Below you see the very ideals of Mao playing out in CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA. Convict reform centers on labor-----re-education centers on vocational K-career college----and forced job placement comes with today's VOCATIONAL TRACKING WITH TESTING STARTING AT PRE-K---PARENTS AND STUDENTS HAVE NO CHOICE ON THIS TRACKING. This has been installed these several years of Obama especially in very neo-conservative cities like Baltimore. We are seeing with global corporate campuses loss of choice in jobs----we are told where we will work and what education must be taken to get there. THIS IS THE MIRROR OF MAO'S CHINA.
Once citizens understand this they can visualize how the rest of Mao's reign of terror may play out because it takes fear, militarized policing, and imprisonment for a 2% of the 1% to bring 99% of Chinese----or now Americans ----down to subjects with no freedom.
You see the same YOUTH LEADERSHIP EDUCATION CENTERS as in Baltimore where all youth are indoctrinated to this Wall Street/Johns Hopkins policy stance with no other political voices allowed. We are seeing the focus on drug/rehabilitation centers, and post-imprisonment re-entry centers.
This is the entirety of Baltimore's public education.
'the Laogai system consists of three distinct types of reform: convict labor (Laogai), reeducation through labor (Laojiao), and forced job placement (Jiuye)'.
Administrative detention facilities in which inmates are forced to labor and endure political indoctrination include legal education centers, drug rehabilitation centers, and custody and education centers.
This article shows Mao's destruction of the Chinese culture just as today Wall Street and global pols are moving to destroy American society. I have black and brown friends who think this is a step towards killing white Western culture but it is not---it is simply a stage of massive brutalization tied to shaking people's ideas of freedom, choice, free will, right and wrong out-----and install this total commitment of people to their work and the corporation. If you look at today's Asian nation citizens---South Korea, China, Singapore, Malaysia----they have all undergone this RE-EDUCATION and destruction of their national cultures.
IT TAKES A GREAT DEAL OF MILITARIZATION AND MULTIPLE LEVELS OF IMPRISONMENT TO BEAT A PERSON'S SENSE OF SELF.
The Laogai System: China’s vast system of prisons and detention facilities in which inmates are forced to labor and endure Communist Party political indoctrination.
Named after the historical laogai labor camp, which was the original prison camp system established by Mao Zedong in the early 1950s, the term “Laogai System” highlights the historical continuity of Communist Party criminal and administrative detention practices. Despite undergoing cosmetic changes, the ideology and purposes underpinning the Laogai System remain the same: to maintain the Communist Party’s monopoly on power through detaining convicted criminals and those deemed disruptive to political stability in an effort to transform them to conform to socialist ideals through forced labor and political indoctrination. As maintaining the political supremacy of the Communist Party through expediently administering punishment serves as a core function of the Laogai System, procedures used to convict detainees often fall short of international standards proscribing arbitrary detention. In addition to neutralizing potential sources of instability, throughout history, the Laogai System has provided free prison labor to construct public works projects, produce consumer goods, enrich Communist Party officials, and arguably enhance the price competitiveness of Chinese exports.
Communist Repression With Chinese Characteristics
The Laogai System’s emphasis on political indoctrination and forced labor is rooted in historical Chinese penal philosophies and communist revolutionary ideology. In line with Mencian and Confucian philosophies, Chinese penologists have long held that criminality springs from ignorance. According to this view, authorities could significantly reduce or even eradicate anti-social behavior by teaching ordinary citizens proper behavior and reforming criminals through education. During the Republican era, as the Nationalist government sought to modernize Chinese criminal detention practices, authorities established a nationwide prison system modeled after Western penal institutions but adapted to accommodate traditional Chinese criminal justice philosophies. The concept of ganhua, a term connoting moral transformation, served as the fundamental guiding principle of these early prisons. The philosophy underlying ganhua had three essential components: forced labor, moral instruction, and basic education. As Republican penologists believed that idleness and ignorance bred criminality, it followed that authorities could reduce recidivism by forcing inmates to perform productive labor and attend lectures. After 1949, the communists abandoned the Republican era prison project in favor of the labor camp; outdoor agricultural colonies that could better accommodate the massive influx of prisoners following “liberation.” Despite repudiating traditional Chinese philosophies and customs, the communists essentially cloaked the concept of ganhua in new political garb. However, rather than merely aiming to reduce recidivism, the communists sought to transform labor camp inmates into “new socialist men.”
KEEP IN MIND----THE GOAL OF 1% WALL STREET LIBERTARIAN MARXISTS IS TO TAKE ALL AMERICANS DOWN TO THIS OVERSEAS WAGE SCALE---AND THEY ARE CALLING IT MARXISM. THEY STILL HAVE ALL THE WEALTH----THE 99% LIVES LIKE CHINESE UNDER MAO.
The Laogai System is also deeply rooted in communist revolutionary ideology aimed at building a classless society through using labor camps to overcome resistance from capitalists or landowners who may oppose the nationalization of the means of production. In 1875, Karl Marx proposed establishing institutions that would transform deviants into benevolent citizens by forcing them to engage in “productive labor” under “non-exploitative” conditions. Felix Dzerzhinsky, Lenin’s security chief, implemented this concept in the 1920s by establishing the Gulag, the term used to describe the Soviet Union’s vast system of labor camps. Hardly unique to the Soviet Union and China, communist regimes throughout the world have established labor camps as fundamental components of their criminal justice systems.
Even during the Republican era, Chinese government officials--many of whom were hostile toward the Chinese Communist Party--increasingly looked to the Soviet Union’s Gulag as a viable alternative to the country’s overcrowded and inefficient prison system. In the 1930s, the Nationalist government experimented with the Soviet model by establishing agricultural colonies loosely modeled after the Gulag. When Mao took power in 1949, the communists naturally invited Soviet specialists to assist them in establishing the Laogai System.
Laogai By Any Other Name
The Laogai System was originally comprised of two types of labor camps: the laogai and the laojiao. The ‘laogai’ (reform through labor) camp was a form of criminal punishment established to punish convicted defendants, whereas the ‘laojiao’ (reeducation through labor) camp was a form of administrative punishment designed to incarcerate so-called class enemies and petty criminals without the time and evidentiary burdens of a trial. Although laogai sentences theoretically carried a fixed term, laojiao inmates originally served terms of indefinite duration. In 1979, however, authorities limited laojiao sentences to four years, the maximum term of confinement until the system was formally abolished in 2013. In response to pressure to abolish reform-through-labor, authorities ostensibly ended the laogai labor camp in 1994 by changing the name of these camps to ‘prisons.’
Although the Communist Party nominally ended the laogai labor camp and recently formally abolished the laojiao labor camp, the fundamental structure of the Laogai System remains intact: the Party still operates a network of prison factories for convicted criminals and administrative detention facilities for non-criminal offenders in which inmates are forced to perform arduous labor and undergo intense political indoctrination. Administrative detention facilities in which inmates are forced to labor and endure political indoctrination include legal education centers, drug rehabilitation centers, and custody and education centers.
Following the abolition of laojiao, the Party announced its intention to create “community correction centers.” Official state media reports indicate that inmates in these facilities will be forced to labor and endure political indoctrination. Establishing community correction centers as a replacement for laojiao mirrors the Party’s historical practice of closing politically problematic Laogai System detention centers in favor of relying on alternative arbitrary detention facilities where inmates are forced to labor and undergo Communist Party political indoctrination.
The Party also uses other extrajudicial methods of intimidating and detaining individuals deemed disruptive to political stability. Such practices include confining people in “black jails” and psychiatric hospitals. Although inmates in these facilities are often detained for long periods of time and reportedly tortured, they are typically not forced to labor, which means these jails are not properly classified as part of the Laogai System.
Although the Chinese government classifies the number of inmates in its prison and administrative detention facilities as a state secret, the Laogai Research Foundation estimates that the Laogai System is currently comprised of over one thousand detention facilities in which millions of individuals are imprisoned. Since its inception, we estimate that over fifty million people have been incarcerated in the Laogai System.
To move the US from a social Democracy with strong public institutions protecting our rights as citizens to what we have today------a capture of both political parties by global Wall Street corporate colonizers REAGAN/CLINTON had to create systemic unemployment to impoverish most Americans and then have this massive prison system to keep lives of the poor in constant instability----while corporations were still paying taxes through 1980s----2000s they are not anymore. Sending those taxes to for-profit prisons maximized profits but now they do not need prisons----they have reduced people to simply needing any job. Now they are building forced labor into global corporate campuses and global factories.
'INCARCERATION WITHOUT THE BURDENS OF A TRIAL'.
NO NEED FOR PRISONS FOR PETTY CRIMES AND POLITICAL PRISONERS.
'whereas the ‘laojiao’ (reeducation through labor) camp was a form of administrative punishment designed to incarcerate so-called class enemies and petty criminals without the time and evidentiary burdens of a trial. Although laogai sentences theoretically carried a fixed term, laojiao inmates originally served terms of indefinite duration'.
Below we see the steps towards just this. Prisoners are released and hooked with prisoner-release programs tied to JOB TRAINING, JOB TRAINING, JOB TRAINING......volunteerism.....internships that will seem to never end. We are made to think this is a softening of criminalization when it is simply building a structure for forced labor.
OK, So Who Gets to Go Free?
1.4k 211 Everyone wants to reduce America’s prison population. Now comes the hard part.By Leon Neyfakh
Is he violent or not?
Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Thinkstock.
It has become conventional wisdom that America’s prisons are too full, and prominent elected officials on both sides of the aisle have expressed enthusiastic support for reducing the number of Americans behind bars. Of course, different politicians have different ideas about how to pursue this goal. Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, have proposed legislation that would make prison sentences shorter, by loosening mandatory minimum laws and giving judges more leeway in doling out punishment. Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Sheldon Whitehouse, D–Rhode Island, are pushing to allow more inmates to leave prison early by going through rehabilitation programs.
Leon Neyfakh Leon Neyfakh is a Slate staff writer.
One thing all these reform-minded lawmakers seem to agree on is that the beneficiaries of a more lenient criminal justice system should be strictly limited to nonviolent offenders—people who were convicted of drug offenses, property crimes, and other low-level felonies. The Lee-Durbin bill, for instance, would affect only nonviolent drug offenders while the Portman-Whitehouse proposal explicitly excludes violent offenders. At the state level, meanwhile, we’re seeing more lenient policies for drug and minor property offenses, according to Stanford Law School professor Joan Petersilia, but violent offenses “aren’t being touched, in the main.”
In light of this, experts on America’s prison system are beginning to sound an alarm: If reform-minded politicians continue to limit the prison-reduction discussion to nonviolent offenders and refuse to take up the more difficult work of re-evaluating harsh sentencing policies for people convicted of more serious crimes like armed robbery, rape, and murder, then the country’s prison population will never fall very far.
“Violence is a much more capacious legal category than most people assume.”
Jonathan Simon, director of the Center for the Study of Law & Society at the UC–Berkeley“Lots of people think that 80 percent of the people who are locked up are there for low-level drug offenses, and that’s not even close to being true,” Marc Mauer, the executive director of the Sentencing Project, a nonprofit that advocates for reducing the prison population, told me this week. “Half the people in state prisons today have been convicted of a violent offense. That’s what they’re serving time for,” he said. “There’s going to be an inherent limitation on how much of a reduction in incarceration we can achieve if we’re not even considering them.”
You might be wondering, quite reasonably: Why would we even want to prevail over that “inherent limitation”? Yes, too many Americans are in prison. But prisons exist for a reason—to remove violent criminals from the streets and to punish them for the violence they’ve committed.
Here’s the thing, though: It turns out the line between “violent offenders” and “nonviolent offenders” is a lot harder to draw than you might think.
“A significant number of people who have been convicted of violent offenses aren’t violent people,” said Joe Margulies, a visiting professor of law and government at Cornell University who is working on a book about criminal justice reform. “People who never hurt anyone, who never confronted a victim, can nevertheless be convicted of violent crimes.”
This might seem strange, but there are criminal statutes all over the country that routinely result in defendants being classified as “violent” in the eyes of the law even though most people would never describe their deeds that way. Many crimes are legally considered violent “even if no force is used, let alone injury suffered,” said Jonathan Simon, the director of the Center for the Study of Law & Society at the University of California in Berkeley, in an email. He added, “violence is a much more capacious legal category than most people assume.”
One example of a crime that’s legally defined as “violent” in many states even though it doesn’t necessarily involve any actual violence is illegal gun possession. Other examples include burglarizing an occupied dwelling or serving as a getaway driver while someone else commits an armed robbery. Statutory rape stemming from consensual sex between an adult and a minor is also typically classified as a violent offense.
Perhaps the best illustration of how a not-necessarily-violent person can be found guilty of a violent crime involves “felony murder.” In many states, you can be convicted of felony murder for having been present when someone you are affiliated with committed a homicide, even if you never touched a weapon, let alone actually killed someone. Critics of “felony murder” laws argue that while you may well deserve to go to prison for being part of such a crime, you don’t deserve the same label as the trigger man.
“Tens of thousands of people in California are serving life sentences for this crime,” said Petersilia, who is the co-director of the Stanford Criminal Justice Center and a member of the Department of Justice Scientific Advisory Board. “If you’re at a party and gang activity breaks out and someone gets shot, all the people who were there—everyone who came with that person who did the shooting, or was part of their gang—can then be convicted of felony murder.”
It seems clear, then, that there are many people serving time for violent offenses who haven’t actually committed violent acts and might be good candidates for reduced sentences. That might sound like good news for reformers, but Petersilia points out that the flaws in the violent/nonviolent labels run both ways:
Many offenders who are labeled “nonviolent” actually did commit violent crimes but were able to negotiate for lesser charges in exchange for pleading guilty.
“They’re not clean labels,” said Petersilia. “And it’s a very, very serious problem, because we are downsizing prisons based on these categories. Legislation is being based on these categories that don’t reflect the seriousness of the offender.”
The basis on which we’re deciding who should and shouldn’t be a beneficiary of decarceration is thus fundamentally flawed. So what would be a better approach? Some experts, including Petersilia and Margulies, believe in using so-called risk assessment tools to determine how dangerous individual inmates really are. These tools, which have long been used by parole boards to decide who can be safely let out of prison, come in many different forms, but the basic idea is to use a variety of facts about the offender’s criminal history, mental health status, and prison record to statistically predict whether he or she is likely to commit crime in the future.
Margulies says that when you use risk assessment tools, and take seriously their ability to predict future behavior, you are disabused of the idea that “someone who was convicted some years ago of a violent offense is by definition a violent person.” Many inmates serving time for violent crimes are, for a variety of reasons, unlikely to be dangerous if they are released back into society, whether it’s because they were never violent in the first place, or because the recidivism rate for certain violent crimes is actually exceedingly low, or simply because the inmate has grown older—a significant factor because people are known to age out of crime.
If our goal is to separate dangerous offenders from not-dangerous ones, Margulies added, using the most sophisticated risk assessment tools out there lets us do that in a much more nuanced way than by simply looking at an offender’s crime of conviction. (Of course, a strong argument can be made that the purpose of prison isn’t only about keeping potentially dangerous people off the street—it’s also about punishment and deterrence. Just because an inmate is found to be a low risk for recidivism doesn’t necessarily mean he should be granted leniency.)
So far, as Dana Goldstein at the Marshall Project documented in an excellent article Wednesday morning, there is an understandable resistance among politicians, particularly on the right, to extending reform efforts to violent offenders. That represents a serious obstacle to some of the more ambitious reform goals advocates are talking about, like reducing America’s prison population by 50 percent within 10 or 15 years. If releasing violent offenders is politically impossible, the best hope for successful reform might be redefining whom we deem violent in the first place.
The corruption of US city mayors came from CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA ERA Tammany Hall politics where candidates for office were recruited for their propensity to do what WALL STREET BALTIMORE DEVELOPMENT AND A VERY,VERY, VERY NEO-CONSERVATIVE JOHNS HOPKINS told them. This corruption came from Wall Street/the FED/Congress----as policies were passed that moved the fraud----such as the subprime mortgage frauds and now the US Treasury and bond market frauds. Yes, the mayors AIDED AND ABETTED these crimes coming from Congress, then Maryland Assembly----but they were in the position of stopping these crimes if they were not already SHOW ME THE MONEY WALL STREET PLAYERS ready to do what the development corporations told them.
Above we saw the Chinese Libertarian Marxism created many levels of forced labor and broadened who was now without rights ----INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY----political prisoners. I have shouted these several years that the 5% to the 1% who aided and abetted all these crimes would lose all that wealth and be thrown under the bus with all those they betrayed as elected officials and below you see this happening.
LIBERTARIANS SAY ACCUMULATE WEALTH ANYWAY YOU CAN UNTIL THEY WANT ALL THAT WEALTH TO THE 1% ANY WAY THEY CAN.
Everyone will remember Blagojevich and his never-ending belief he would not go to prison. He felt that way because these few decades with systemic ANTI-FORALIST fraud and corruption he was still going to be protected. He did not understand that WALL STREET AND GLOBAL CORPORATIONS no longer need the 5% to the 1% and are now getting rid of them. We may see a few more elections with the remaining 3% but they will fall into the political prisoner gulag as the global 2% are installed next decade.
RAISE YOUR HAND IF YOU UNDERSTAND THE FRAUD AND CORRUPTION IS STILL OCCURRING----WALL STREET SIMPLY WILL NO LONGER ALLOW CRONY POLS TO FEED CORRUPT PATRONAGE MACHINES----ALL THE MONEY NOW GOES TO THE TOP.
Rod Blagojevich(/bləˈɡɔɪ.əvɪtʃ/, born December 10, 1956) served as the 40th Governor of Illinois from 2003 to 2009.
A Democrat, Blagojevich was a state representative before being elected to the United States House of Representatives representing parts of Chicago. He was elected governor in 2002, the first Democrat to win the office since Dan Walker's victory 30 years earlier. Blagojevich was impeached and removed from office for corruption; he solicited bribes for political appointments, including Barack Obama's vacant U.S. Senate seat after he was elected president in 2008, and Blagojevich was convicted and sentenced to 14 years in federal prison.
Former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has been described as the most corrupt US mayor in recent years
Corrupt US mayors pose a
threat to decency in society
Research by City Mayors*
16 July 2014: The preamble to the City Mayors’ Code of Ethics states that honest local government is the foundation of any nation that strives to provide its citizens with happiness, security and prosperity. It continues to say that corruption and misconduct by local government officials threaten fundamental decency in a society. America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which warns that public corruption poses a fundamental threat to national security and the US way of life, has over the past four decades investigated hundreds of elected officials, who used their positions to enrich themselves. Among those convicted are leaders of some of the largest US cities, including Detroit, New Orleans or Baltimore, but also many mayors from small-town America.
The title of the most corrupt US mayor in recent years must go to Detroit’s Kwame Kilpatrick, who took office in 2002, promising to revitalise the city. Instead he used his position to steal from the citizens he had promised to serve. FBI Special Agent Robert Beckman, who investigated the mayor and his corrupt regime for eight years, said that criminal activity was a way of life for him. “He constantly used the power of his office to look for new opportunities to make money illegally.”
In July 2013, Kwame Kilpatrick was given a 28-year prison sentence for racketeering, extortion, bribery and fraud. In its submission the FBI said that Kilpatrick and his associates established a ‘pay to play’ system that made breaking the law standard operating procedure. “Kilpatrick extorted city vendors, rigged bids, and took bribes. He used funds from non-profit civic organisations to line his pockets and those of his family. And he was unabashed about it.”
Trenton’s (NJ) former mayor Tony Mack received a 58-months prison sentence in May 2014 after being convicted of extortion and bribery. Together with his brother Ralphiel, the former mayor operated a scheme of accepting bribes in exchange for assisting local businesses. A member of the US Attorney’s office told the court that within 10 weeks of moving into City Hall, the mayor started to sell influence. “Instead of providing transparent government to the citizens of Trenton, Tony Mack and his brother allowed themselves to succumb to self-interest and greed.”
Ray Nagin, who served as Mayor of New Orleans from 2002 to 2010, came to national and international prominence in 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which destroyed large parts of the city. In 2009, three years after being re-elected to a second term, allegations began to emerge of the mayor using his office to obtain benefits from local companies supplying the city. In February 2014, a court convicted Ray Nagin of bribery and extortion. The court was told that the mayor took more than $500,000 n payouts from businessmen in exchange for millions of dollars' worth of city contracts.
The former mayor’s sentencing brought to a close close a sordid chapter in New Orleans’ history in which the man charged with leading a city out of crisis instead chose to enrich himself, his family and friends. Despite New Orleans' long history of political corruption, Nagin was the first mayor to be criminally charged for corruption in office.
After only four months in office, Patrick Cannon, Mayor of Charlotte (NC), resigned after he was arrested by the FBI for public theft and bribery. The arrest followed an FBI sting operation that dated back to 2010. Following the former mayor’s guilty plea in June 2014, a spokesman for the US Attorney office said in a statement that Parick Cannon had used his official position to enrich himself at the expense of the City of Charlotte. “Through his actions, Cannon betrayed the trust of his constituents and his peers, compromised the integrity of our local government, and damaged Charlotte’s good reputation as a city that does business the honest way.”
List of US mayors who used their office
to enrich themselves and their associates
Mayor CityIndictmentsSentenceYear of sentence
Tony MackTrenton, NJ (Popl 84,500)Corruption58 months prison2014
Ray NaginNew Orleans, LA (369,250)Corruption10 years prison2014
Patrick Cannon Charlotte, NC (793,000)Theft and briberyAwaiting sentence2014
Omar Leonel VelaProgreso, TX (5,700)Bribery and corruptionAwaiting sentence2014
Kwame KilpatrickDetroit, MI (701,500)Racketeering, extortion, mail fraud28 years prison2013
Dennis P. ElwellSecaucus, NJ (18,350)BriberyPrison2011
Larry KangfordBirmingham, AL (212,000)Bribery, fraud15 years prison2010
Eddie PriceMandeville, LA (12,100)Tax evasion and corruption40 months prison2010
Peter CammaranoHoboken, NJExtortion24 months prison2009
Sheila Ann DixonBaltimore, MD (621,000)EmbezzlementLoss of pension2009
Sharpe JamesNewark, NJ (277,000)Fraud27 months prison2008
Samuel RiveraPassaic, NJ (70,200)Attempted extortion21 months prison2008
Emmanuel OnunworEast Cleveland, OH (17,800)Corruption and tax evasion9 years prison2005
Anthony RussoHoboken, NJ (52,000)Public corruption30 months prison2004
Joseph Peter GanimBridgeport. CN (146,400)KickbacksPrison2003
Vincent Albert CianciProvidence, RI (178,400)Racketeering5 years prison2002
Betty Loren-MalteseCicero, IL (84,000)Insurance fraud 8 years prison2002
Milon MilanCamden, NJ (77,300)Corruption7 years prison2000
Raúl L. MartínezHialeah, FL (231,900)Extortion and racketeeringJury deadlocked1996
Walter TuckerCompton, CA (97,600)Extortion and tax evasion27 months prison1996
Charles PanikiChicago Heights, IL (30,400)Bribery10 years prison1993
Gerald McCannJersey City, NJ (254,400)Fraud2 years prison1992
Alex DaoudMiami Beach, FL (90,600)Bribery18 months prison1991
Lee AlexanderSyracure, NY (145,000)Racketeering, extortion, tax invasion, bribery10 years prison1988
Michael J. MatthewsAtlantic City, NJ (39,500)Bribery15 years prison1984
Edward McIntyreAugusta, GA (194,300)ExtortionPrison1984
Angelo Joseph ErrichettiCamden, NJ (77,300)Bribery3 years prison1981
William SomersAtlantic City, NJ (39,500)Extortionn/a1972
Thomas WhelanJersey City, NJ (254,400)Conspiracy and extortion 15 years prison1971
Hugh Joseph AddonizioNewark, NJ (277,000)BriberyPrison1970
The above list is not necessarily inclusive. Please infor us of any other cases of city hall corruption.
Other recent cases of mayors arrested, indicted
and / or convicted for offences while in office:
• Mayor of West New York, NJ, arrested for computer hacking (2012)
• Mayor of Walnut Grove, Mississippi, for witness tampering (2012)
• Mayor of Upland, CA, convicted of accepting bribes (2012)
• Mayor of Nogales, Arizona, charged with bribery, theft and fraud (2012)
• Mayor of Cedarville, Arkansas, convicted of theft (2012)
• Mayor of Vicksburg, Mississippi, convicted of bribery (2013)
• Mayor of Junction City, Kansas, convicted of bribery (2012)
• Mayor of Melissa, Texas, indicted on bribery (2012)
• Mayor of Barceloneta, Puerto Rico, arrested for bribery (2012)
• Mayor of Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, indicted on bribery and extortion (2014)
• Mayor of St Gabriel, LA, indicted on racketeering (2010)
• Mayor of Ball, LA, convicted of hurricane disaster fraud (2011)
• Mayor of Sweetwater, Florida, convicted of corruption (2014)
• Mayor of South Pittsburg, TN, convicted of running illegal gambling business
• Mayor of Grandview, Missouri, convicted of charity fraud (2014)
• Mayor of Cudahy, CA, pleads guilty to extortion and bribery (2012)
• Mayor of Port Allen, LA, convicted of racketeering (2012)
• Mayor of Kinloch, Missouri, convicted for fraud and embezzlement (2011)
• Mayor of Mandeville, LA, convicted for tax evasion (2010)
• Mayor of Pineville, Kentucky, pleaded guilty to vote buying (2009)
• Mayor of Niagara Falls, NY, pleaded guilty to fraud (2010)
• Mayor of Hamilton, NJ, charged with attempted extortion (2012)
• Mayor of New Roads, LA, indicted on racketeering (2010)
No one is more far-right Libertarian then BILL NYE THE SCIENCE GUY. He is right---the Catholic Church did jail people for simply not believing as they do-------when we have the STEM FOLKS----the humanists who now think they can control all we know and are as the 1% are industrialists creating these climate change problems.
'Apparently science is not a field for challenging accepted thought, but rather one that encourages indoctrination and jailing of all those who dissent'.
As a scientist myself-----I see a really far-right pragmatic nilism when people, even jokingly start saying things like this. NYE knows the voters who don't buy into climate change are motivated by the fact that they did not bring this mess on ----the global industrialists did. NYE seems to back all those REPUBLICANS who are those industrialists.
If the American people think this is just hyperbole----this is how the cascade of jailing people for simply their beliefs starts.
Bill Nye: Throw ‘climate deniers’ in jail [VIDEO]
By Ryan Girdusky | April 14, 2016 | Comments
Image via Screenshot
Galileo was jailed for heresy when he spoke against the theory that the Earth was the center of the universe. Thankfully, the Catholic Church no longer calls for imprisoning scientists or politicians who question popular opinion — only some Social Justice Warriors still demand jailing heretics.
The Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) posted a video to YouTube on Thursday with Bill Nye ‘The Science Guy,’ discussing whether “climate deniers” and energy CEOs should be jailed like war criminals.
“We’ll see what happens, was it appropriate to jail the guys at Enron?” Nye asked. “Was it appropriate to jail people from the cigarette industry who insisted that this addictive product was not addictive?”
“For me, as a taxpayer and voter, the introduction of this extreme doubt about climate change is affecting my quality of life as a public citizen,” he continued. “So I can see where people are very concerned about this and are pursuing criminal investigations as well as in engaging in discussions like this.”
Apparently science is not a field for challenging accepted thought, but rather one that encourages indoctrination and jailing of all those who dissent.
We know this problem of police, CIA, NSA, SWAT-----of planting evidence and in the cases below ENTRAPMENT----bringing people along that may think to do something but may never had acted upon it. It's like that parent that raises a hand and says they are going to beat the heck out of the child but never does. Across America as civil unrest rises because of American citizens knowing their government is corrupt and being hijacked they will fight this increasing authoritarianism and end as political prisoners.
Ask anyone from an already authoritarian nation like IRAN or CHINA and they will educate as to the hundreds of ways poltical dissenters are jailed. I gave the example of Bill Nye deliberately demonizing people who have religious beliefs while being tied to the corporate industrial executives really doing the damage.
The criminalization of political opposition in America
12 May 2014
“While the current rash of anti-democratic measures largely targets non-citizens, mainly of Middle-Eastern descent, they constitute a fundamental attack on the basic rights of the entire population. These attacks will be extended to American citizens, especially those who oppose the government’s policies, sooner rather than later.”
So declared the World Socialist Web Site more than a dozen years ago, commenting on the passage of the Patriot Act and establishment of military tribunals by the Bush administration. The actions of the Obama administration, whose “anti-terror” policies represent an escalation of the assault on democratic rights under Bush, fully vindicate this warning.
The past month has brought the criminalization of political dissent in the United States to a new stage, with the May 5 conviction of 25-year-old Cecily McMillan for assaulting a policeman during the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York City, and the April 25 sentencing of three anti-NATO protesters to long prison terms for taking part in discussions about violence initiated by two Chicago police infiltrators.
The circumstances of both cases are outrageous, with severe penalties being imposed on individuals who are not criminals, but political opponents of the policies of the Obama administration and corporate America, for which they have become victims of police violence and provocation. The cases involve people who took part in peaceful, legal protests in New York City and Chicago, only to be framed up and convicted on felony charges.
Cecily McMillan faces a jail term of up to seven years in prison because she inadvertently elbowed a New York City cop as he was manhandling her during the police operation that broke up a demonstration in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park on March 17, 2012. This occurred at the tail end of the Occupy Wall Street protests against corporate greed and social inequality. Sentencing is set for May 19.
The trial judge barred presentation of evidence on McMillan’s injuries while allowing the prosecution to show an anonymous, grainy YouTube video of the incident, which, according to the prosecution, supported the police version of events. So flagrant is the injustice in McMillan’s case that nine of the twelve jurors who convicted her wrote to the judge asking that she be given probation rather than a prison sentence.
In the NATO 3 case, the victims of government frame-up are three young men, Brian Church, 22, Brent Betterly, 26, and Jared Chase, 28. They were sentenced to five, six and eight years in prison respectively. Their “crime” was to be taken in by two undercover cops who engaged them in drunken discussions prior to a May, 2012 demonstration at a NATO summit in Chicago about throwing Molotov cocktails into police stations, an Obama election campaign office, and the home of Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
The three were induced to fill with gasoline some of the bottles they had emptied of beer, but none of the alleged weapons ever left the apartment in which they were staying. No evidence was presented that the three actually planned to go through with the attacks. That, however, did not stop the prosecution from branding them as terrorists and seeking convictions for violating an Illinois state law modeled on the federal Patriot Act. A local jury acquitted them of the terror charges, but convicted them of lesser counts of possession of incendiary devices—the beer bottles—for which they received substantial prison terms.
These frame-ups follow a pattern that has now become familiar, where individuals are targeted either because they are politically active or vulnerable to provocation, and prosecuted for actions that are either fabricated out of whole cloth, or would never have occurred in the absence of incitement by police agents.
Among the most prominent recent cases:
* The 2010 imprisonment of Lynne Stewart, the attorney who represented the blind sheik, Omar Abdul-Rahman, who was convicted of conspiring to bomb targets in New York City. Stewart was convicted on charges of carrying messages from her client to the public, in violation of prison regulations, and spent four years in prison before being released early this year, at age 74, facing impending death due to cancer.
* The September 2010 raids on homes and offices of members of the Twin Cities Antiwar Committee and the Freedom Road Socialist Organization in Minneapolis and Chicago, where one alleged “offense” was that some of those involved in the group had visited Colombia and occupied Palestine. The Obama administration justified the raids under the “material support for terrorism” provisions of the Patriot Act.
* The conviction and imprisonment in 2012 of five young men described as “anarchists” in Cleveland, under circumstances nearly identical to the NATO 3 case, for an alleged plot to bomb a highway bridge. The “plot” was devised by FBI agents using a confidential informant. The sting operation targeted people active in the Occupy Wall Street protests. It required six months to convince the five young men to agree to buy what they were told were explosives from undercover operatives, leading to the arrests. At least two of the arrested men were said to have mental problems. They were sentenced to between 6 and 11.5 years.
* The July 2012 FBI raids on the homes of anti-Wall Street protesters in Portland, Oregon and Seattle and Olympia, Washington. As in the 2010 raids, dozens of heavily armed federal agents smashed down doors and used stun grenades, pulling their victims from their beds at gunpoint, then seizing computers, literature, banners and other explicitly political materials. A warrant presented at one home cited the need to confiscate “anti-government or anarchist literature or material.”
The political significance of all these cases is that they were actions carried out by the Obama administration and had either the direct participation or the political blessing of the FBI, the Justice Department and other agencies of the federal government.
The examples given above are not merely isolated examples, but test cases for repressive measures that will be taken on a far wider scale in the event of a broader movement among working people against imperialist war and the ceaseless attacks on jobs and living standards at home.
No section of the American ruling class and no institution of the capitalist state, including the courts, will lift a finger against such sweeping attacks on democratic rights. Those who might doubt this should recall last year’s military-police lockdown of Boston following the Boston Marathon bombings. They should also take note of the statement earlier this year by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, referring to the mass detention of Japanese-Americans during World War II, when he declared, “you are kidding yourself if you think the same thing will not happen again” under conditions of a major American war.
In the mid-1980s, the Reagan administration drew up plans (Operation Rex ‘84) for the mass detention of hundreds of thousands of Central American immigrants and other likely opponents of a US invasion of Nicaragua or El Salvador. There is no doubt that similar plans exist, in a far more developed form, for contingencies such as a US invasion of Iran or war with China or Russia.
The National Defense Authorization Act (2012) expressly gives the US military the power to seize and imprison any person anywhere in the world, including within the US, on “terror” allegations—without charges, evidence, or trial. And as the revelations by Edward Snowden demonstrate, the US government is using its vast surveillance and data collection apparatus to create political dossiers of those individuals who would be targeted for such repression.
The Socialist Equality Party demands the release of the NATO 3 and Cecily McMillan and all others imprisoned in the United States as the result of political frame-ups. The defense of democratic rights and the abolition of police-state measures must be linked to the independent mobilization of the working class in opposition to the political representatives of the corporate and financial aristocracy and the capitalist system they defend.
One would look to Stalinist prisons to find the prison structures in Baltimore today. I watched a video on Russian prison culture and it mirrors that of Baltimore. Mao and Stalin created layers of societal structures inside jails making it impossible for those imprisoned to be able to form alliances. If you were an intellectual jailed as a political prisoner you would find it almost impossible to find someone to trust. MAO and STALIN created the SNITCHING structure in prisons. Baltimore jail was left with no oversight and accountability with only the inmates controlling life inside------in this case we are told a BLACK GUERILLA GANG was allowed to rule over the jail ----as happened in far-right MAO and STALIN prisons.
Social Democrats had for decades installed oversight and accountability that at least created some justice inside these prisons---California before Reagan had the most socially progressive prisons that are now the world's worst.
Baltimore's jail is being torn down not because the city is getting soft on injustice ----it simply wants to develop that real estate ----and any job training will be tied to forced labor.
Baltimore is a few decades ahead of other US cities in installing US International Economic Zone structures so citizens lost their voices a few decades ago, corruption even for Baltimore standards went wild---and police brutality has soared from having far-right neo-conservatives and Clinton/Obama neo-liberals in US city leadership.
'How should the MDC reuse the Warden House? Why not turn it into offices for MDC's use? Better yet, why not convert it into classrooms where parolees can be taught the skills they need to reintegrate into society? This would demonstrate a commitment to correcting the wrongs of the jail's past'.
Preserving Baltimore's slave past
Amanda Nix, Travis Hess
Towson University students argue that part of the city jail with a slave holding past should be preserved.The Maryland Department of Corrections plans to demolish the Warden House along with several other structures at the Baltimore City Detention Center complex before 2021. While it is long past time to cease housing inmates here, the Warden House is worth preserving for the lessons it offers.
Baltimore City authorized construction of what would become the Warden House in 1856. The city needed a new jail, and it selected the plans of brothers and architectural partners Thomas and James Dixon. The Dixons described the jail's planned designs as "Romanesque" and "jail within a jail." They incorporated an apartment for the warden's family. The brothers estimated the jail's construction would cost about $120,000.
The completion of the re-constructed jail in 1859 established Baltimore's role in the slave trade. The jail held hundreds of runaways and abolitionists, both black and white, who helped slaves to freedom, according to nonprofit Baltimore Heritage. In addition to the Warden House, private jails housed slaves for several purposes, including the convenience of the slave owners, according to a 1999 article in this paper. Slave owners traveling through Baltimore checked their slaves into a jail while the owners slept comfortably in a nearby inn. These jails also housed unwanted and unreliable slaves until they were sold to southern plantation owners. The jail was a passage to an uncertain future for those who entered and for those who left.
The Warden House is an important aspect of Baltimore's history that shouldn't be forgotten. Just as with the preservation of the preservation of Auschwitz, the former German Nazi Concentration Camp in Poland, people need a physical reminder of the mistakes others have made so that they're not repeated. Other than the Warden House, no other slave jails remain, according to Baltimore Heritage.
We also need to preserve the Warden House for environmental reasons.
Older buildings are more energy efficient than people think. Buildings built before 1920 are about as energy efficient as those built between 2000 and 2003, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration numbers shared in a March 2009 report by The Abell Foundation. Preserving old buildings makes for less waste in landfills. The Abell Report noted that during a 12-year period, Maryland "saved" 387,000 tons of material from the landfill through preserving older structures.
How should the MDC reuse the Warden House? Why not turn it into offices for MDC's use? Better yet, why not convert it into classrooms where parolees can be taught the skills they need to reintegrate into society? This would demonstrate a commitment to correcting the wrongs of the jail's past.
The structure of the Warden House is more than just a landmark, which some locals today call the "castle." Beyond the style of the structure's classic Victorian gothic design that keeps it a building worth preserving, the jail is Baltimore — history and materials. The Dixon brothers used Patapsco granite for the foundations and window sills. They used light blue stone from Jones Falls for the walls, and they trimmed their work with marble from quarries in Baltimore County.
A plaque denoting the history of the Warden House should be erected on the building. Because of its historical significance, it should become a must-see destination for tourists interested in Baltimore's history. Additionally, history and architecture buffs would delight at being able to see this unique structure, even if only from the outside.
Baltimore is a city rich in historical buildings, and these structures all have a story to tell. Preserving them will give us a chance to heed their lessons.
Republicans are pushing as hard as they can this idea of tying people often having committed no crime to these MAO forced labor as rehabilitation. This military stance has already shown to be abusive beyond what simply going to jail. Veterans will tell you if they had received treatment for PTSS through the VA as they were guaranteed by law they may not have been in this forced labor program. This is now coming to all petty crimes and as these comments show-----the time spent in these JOB TRAINING programs keeps one from moving on with personal choices in life.
These ALTERNATIVE COURTS are growing around the nation to create this system of petty crime forced labor camps.
“The people we talk to, the victims who we try to get consent for these kinds of cases to come in, the most questions we get — and the most resistance we get — are from fellow veterans,”
“If I'd gone to a regular court, I would've done six months of probation and then been through with it,” Jones said. “I think I got more punishment as a veteran.”
Critics of alternative to prison, parole come from ranks of military
By Carl Prine | Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013, 6:33 p.m.
• Trib study finds lack of state, federal regulation for Allegheny County Veterans Court
Military veterans can be the harshest critics of the 168 specialized courts nationwide that provide alternatives to prison or parole for ex-service personnel who commit crimes — often by preventing crime through anger management and substance abuse treatment.
“The people we talk to, the victims who we try to get consent for these kinds of cases to come in, the most questions we get — and the most resistance we get — are from fellow veterans,” said Debra Barnisin-Lange, an assistant Allegheny County district attorney who works with Pittsburgh's Veterans Court.
They want veterans to meet a higher standard of civilian conduct and often are reluctant to cut them a break for arrests, Lange said.
Although these courts often are pitched nationwide as a way for civilian prosecutors and judges to help combat veterans healing from the physical and mental wounds of battle, a Tribune-Review investigation found few of the 66 defendants in Allegheny County Veterans Court from its 2009 founding through 2012 went to war zones; few who deployed were inz combat.
Only a third of the defendants ended up in war zones while in uniform, and nearly all served in rear-echelon jobs such as mechanics, cooks and clerk typists, their military records show.
Four received decorations indicating they underwent extensive combat — three soldiers awarded the Army's Combat Infantryman Badge and a Marine awarded the Combat Action Ribbon. One fought in Vietnam, the others in Iraq and Afghanistan, a Tribune-Review analysis found.
Three of the four defendants with combat exposure committed violent crimes as civilians: a knifing in West Deer, domestic assault in Verona and the beating of two men outside a McKeesport bar in 2011.
That tavern fight involved Sgt. Robert George, 28, an Army paratrooper who was recovering from serious wounds while on leave. He got arrested on his first night home, part of a “huge adjustment period,” he told the Trib. Now honorably discharged from the Army, George said he has the “awesome” county Veterans Court to thank.
“It kept me out of jail. They're fair. They care about you and they work with you,” said George, who is studying computer-aided drafting. “On the downside, you see guys who got into trouble and they abuse the program. They don't understand the consequences of what they did.”
Veterans courts nationwide are divided on whether to accept vets who didn't deploy to battle, and the Trib found a lack of defined federal rules on who should be accepted.
In California, for example, Orange County's Combat Veterans Court bars veterans who can't show some connection between their overseas experience and later civilian criminal misconduct — usually through diagnosed traumatic brain injury from roadside mines or post-traumatic stress disorder from combat or sexual trauma.
Judge Jack Carter in Anchorage, the founder in 2004 of what is believed to be the nation's first Veterans Court, said that most of his defendants “had seen combat, most from Vietnam but also Iraq.” He said he started the program because he encountered so many veterans dealing with flashbacks.
Similar to Orange County's docket, Allegheny County veterans must have a diagnosed traumatic brain injury, substance abuse problem or psychological disorder to enter the court, though anyone who deploys to a war zone is presumed to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder that influenced their criminality.
Judge: Don't limit access
As Pennsylvania counties start veterans courts, state Supreme Court Justice Seamus P. McCaffery, a veteran and former police officer, said he doesn't want them to welcome only combat veterans. Some mental illnesses, such as PTSD, can arise from peacetime operations, he said.
“If we were to say that only guys who had been in combat qualify, OK, what does that mean?” McCaffery asked. “What do we do with a kid who was a reservist and had to pull off the helmet that contained a head, from a training accident?”
The Trib interviewed half of the defendants in Allegheny County Veterans Court before 2013. Each said it was a tough, rewarding experience and would recommend it to other veterans, although some acknowledged having second thoughts about entering.
An Air Force veteran, Terry Lee Jones, 57, of Homewood received treatment and classes at VA Pittsburgh after drunken driving charges in 2012. The heating-air conditioning specialist hasn't committed another crime, according to court records.
“If I'd gone to a regular court, I would've done six months of probation and then been through with it,” Jones said. “I think I got more punishment as a veteran.”
Above you saw that MAO's answer to prison was forced labor camps with the idea that labor reforms people better than imprisonment. That is the same prison chain gang talk rising its head again.
Drug courts are simply tying the threat of longer jail time to a visit to one judge instead of simply allowing this person due process to ordinary court. What has been found across the south especially is the corruption of this process as these single judges then get kickbacks from industry profiting from free labor to keep people in these programs for longer and longer times.
Below this article you will see how this alternative court has already turned into a corrupt process taking further from citizens' rights. It will end in the same level of injustice only people will be taken from a prison cell and used as forced labor. What makes this doubly-troubling is the Affordable Care Act tying PHARMA heavily to this drug and alcohol reform. If you don't see authoritarian abuse getting worse when they are using PHARMA and separate court systems ----you need to re-educate on MAO and STALIN.
Pro & Con: Drug courts an effective alternative for offenders?
11:39 p.m. Monday, April 11, 2011 | Filed in: Opinion
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YES: Done right, drug courts lower recidivism and cut costs.
By Wendy P. Guastaferro
Georgia’s drug courts are positioned to become a model of effective, evidence-based interventions for the Southeast and the nation. Drug courts keep people clean and in treatment longer than other treatment programs. Staying in treatment leads to better outcomes. Drug courts also reduce recidivism and save money.
A state audit report released last year found that Georgia’s drug court participants have significantly lower recidivism rates than drug offenders who serve prison time and cost millions of dollars less than prison. The report recommended the expanded use of drug courts.
Gov. Nathan Deal has called for an increased use of effective alternatives to costly prisons, like drug courts.
While support for drug courts is quickly gaining momentum, they face an incredible threat: their own success.
Drug courts require tireless work by trained, competent, collaborative criminal justice and treatment teams, and rely on donated time from the judiciary, prosecutors and public defenders. Drug courts receive minimal funding ($10 million annually, half of which is local funding), yet achieve the most critical outcomes for Georgia: reducing crime and improving lives.
If asked to continue these monumental tasks while also absorbing offenders diverted from prison without the infrastructure and financial support needed, drug courts face becoming another failed criminal justice experiment. How can we prevent this?
First, drug courts should target high-risk, nonviolent adult offenders to maximize positive outcomes for the individual and public safety. When we say high-risk, we are talking about the probability of committing additional crimes, not the probability that someone will be violent. Targeting those who are most likely to re-offend who also have serious substance abuse problems means providing both intensive legal supervision and treatment.
Programs that target individuals with a high risk for reoffending are up to five times more effective in reducing recidivism compared to those that target low-risk individuals.
Second, drug courts should implement practices that work (such as relapse prevention treatment and changing the way offenders think and see the world, known as cognitive behavioral therapy). They should avoid relying on practices shown to have neutral or negative effects for drug-involved offenders (such as self-esteem programs).
Addiction is one of the most powerful forces in existence. Relapse is part of recovery. If people could stop using drugs because a judge told them to, we would not need drug courts. In order to overcome such a consuming force, drug courts must keep close tabs on their participants and provide effective treatment services.
Drug courts should demand accountability from offenders in their programs. Drug testing should occur randomly two to three times a week. Sanctions for noncompliance and incentives for doing well are essential to changing behavior. Drug courts should use an established treatment curriculum.
Third, developing standards for Georgia’s drug court programs will provide much-needed guidance to localities who want start a program, will improve practices and accountability in existing programs, ensure responsible use of taxpayer dollars and allow for sound drug court program evaluation for Georgia.
Georgia should embrace this unique moment to set the bar for cutting costs, reducing crime and saving lives. But drug courts need continued assistance, an infusion of funding and the political commitment to support a sustainable model.
Wendy P. Guastaferro is an assistant professor of Criminal Justice at Georgia State University and the program evaluator for the DeKalb County Drug Court.
NO: Claims about drug courts aren’t supported by research.
By Margaret Dooley-Sammuli and Nastassia Walsh
Drug addiction is a health problem. So why are U.S. drug policies still seeking solutions in the criminal justice system?
The use of drug courts — programs that seek to reduce drug use through mandated drug treatment and close judicial oversight — has grown dramatically over the last 20 years thanks to moving success stories and enthusiastic proponents within the criminal justice system. These success stories are real and deserve to be celebrated, but they provide only a partial picture.
Based on our own analyses of the existing research, we have independently come to the same conclusion that several academics and even the federal government’s General Accountability Office (GAO) have: Claims that drug courts have significantly reduced costs, incarceration or drug use are unsupported by the evidence.
More troubling is that drug courts may actually increase the criminal justice involvement of people with drug problems. The widespread use of incarceration as a sanction in drug courts — for failing a drug test, missing an appointment or having a hard time following the strict rules of the court — means that some participants end up serving more time behind bars than if they had not entered drug court. And some participants may actually face longer sentences when they are ejected from drug court than those who did not enter drug court in the first place (often because they lost the opportunity to plead to a lesser charge).
Even people who are not in drug court may be negatively affected by them, since drug courts have been associated with increased arrests and incarceration in some cases. This is often because law enforcement and others believe people will “get help” if they are arrested. But drug courts have limited capacity and strict eligibility requirements, which means that many of those arrested end up conventionally sentenced.
Treatment through the criminal justice system, including drug courts, is not found to be more effective than treatment in the community — though it is significantly more expensive. A federal study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, for example, showed that people referred to treatment from the criminal justice system do not fare better than those referred through other means (such as a loved one or an employer). And, according to the Washington State Institute for Public Policy, drug courts do not reduce recidivism by even a half a percentage point more than treatment in the community without a judge’s oversight.
More than 1.4 million people are arrested every year simply for possessing a small amount of drugs for personal use — about half for marijuana. Only some of them have a drug problem and need treatment. Even if drug courts were expanded to scale to cover all of the people arrested for a drug law violation, between 500,000 and 1 million people would still be ejected from a drug court and sentenced conventionally every year.
Instead, we need drug courts to focus on more serious law violations that are linked to a drug problem and to expand access to treatment and other health interventions in the community so that they are available when people seek them. About 7.8 million Americans want drug treatment, according to the 2009 U.S. National Survey of Drug Use and Health; this is more than the number of people facing lung, breast and prostate cancer combined. Many people who want treatment can’t access it outside the criminal justice system. This must change.
Margaret Dooley-Sammuli is deputy state director, Southern California, for the Drug Policy Alliance, and authored “Drug Courts Are Not the Answer.”
All of these far-right solutions to prison via forced labor comes straight from the brutal fascist dictator handbook of MAO and STALIN and will lead to abuses of power and political targeting of RE-EDUCATION.
Judges Plead Guilty in Scheme to Jail Youths for Profit
IAN URBINA and SEAN D. HAMILLFEB. 12, 2009
Hillary Transue was sentenced to three months in juvenile detention for a spoof Web page mocking an assistant principal. Credit Niko J. Kallianiotis for The New York Times
At worst, Hillary Transue thought she might get a stern lecture when she appeared before a judge for building a spoof MySpace page mocking the assistant principal at her high school in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. She was a stellar student who had never been in trouble, and the page stated clearly at the bottom that it was just a joke.
Instead, the judge sentenced her to three months at a juvenile detention center on a charge of harassment.
She was handcuffed and taken away as her stunned parents stood by.
“I felt like I had been thrown into some surreal sort of nightmare,” said Hillary, 17, who was sentenced in 2007. “All I wanted to know was how this could be fair and why the judge would do such a thing.”
The answers became a bit clearer on Thursday as the judge, Mark A. Ciavarella Jr., and a colleague, Michael T. Conahan, appeared in federal court in Scranton, Pa., to plead guilty to wire fraud and income tax fraud for taking more than $2.6 million in kickbacks to send teenagers to two privately run youth detention centers run by PA Child Care and a sister company, Western PA Child Care.
While prosecutors say that Judge Conahan, 56, secured contracts for the two centers to house juvenile offenders, Judge Ciavarella, 58, was the one who carried out the sentencing to keep the centers filled.
“In my entire career, I’ve never heard of anything remotely approaching this,” said Senior Judge Arthur E. Grim, who was appointed by the State Supreme Court this week to determine what should be done with the estimated 5,000 juveniles who have been sentenced by Judge Ciavarella since the scheme started in 2003. Many of them were first-time offenders and some remain in detention.
The case has shocked Luzerne County, an area in northeastern Pennsylvania that has been battered by a loss of industrial jobs and the closing of most of its anthracite coal mines.
And it raised concerns about whether juveniles should be required to have counsel either before or during their appearances in court and whether juvenile courts should be open to the public or child advocates.
Prosecutors say Judges Michael T. Conahan, and Mark A. Ciavarella Jr., above, took kickbacks to send teenagers to detention centers. Credit David Kidwell/Associated Press
If the court agrees to the plea agreement, both judges will serve 87 months in federal prison and resign from the bench and bar. They are expected to be sentenced in the next several months. Lawyers for both men declined to comment.
Since state law forbids retirement benefits to judges convicted of a felony while in office, the judges would also lose their pensions.
With Judge Conahan serving as president judge in control of the budget and Judge Ciavarella overseeing the juvenile courts, they set the kickback scheme in motion in December 2002, the authorities said.
They shut down the county-run juvenile detention center, arguing that it was in poor condition, the authorities said, and maintained that the county had no choice but to send detained juveniles to the newly built private detention centers.
Prosecutors say the judges tried to conceal the kickbacks as payments to a company they control in Florida.
Though he pleaded guilty to the charges Thursday, Judge Ciavarella has denied sentencing juveniles who did not deserve it or sending them to the detention centers in a quid pro quo with the centers.
But Assistant United States Attorney Gordon A. Zubrod said after the hearing that the government continues to charge a quid pro quo.
“We’re not negotiating that, no,” Mr. Zubrod said. “We’re not backing off.”
No charges have been filed against executives of the detention centers. Prosecutors said the investigation into the case was continuing.
For years, youth advocacy groups complained that Judge Ciavarella was unusually harsh. He sent a quarter of his juvenile defendants to detention centers from 2002 to 2006, compared with a state rate of 1 in 10. He also routinely ignored requests for leniency made by prosecutors and probation officers.
“The juvenile system, by design, is intended to be a less punitive system than the adult system, and yet here were scores of children with very minor infractions having their lives ruined,” said Marsha Levick, a lawyer with the Philadelphia-based Juvenile Law Center.
“There was a culture of intimidation surrounding this judge and no one was willing to speak up about the sentences he was handing down.”
Last year, the Juvenile Law Center, which had raised concerns about Judge Ciavarella in the past, filed a motion to the State Supreme Court about more than 500 juveniles who had appeared before the judge without representation. The court originally rejected the petition, but recently reversed that decision.
The United States Supreme Court ruled in 1967 that children have a constitutional right to counsel. But in Pennsylvania, as in at least 20 other states, children can waive counsel, and about half of the children that Judge Ciavarella sentenced had chosen to do so. Only Illinois, New Mexico and North Carolina require juveniles to have representation when they appear before judges.
Clay Yeager, the former director of the Office of Juvenile Justice in Pennsylvania, said typical juvenile proceedings are kept closed to the public to protect the privacy of children.
“But they are kept open to probation officers, district attorneys, and public defenders, all of whom are sworn to protect the interests of children,” he said. “It’s pretty clear those people didn’t do their jobs.”
On Thursday in Federal District Court in Scranton, more than 80 people packed every available seat in the courtroom. At one point, as Assistant United States Attorney William S. Houser explained to Judge Edwin M. Kosik that the government was willing to reach a plea agreement with the men because the case involved “complex charges that could have resulted in years of litigation,” one man sitting in the audience said “bull” loud enough to be heard in the courtroom.
One of the parents at the hearing was Susan Mishanski of Hanover Township.
Her son, Kevin, now 18, was sentenced to 90 days in a detention facility last year in a simple assault case that everyone had told her would result in probation, since Kevin had never been in trouble and the boy he hit had only a black eye.
“It’s horrible to have your child taken away in shackles right in front of you when you think you’re going home with him,” she said. “It was nice to see them sitting on the other side of the bench.”
The far-right see controlling behavior as PHARMA----the left see integrating behavior and tolerance of differences as the solution. As CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA FAR-RIGHT garner control they are increasingly using drugs as the solution to behavior and broadening what bad behavior means. As I said Affordable Care Act makes using PHARMA the first approach as the cheapest route to health care and behavior control and has even taken away an individual's right to refuse to be medicated THIS IS SERIOUS CIVIL RIGHTS AND LIBERTIES VIOLATIONS.
DON'T WORRY SAY FAR-RIGHT LIBERTARIAN MARXISTS----THE HUMAN RIGHTS AND CIVIL LIBERTIES COMES ONLY TO ACCUMULATING EXTREME WEALTH.
All the while far-right 1% Wall STreet global corporate neo-liberals are trying to make all these policies look as though they are coming from DEMOCRATS---JUST AS NOW THEY WILL PRETEND LIBERTARIAN MARXISM IS LEFT-LEANING COMMUNISM.
We have watched these few decades as PHARMA was the answer to school behaviors---now they are super-sizing when and how PHARMA are given and tying it to our prison/jail policy.
PA juvenile offenders given psychiatric drugs at high rates
Psychiatric drugs flow at the state-operated secure youth correctional facilities, where chronic and violent juvenile offenders are sent. Are they drugged into behaving?
By Halle Stockton | PublicSource | Oct. 25, 2015
It’s the end of the line for these kids. They’ve fallen through every safety net, and they keep making the same mistakes or more violent ones.
The kids — nearly all black or white teenage boys — are sent hours away from their families to youth correctional facilities, sterile lock-downs surrounded by barbed wire or cabins so far out in the wilderness they’re considered secure even without a fence.
They are the toughest kids in the juvenile justice system. And, in some ways, the most vulnerable.
In the months they spend at correctional facilities, they receive mood-altering psychiatric medications at strikingly high rates, particularly antipsychotic drugs that expose them to significant health risks.
Psychiatric medications are prescribed to manage mental health and behavioral symptoms; antipsychotics are a type of psychiatric medicine approved to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and irritability with autism.
Kids are more vulnerable to the severe side effects of antipsychotics — rapid weight gain and diabetes among them — yet doctors and juvenile justice experts told PublicSource they’re confident the drugs are being used off-label in the state facilities to induce sleep or to reduce anxiety or aggression.
Some child advocates refer to this use as ‘chemical restraint.’
Over a seven-year period, enough antipsychotics were ordered to treat one-third of the confined youth, on average, at any given time, according to a PublicSource analysis of drug purchasing information obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, which operates the youth correctional facilities.
Only 1 to 2 percent of kids in the U.S. take antipsychotics.
“Most of antipsychotic use is likely for sedation and behavioral control” in Pennsylvania’s youth correctional facilities, said Dr. Mark Olfson of the Columbia University Medical Center. Olfson is a leading research psychiatrist who reviewed the data PublicSource provided. “The new findings will hopefully spur much-needed institutional reforms.”
Thousands of at-risk kids lived in six state-operated youth development centers and forestry camps from 2007 through 2013. Within the razor wire — or dense tree lines in forestry camps — psychiatric medications are flowing, despite the potential consequences to the developing brains and bodies of kids.
Have you spent time in a Pennsylvania youth correctional facility as a resident or employee? Do you know someone who has?Get in touch:
See a list of the state-run facilities >>
A recent study showed about one-fifth of foster-care youth in Pennsylvania were taking antipsychotics in 2012 — a finding that sounded alarm bells for the Department of Human Services (DHS), which commissioned the report.
The secretary of the department called the rates among foster children “disturbing” and “unacceptable.”
PublicSource’s look at the issue for the state’s most troubled delinquent young people showed even more widespread prescribing, yet Human Services officials said they aren’t encountering the same issues in the juvenile justice system.
The agency communicated with PublicSource almost entirely through email with responses approved by its legal department.
The department had weeks, and sometimes months, to respond to questions. Requests to interview DHS officials went unanswered for six weeks; an interview with Secretary Ted Dallas was scheduled and then abruptly cancelled. PublicSource shared its findings with the agency on Oct. 6.
The state also would not release the names of the doctors who are contracted to care for and prescribe to the youth, saying that it would compromise the safety of doctors if the facility residents had personal information on them.
A greater mental health need
Most of the kids are sent to the facilities after they’ve committed assaults, thefts and burglaries, or crimes related to guns and drugs. It is common for them to come from unstable homes or to roam with other kids who have had brushes with the law.
At its root, it is often a traumatic experience, one witnessed or committed, that drives their actions and can mimic mental illness.
State-operated youth development centers and forestry camps:
- North Central Secure Treatment Unit
- Loysville Youth Development Center
- Cresson Secure Treatment Unit
- Youth Forestry Camp #3
- South Mountain Secure Treatment Unit
- Youth Forestry Camp #2
PublicSource was not granted access to the facilities — one of which closed on Sept. 30. The centers are described by those who have visited as plain, with more the feeling of a hospital than a jail, but still with a maze of locked doors.
The state juvenile justice system takes youth ages 10 to 21; the state facilities saw youth 12 to 20 in the seven years studied.
For an average of seven to eight months, they’re kept on a strict schedule for meals, schooling on the premises, and some socializing in common areas with TVs and computers.
DHS Spokeswoman Kait Gillis wrote in an email that the department provides individualized health care to the juveniles with a multidisciplinary team that regularly monitors the effects of psychiatric medications, also called psychotropics.
She wrote that 44 percent of 266 residents in the facilities on Sept. 30 had a psychotropic medication prescribed by a psychiatrist. The department conducted a manual calculation on that day shortly after receiving additional questions from PublicSource on the matter.
Many enter the facilities with a psychotropic prescription, Gillis added, and some can be weaned off as they make progress with other non-drug therapies.
“The protocols we have in place actually lead to a reduction or termination of medication when possible,” she wrote. However, the state did not share whether it has any policies or controls on prescribing.
The department could not say how many enter with such a prescription, and the invoices provided by the department did not link the medications to specific cases or diagnoses because of privacy concerns.
PublicSource consulted several healthcare professionals and researchers to review the data, which took two years to obtain and turn into a usable database.
While the experts did see red flags pointing to potentially excessive or inappropriate prescribing in the state facilities, justice-involved youth are known to have a greater mental health need than the general population. Studies and experts estimate that between 50 percent and 75 percent have a diagnosable psychiatric disorder.
KEEP IN MIND SIMPLE DEPRESSION IS THE MOST COMMON PSYCHIATRIC DISORDER IN MANY PEOPLE.
However, not every disorder calls for a medication and certainly not an antipsychotic.
Psychiatric medications can quickly improve an adolescent's’ quality of life by alleviating depression or creating a clear mind. But many believe some prescribers overuse psychotropics, deploying them as a ‘silver bullet,’ rather than addressing underlying issues.
“The great concern among children’s advocates is that ... too often the medications are used to the benefit of the institution to control behavior in ways that are not appropriate,” said Robert Schwartz, co-founder and recently retired executive director of the Juvenile Law Center, a national public-interest law firm based in Philadelphia that brought the notorious “Kids for Cash” scandal to light in 2008.
The scandal netted two judges guilty of taking $2.6 million in kickbacks to send youth to private for-profit centers and created demand for reforms to policies affecting youth in the state’s juvenile courts. Tools were adopted in many counties to assess mental health upon arrival at juvenile justice facilities, and the state began unshackling kids in courtrooms.
Quick fixAntipsychotics, the most used of the psychotropics in the state facilities, are extremely powerful and effective.
That’s why they’re used so often in crisis.
The drugs are tranquilizing, instilling a quick calm. Some equate that calm to a stupor.
Dr. Terry Lee, a child and adolescent psychiatrist who treats residents of a Washington state-run secure juvenile correctional facility, said most antipsychotics used in correctional facilities are given to control disruptive behavior, like outbursts, aggression and breaking the rules.
“There aren’t that many kids in juvenile justice facilities who are psychotic,” he said.
Judge Kathryn M. Hens-Greco, who has heard delinquency cases for five years in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, said she can’t remember ever sending a kid diagnosed with schizophrenia or autism to one of the state facilities.
Some youth with behavioral health disorders, Olfson said, are likely receiving antipsychotics inappropriately.
“If they have schizophrenia or bipolar, hopefully they are not here but in psychiatric hospitals getting rehabilitated,” he said. “I think their need for antipsychotics should make them ineligible for these facilities.”
Video by Ryan Loew / PublicSourceThe American Psychiatric Association says poor and minority kids are more likely to receive antipsychotics for off-label reasons. The PolicyLab, a research entity of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, found 5 percent of Medicaid-enrolled children in Pennsylvania were taking antipsychotics in 2012.
It was prescribing among the state’s Medicaid-enrolled foster children driving that rate.
Antipsychotics are quick to stabilize, but can also cause rapid weight gain that can lead to diabetes, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular problems. It may lead to brain shrinkage and a shorter lifespan.
Even the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized that the brains of youth offenders are still developing when they took life sentences without parole off the table; so too, experts say, should state officials and doctors recognize they are taking a young person’s future into their hands when they prescribe psychotropics — for better or worse.
Dr. Christoph Correll, a psychiatrist and scientist, published a study in 2009 linking antipsychotic use and weight gain in youth. The kids studied gained 10 to 20 pounds in fewer than three months, he said.
“Children and adolescents seem to be more vulnerable to these side effects,” he said. “We need to improve the behaviors of the mentally ill with education and healthy lifestyle and go to low-risk interventions first.”
Gillis, the DHS spokeswoman, wrote that all residents of Pennsylvania youth correctional facilities get a mental-health screening within one hour of arrival. The kids are further assessed by social workers, nurses, physicians, psychological services associates, counselors and psychiatrists, she wrote.
Other therapies offered include cognitive behavioral therapy, individual and group counseling and programs for anger management and substance abuse issues, she wrote.
“There are unique challenges as many of the residents have not had consistent access to preventive care or to a medical provider,” Gillis wrote.
In the state facilities, the youth are provided a bill of rights, 22 liberties that include the rights to receive appropriate behavioral health care and to be free from excessive medication. The state contracts with the Mental Health Association in Pennsylvania to send in youth advocates. If medication questions come up, advocates refer them to a nurse.
Gillis wrote that kids prescribed certain psychiatric medications are monitored regularly through therapy, blood work and physical exams, and monthly updates are provided to the psychiatrist.
At the Washington state facility in which Lee works, he developed and implemented psychiatric practice guidelines. The guidelines include requirements to generally limit antipsychotic prescriptions to youth with psychotic and bipolar disorders; to prioritize skills training and non-drug therapy for disruptive behavior; and, when prescribing for sleep, to first use medications with more benign side effects, like melatonin or diphenhydramine (Benadryl).
Lee published a study on Oct. 1 in the journal Psychiatric Services that compared psychiatric medication costs and aggression levels at three secure juvenile facilities, including where he works.
The study, spanning 2003 to 2012, shows Lee’s facility with psychiatric practice guidelines reduced its costs of psychotropic drugs by 26 percent, and incidents of aggression remained level. Costs for facilities without the guidelines doubled, and aggression levels increased, Lee said.
Psychotropic drugs dominated the medication budgets at the Pennsylvania youth centers, accounting for more than $3.4 million of the $5.5 million spent over seven years, according to the PublicSource analysis.
The state and counties pay for medications prescribed to residents of youth correctional facilities because Medicaid benefits are terminated or suspended when a juvenile is sent to one.
Seroquel (quetiapine) and Abilify (aripiprazole) — both antipsychotics — were two of the most ordered medications. About $2.2 million was spent on these two drugs alone.
There has been no thorough examination in the state or nation on the prescribing of psychiatric medications to delinquent youth — an irony considering the momentous trend of jails and prisons, both adult and juvenile, filling the role of psychiatric facility.
With fewer resources and less training to cope with aggression, the mental health system over time has lost its ability to handle youthful offenders, and correctional facilities have become the default, said Ned Loughran, executive director of the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators.
“The catch 22 is the more the youth correctional facilities respond to that and develop specialized programs because they have to deal with the youth, the more the courts are going to use them,” he said.
The majority of youth offenders in Pennsylvania are in private facilities. They are for the teens with lesser crimes, fewer problems and shorter stays. The chronic or violent offenders go to the youth development centers and forestry camps.
The facilities have adapted, contracting with medical professionals who know how to treat depression, anxiety and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with medications that also fall under the umbrella of psychotropics.
In addition to antipsychotic use in the six state facilities:
- The antidepressants ordered were sufficient to treat more than 20 percent of the confined youth, on average, at any given time over the seven years studied. That includes the drugs Prozac and Paxil, which have been shown to increase suicidal behaviors in adolescents.
- Mood stabilizers, like lithium used to treat manic episodes and bipolar disorder, were the next most used of the five drug classes analyzed. The prescriptions were sufficient to treat an average of 14 percent of residents at any given time.
- Psychiatrists were surprised by the levels of anti-ADHD medications, which were ordered about one-third as often as antipsychotics. ADHD is likely one of the most prevalent disorders in the facilities, experts said. The orders were sufficient to treat an average of 9 percent of the youth at any given time.
- Medications to combat anxiety were the least ordered of all the psychotropic classes, sufficient to treat an average of 6 percent of the juveniles at any given time.
If one drug starts losing its power, the meds are often layered with others.
The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry says polypharmacy should be generally avoided.
Once a medication is on the market, a doctor has free rein to prescribe it for all kinds of symptoms. Sometimes the evidence supports its use, and sometimes not.
Correll, a professor at Hofstra University’s School of Medicine, advises using interventions with fewer side effects and rarely, if ever, trying antipsychotics off-label for sleeplessness, anxiety or ADHD. Alternatives can include anything from changing diet and sleep habits, to counseling, to other medication with fewer risks.
Jennifer Drake is the national director of behavioral health services for Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), a Harrisburg-based nonprofit that provides community-based services to youth in 18 states and Washington, D.C., many of whom have been placed in corrections or foster care.
YAP has programs in 31 Pennsylvania counties and the city of Philadelphia.
Drake remembered a teenage boy who had experienced multiple placements, with medications layered at every stop.
When he returned home, YAP’s psychiatrist diagnosed him with depression. The boy was taken off antipsychotics and anti-ADHD drugs in favor of a mild antidepressant and counseling.
First, his headaches went away and he began to lose weight, she said. Then he started to break out of his shell and have conversations.
“I think all of us believe medication should only be one part of a child’s treatment,” Drake said. “They are certainly lifesaving and life-changing and many kids need them, but they shouldn't be the first line of treatment or the only treatment.”
OH, THIS WAS WHAT OBAMA'S EMPHASIS ON DRUG AND ALCOHOL TREATMENT AND RELEASING THESE PRISONERS FROM PRISON-----
It is indeed the same program because Chinese prison policies have always come from FAR-RIGHT LIBERTARIAN MARXISTS.
All this RE-EDUCATION at the same time our PUBLIC SCHOOL EDUCATION is being dismantled. Don't worry they say IT'S ALL ABOUT JOBS, JOBS, JOBS
'Many of China's re-education through labor camps, instead of being abolished in line with a ruling Communist Party announcement this month, are being turned into compulsory drug rehabilitation centers where inmates can be incarcerated for two years or more without trial'.
Here in Baltimore Baltimore City Hall and Baltimore's Maryland Assembly pols passed the laws to do the same to Baltimore citizens------now a police officers with a social worker can come to a home and take a citizen they deem needing drug/alcohol treatment
'Police can sentence drug offenders without trial to two years or more of compulsory rehabilitation, which can include forced labor, according to the law'.
A jail by another name: China labor camps now drug detox centers
KUNMING, China | By John Ruwitch
Iron wire fencing is seen outside a labour camp in Kunming, Yunnan province, November 22, 2013.
Li Zhongying was freed from a Chinese labor camp ahead of schedule in September because, guards told her, the government was scrapping 're-education through labor', a heavily criticized penal system created in the 1950s.
Several hundred other inmates were not so lucky, she said. Like Li, they were held without trial and forced to do factory work under what she called "cruel" conditions. They remained because they were drug offenders, she told Reuters.
Many of China's re-education through labor camps, instead of being abolished in line with a ruling Communist Party announcement this month, are being turned into compulsory drug rehabilitation centers where inmates can be incarcerated for two years or more without trial.
Human rights activists and freed inmates said drug offenders were still being forced to do factory work, as has been the practice under the re-education through labor system, colloquially known as 'laojiao'.
New York-based Human Rights Watch estimates more than 60 percent of the 160,000 people in labor camps at the start of the year were there for drug offenses. Those people were unlikely to see any change in their treatment, it said.
"The drug detox people are doing exactly the same work," said Li, who spent 19 months in a labor camp in Kunming, the capital of southern Yunnan province.
Police caught Li in Beijing early last year trying to petition the government over a grievance that dated back to the mid-1990s. They sent her home to Yunnan, where she was sentenced without trial to 21 months.
Li, speaking from Beijing, said she worked at a biscuit factory inside the camp for up to 15 hours a day.
A production line manager, speaking to Reuters outside the facility on a dusty road near Kunming airport late last week, said the inmates left inside were undergoing drug rehab. Among the items they made were handicrafts, including embroidered items, said the manager, declining to be identified.
China's re-education through labor law, in place since 1957, empowered police to detain petty criminals for up to four years without trial.
Many of the camps have housed drug rehab centers since mid-2008, when a new Anti-Drug Law came into force. Police can sentence drug offenders without trial to two years or more of compulsory rehabilitation, which can include forced labor, according to the law.
Labor camps across China began changing their names to drug centers earlier this year, after a surprise announcement in January from Public Security Minister Meng Jianzhu that the network of 350 camps would be scrapped.
They also took it as a cue to start releasing some people who were there for non-drug offences. The camps also hold petty criminals, prostitutes, petitioners and members of the banned spiritual group Falun Gong, rights activists say.
Government websites and state media have reported steps to change the names of camps to drug rehab centers or to re-train staff this year in provinces including Guangdong, Hainan, Henan, Jiangsu, Jilin, Liaoning, Sichuan, Yunnan and Zhejiang, as well as in Shanghai and Beijing.
The Communist Party's policymaking Central Committee announced the formal abolition of the re-education through labor camp system this month as part of a series of sweeping societal and economic reforms.
Nicholas Bequelin, senior Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch, said he believed the "great majority" of forced labor camps would keep functioning as drug rehab centers.
The shift did not represent a change of "direction or principles" on the part of the party, added Jiang Tianyong, a human rights lawyer in Beijing.
"It's wrong to say it has no meaning, but it's too optimistic to think it will change a lot," he said.
"This is how power in this country operates ... They can't use re-education through labor camps to control people, so they just change the name and control people."
Rights groups have said conditions in labor camps are terrible and that detainees frequently had to do hard labor with minimal health and safety precautions.
Despite long-standing international criticism of the camps, many Chinese are largely oblivious to them because many of those who are locked up are poor and on the fringes of society.
The party this month said it saw the scrapping of the re-education through labor regime as an improvement to the justice system that would help it regain credibility with the populace and better protect human rights.
Neither the Public Security Ministry nor the Justice Ministry responded to questions from Reuters about the transformation of the camps into drug rehab centers.
DRUG ADDICTS STAY BEHIND
In Shanghai, shiny metal characters saying "Shanghai No.4 Re-education Through Labor Facility" still adorn the gate, but the last inmates were released months ago and the compound is now a drug rehab centre, said a guard at the facility.
"The official documents, everything, has already been changed," said the guard, who did not give his name.
On September 14, Su Yuhong left the Masanjia forced labor camp in northern Liaoning province.
Masanjia made international headlines last year when a woman in the U.S. state of Oregon found a note in a Halloween decoration kit from Kmart that was supposedly written by a camp inmate who claimed to have played a part in making the product.
"Only the drug addicts were left," Su said by telephone from the city of Shenyang, where she now lives.
By mid-June, the 21st Century Business Herald newspaper quoted Justice Ministry researcher Wang Gongyi as saying there were only 50,000 labor camp inmates left in the country, compared with hundreds of thousands in compulsory drug rehab centers.
Beyond drug centers, Chinese authorities still have many ways to detain people without trial, rights activists said.
Police can detain sex workers, for example, under a mechanism known as "custody and education".
The terminology even appears to be interchangeable.
An article in July on the Public Security Ministry website said prostitutes in Zhejiang province had been sentenced to "re-education through labor at a custody and education facility".
Jiang, the lawyer, said police had used other means to curtail the freedom of some, including Falun Gong adherents and repeat petitioners.
The number of court convictions of such people was on the rise, as was the use of 'rule of law study classes', which amounted to unlawful detention, he said.
"So long as (the authorities) feel a need to maintain stability, simply abolishing laojiao will not solve the problem," he said.