sexual activity is patently false,” he said. John Arlia, who represents Hall, didn’t respond to calls.

NYPD ‘tried to bully teenage girl into dropping rape claims against officers while she was in hospital’

By Hannah Lawrence

The woman claims nine policemen visited her and her mother at Maimonides Medical Centre in Brooklyn, New York, where she was being treated for the rape, and tried “to discourage them from coming forward” with the story, according to her attorney. Continue reading: NYPD