Prisoner’s education, unemployment, and healthcare solutions
Prisoner's Education, Unemployment and Healthcare Solutions "Essay" by D. Jester Sept. 2014
A brash California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) inmate/patient (IP), D. Jester, believes he can reform higher education in penal facilities world-wide by using laptop personal computers (PC). By stripping away IP library books, law book libraries, classrooms, instructors, associated personnel, and nonessential custody staff for escort movements, the state will save billions of dollars.
To replace or reform the current systems in place would save the taxpayers in costs. The future is here to offer all people worldwide online free education for K-12 student courses and college level classes. Innovations in free higher education include the most famously massive open online courses (MOOC's). Among the most prominent MOOC purveyors are Khan Academy, the brain child of the entrepreneur Solman Khan and Coursera headed by the Stanford computer scientist Andrew Ng and Daphne-Koller. Coursera includes college level courses with a dazzing array of tutorials, some very effective, many on technical skills. At their most basic, these courses consist of standard (including some five star) university lectures caught on video. Also see The Great Courses for passionate, erudite, living-legend lecturers at www.savegreatcourses.com 1-800-832-2412 DVD or CD orders available.
In reality, MOOCs revolutionize education through technical innovation. MOOCs are beloved by those too poor for a traditional university, as well as those who like to dabble, and those who like to learn in their pajamas. Worldwide free information has become more ubiquitous. The efficiency, practicality, level of interaction and intensity of learning online with MOOCs are becoming the norm.
Most MOOCs are mission-oriented toward optimized teaching methods with a curriculum in developing the intellectual capacity of the individual and learning to be a productive member of society. Providing classes designed to inculcate "habits of mind" and "foundational concepts", which are the basis for all sound systematic thought.
MOOCs are designed to convey not just information, but whole mental tool kits that help students become more thoughtful citizens. Efficiently cramming free and ubiquitous resourceful content learning into IP students' brains is preferable to failing to cram in anything at all. The institutions and their IPs that are going to survive are the ones that reimagine themselves in this new world. By offering free innovative online education with accredited academic qualification skills we are taking necessary steps to eradicate the "garbage in, garbage out" attitude of prisons who misue the terms "corrections and rehabilitation" to scam the taxpayers.
This past April, the US Congressional Budget Office projected that Americans will incur nearly $1.3 trillion in student loan debt over the next 11 years. That figure is in addition to the more than $1 trillion of such debt that remains outstanding today. The job market economy is competitive and a major obstacle for paroling IPs to compete with. It is a mandatory required necessity for parole planning to have a job to parole. The unemployment rate is now very bleak.
Two aphorisms from economists sum up why American higher education and prison overcrowding cannot continue down the path it has been on for more than half a century-a path of endlessly increasing costs enabled by an unlimited supply of federal and state taxpayers funding through tax increases. The first is Herbert Stein's insight: "If something cannot go on forever, it will stop." The second is Michael Hudson's observation: "Debts that can't be paid, won't be."
During my lifetime the state of California has built over 20 or more massive prisons for CDCR operating at over 180% chronic overcrowding. They have build only one university during this same time. The average cost to incarcerate a IP is $100 thousand or more annually. CDCR maintains 34 state prisons with a annual budget of over $10 billion.
Today, California prison officials, educators, policy makers, students, IPs, and reformers are seeking to explore how policy makers can harness the power of education to reduce recidivism, increase public safety, enable sustainable employment, and rebuild lives. As an example, California has put in place re-entry hubs to showcase their commitment to and support of successful re-entry services for formerly incarcerated men and women.
My goal is to show CDCR that there is a better way to educate all IPs at all levels of learning stages; 24/7 at their convenience right within the confines of their housing units. This reasonable solution offers a remarkable savings to the state of California and no cost will be incurred to the taxpayers. In fact, should any incidental cost arise to [pervade?] our higher education it can be paid out of our flush IP welfare fund, federal and state education grants, IP rehabilitation Programs and Planning under Cal Pen C Section 5069(e), or generous private endowment charitable trust contributions provided to meet our educational goal needs and also with private donations.
No community wants, or needs, true reform to occur more than the ones directly impacted by a failed criminal justice system. It is time for those closest to the problem to rise up and lead us on this journey to better ourselves and overcome mistakes of the past.
50 years after the so called, "I Have A Dream" speech, America has gradually expanded the definition of justice and civil rights. Lead by King's vision, and the sweat of many social engineers, many groups that were once disenfranchised and ignored now have a place behind the podium. One's sexual orientation, gender identification, ethnicity or immigration status does not automatically preclude one from playing a significant role in one's destiny.
Yet, 50 years after that emblazoned speech, Americans continue to selectively downplay the fact that King-the Reverend...the Doctor...the Peacemaker-who also, at various points in his life, a man behind bars. He was exposed to the brutality of prison life and relegated to a number with no regard to his name or stature. It was behind bars that he wrote the famous "Letter From Birmingham Jail", where he stated the following: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in a inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affect all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outsider agitator" idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds."
In my research quest to restore government "Pell" grants for the poverty stricken incarcerated students unable to get a college education while serving their long sentences, I discovered the number one primary disparity causing increasing prison populations. Once arrested IPs, including a disproportionate number of illegal aliens, people of color, mentally ill, uneducated and the poor who are being deprived of their constitutional rights to adequate information.
This ongoing disparity includes fair and equal access to higher education opportunities, reasonable and effective due process of the law access to the courts on appeal (especially while forced into litigating while in [pro per and in forma pauperous?] and AEDPA time restraints), and work for pay while incarcerated; and why it still matters today.
I personally believe the current unsuccessful CDCR education policies and the associated enormous costs to the taxpayers (as the direct result of the growing higher recidivism rates), are easily preventable. Simply put, CDCR administration and their union representatives are providing themselves job security and higher pay increases by ideologically keeping IPs minds distracted and their attention preoccupied 24/7 with state and personal property entertainment like TVs, CD radios, guitar, IP prison politics and head games, etc.
To overcome this conflict of interest, laptop PC higher education should be made readily available 24/7 (also) to IP students for study. We've tried CDCR's way for half a century. It's too costly and a failure. Let's try this new way for a trial period and reevaluate the progress periodically for success.
An IP who engages in real learning is much less likely to become a recidivist. Education and knowledge create a power that our jails and prisons around the country, only grudgingly and poorly provide. Their posture suggests that recidivism is job assurance. This is a system that lacks imagination and assumes little responsibility to the society in which the incarcerated persons will be returning. It must be changed.
Higher education has proven to be one of the most effective tools in reducing recidivism and transforming lives. The numbers alone speak for themselves. Nationally, the recidivism rate is 43.3%. In California it is climbing to over 70%; yet if a person has earned a Bachelor's degree while in prison, it is reducted to 5.6%, and to less than 1% with a Master's degree.
Furthermore, college increases access to employment, reduces povery, and strenghens communities. However, higher education is one of the most underutilized resources inside of correctional facilties. This is why we must be tireless in our efforts to ensure access to higher education 24/7 for those IPs who are incarcerated. Past CDCR education policies fail to work. We must immediately change to new technology free online 24/7 educational opportunities. We must now advance the underpriviliged minority of the incarcerated IPs, like society does in both public and private schooling, for example.
Our justice system exploits inmate/patients (IPs) by slavery with the prison workforce. They are ordered to pay excessive restitution fines and disparate punishment, denied their constitutional rights, and given more time by enforcement of expost facto [enhancement?] laws. These are crystal clear violations of eight, ninth, and fourteenth amendments rights. These are some of the many rights being denied to a minority; prisoners. Especially 25 years to life (indeterminate) sentenced inmates by CDCR Administration and Disciplinary biased staff, their Union, CCPOA, their bribed elected governor (career politicians), their governor appointed CDCR Board of Prisons Terms Commissioners, the appointed and elected justices of the judicial system. "The good-ole-boys", minority, lifers, hate-crime discrimination club. They're so openly orchestrated by judicial system organized crime, it makes RICO Act violations by ellusive drug cartels obsolete in comparison. It makes perfect sense, we're the biggest drug market in the world. An entire judicial system economy from top to bottom feeds off of it.
Shamefully so, especially with crafty engineering sitting justices who can't comprehend (and blatently violate) their oath of office to uphold Article 1, Sections 9 and 10, and the first amendment of the US Constitution on habeas corpus (hc) petitions to redress IP government grievances. Congress has no power whatsoever to violate IPs constitutional rights by claiming IP hc AEDPA suspension time limits. The Supreme Court is very clear with case law an acts to void and/or which are repugnant to the constitution. These two historical Supreme Court Cases on-point explain in clear detail how come our country is now in chaos and crisis here and abroad. See:
Calder v. Bull 3 US 386 3 DALL 386 390
1 LED 648 (1798)
An act of the legislature contrary to the first great principle of the social compact, cannot be considered a rightful exercise of legislative authority.
Marbury v. Madison 5 US 137 2 LED 60
1 CRANCH 137 (1803)
An act of congress repugnant to the constitution cannot become a law.
Bearing this truth and reality in mind, only God Almight can do the impossilbe, not congress. We the people are being brainwashed to believe our government can violate the supreme law of the land, the US Constitution, and force an unconstitutional AEDPA (or the Patriot Act for that matter as well) on its free citizens. "Free" meaning 70% of all our earned income goes to pay government taxes of one sort or another. When the smoke and mirrors vanish and the US Constitution reappears, please take five minutes to read it. The illusion that our drug addicted government can convince you into believing they are adhering to its principles will become apparent legal knowledge they are not.
Knowledge is power and that's what education does for citizens. We the people need to use the governments Patriot Act on the government itself. God gave us one of my most favorite scriptures in the Old Testament, Esther. A very short story that speaks to us today. God delivered the people of our earlier ancestry from a modern day type Patriot Act (called a Haman Decree). Let us unite in prayer he will deliver us again. Please take ten minutes to read Esther and ask God hear our prayers as a nation.
It costs money to get locked up in America. IP restitution costs, child support in arrears, in some states, "room and board costs: pile up during long stays, mounting legal fees, booking fees into jail, court fees, costs and fines, fees while on parole, medical copayments, prescribed medical appliance costs, postage fees, legal mail supplies, copies, state property damages, etc...CDCR does have a unlimited use for [Lexis Nexis?] legal research through a Matthew Bender Master Agreement contract. This 24/7 access is unaccessible without a laptop PC.
Less than four percent (4%) of American prison population is employed by corrections industries. Statistically we know working in correctional industries significantly reduces crime rates. Prisoners who learn skilled work or self-educate themselves can ease their transition to the outside and it successfully gives prisoners a positive productive way to occupy their time.
In CRCR if you owe any restitution charges mentioned above, you will have no less than 55% of your corrections industry income deducted from your trust account. Any funds (money gifts of charity) your people send to you for canteen cosmetics is also taxed 55% too. I believe to tax your family 55% more is extortion. It's a double dipping whammy extortion if you have honorably put your life on the line serving your country in the armed forces. Veterans receiving disability or retirement benefits have 90% or more of their funds taken.
America's mass prison system is a costly, counter-productive mess of massive incarceration. We must ask ourselves what incentives can we offer to engage IPs to help themselves and pay down their debts. We may agree that by committing certain crimes, people forfit their right to be free, at least for a time. Must that also mean they forfit their right to fair pay for their work, or to pay off their debt, or for access to free online 24/7 higher education opportunities?
A felony conviction makes job hunting notoriously difficult. Especially with no futher education earned, the combination of debt and poor job opportunties can lead recently released prisoners right back to prisons.
IPs are not encouraged to be engaged enough. Their motivation needs some stirring. IPs must take the incentive to help themselves. The first step is removing roadblocks to educational opportunities. Providing this avenue of hope in belief in oneself for positive change is the turning poing to choosing a path of self-empowerment. The key thing to work on is getting rid of doubt and anger. Learn how to love yourself. Everyone can do something to make their lives better.
I expect in taking our first step we are removing roadblocks to 24/7 higher education opportunities using online or offline resources through introducing new technology laptop PC advances, or ask yourself why not? Make a list of any concerns and allow unbiased experts to address them constructively. This idea would allow progress toward the expectation of achieveing this reasonable accomplishment for the good of all involved. I see absolutely no harm in doing this. The same type forum analysis was used to introduce online desktop computers in students classrooms over twenty years ago to protect children from online predators. It remains successful and secure to this day.
NSA insurrectionist governmental spies monitor, record, store, and instantly retrieve every single American citizen's every action 24/7 and including the rest of the worlds populations too, under the Patriot Act. We can rest assured CDCR has similar security to protect society from IPs committing any computer crimes, terrorism or treason. As a matter of fact, CDCR annually confiscates over 15,000 new cell phones as IP contraband. Over the past twenty years these cell phones caused no security threats or attempted escapes have resulted. So you see, there really is no cause for any laptop PC security or safety concerns.
Moreover, prisoners went through these paranoia driven postures by custody staff throughout the past years time with introducing IPs the earned privileges in allowing IPs to acquire their own personal property color t.v.s, cooking hot pots, hair clippers, typewriters, guitars, pianos, etc..., within their cells 24/1. This laptop PC is just another privileged item to add to the list of growing pains.
In 2013 following tens of thousands of inmate/patients (IPs) going on a non-violent statewide hunger strike (the majority of which were locked-down in indeterminate security housing units (SHU) and administrative segregation (ad-seg) solitary confinement), including many starvation deaths, CDCR healthcare was placed in contined federal receivership. The chronic overcrowding, 24/7 lockdowns, deplorable living conditions, healthcare issues, no neutral third-part due process, no activities programming, no jobs or education opportunities.
Some CDCR staff claimed IPs were associated or validated gangsters resulting in false gang affiliation allegations put on them in a permanent central filed by alleged undisclosed IPs "confidential informants". After the fact, much time later many of the false charges were proven untrue resources that were unreliable. Various other contributing factors played out as well, like no family visitations being allowed, unreasonable delivery delays of family care packages, special purchases, canteen, mail services, no appeal responses, no shower rotation program in place, etc.
But the big five hunger-strike issues were: Nutritious and wholesome hot/cold meals with ample portions, the lack of sunlight, inadequate ventilation, temperature either too exteme cold/hot, staff verbal and physical abuse, and finally, social isolation.
I think for me in that situation, although I did not hear about it being brought up by anyone, would possibly be the noise. I did recently come across an article on "PTSD and Criminal Behavior" by Claudia Baker, MSW, MPH and [Cessie?} Alforms, LCSC at 626-483-3896 e-mail Dr.Goguen@traumatic.stress.treatment.com
I wanted to share with you some of their findings. "One of the most traumatic and stress situations a person can experience is incarceration. Even if you don't get beaten or raped, the constant stress of dealing with hostile people, whether inmates or guards, will build up to a breaking point over the years. This can be manifested by a nervous breakdown or the development of a personality disorder." "During incarceration, there are no breaks, no days off, and there is no time given to recuperate your sanity. Even if you go to solitary confinement, that is typically the loudest in prison...War and incarceration are opportunities for constant stress to have their greatest impact because the person experiencing them can't just walk away when they've had too much. Escape and desertion are both crimes taken very seriously by our government."
In 2013-2014 Joint Legislative Informational Hearings were held on CDCR Solitary Confinement. Particularly, on Feb 11, 2014 Senator Hancock addressed and heard testimony from panel guest speakers, Dr. Haney and Dr. Metcalf. The following are few exercepts of interest I would like to highlight:
Senator Loni Hancock, CD, Berkley, California. Dr. Craig Haney, Professor at UC Santa Cruz. Dr. Hope R. Metcalf, Associate Research Scholar in Law; Director Arthur Liman Program; and lecturer in law, Yale Law School, Professor.
Dr. Haney: Jails create and exacerbate mental health problems. It does not take a genius to conclude, and yet, countless studies have proven it; if you remove someone from their daily life, their support system, their work, their sense of meaning and community, and put them into an extremely controlled and violent environment that is meant to punish them and take away their dignity, they will suffer physically, emotionally and mentally. This is even truer for the large number of people who enter jail alreading suffering from mental illness.
In District Judge Henderson's appointment of a medical receiver in his 2005, opinion, notes this statement on the record: "The prison is unable to function effectively and suffers a lack of will with respect to prisoner medical care."
The Coleman decision ordered reform of prison mental healthcare. Case lawyers asked their judges to strengthen previous orders and impose a population cap as a way of reviewing chronic extreme over-crowding (almost 200% capacity) - 34 Prisons.
Dr. Haney: In August of 2009 a three judge panel handed down a 184 page injuction order with District Judge Lawrence Karlton stating the following comments: "Unfortunately, during the eight years of the Plata litigation and the 19 years of the Coleman litigation, the political branches of California government charged with addressing the crisis in states prisons have failed to do so. Instead, the rights of California prisoners have repeatedly been ignored. Where the political process has utterly failed to protect the contstitutional rights of a minority, the courts can, and must vindicate those rights."
Senator Hancock: What you need to do is provide conditions that allow the person to have a life instead of going around the bend from total sensory deprivation, monotony, and isolation. It seems to me that the potential is here. It is possible California can go from dragging behind and bringing up the rear to take a big leap forward and go into the vanguard. This could be a good beginning for them to be rapid change. And there should be because the problem is so staggering. There is no substitute for bringing in independent outside experts like yourself to bring a fresh eye to this lack of accountability.
Dr. Harvey: I have seen firsthand the extent in which people's lives are wasted in prison; through enforced idleness, abuse, neglect, and societal attitudes of revenge; documented ways the judicial system is highly discriminatory and disproportionately punish poor people and people of color, and the weakest or most impoverished; prisoners in isolation suffer chronic and overwhelming feelings of sadness, hopelessness and depression, deeply and unshakably paranoid and are profoundly anxious around and afraid of people; some lose their grasp on sanity and many others report struggling with this on a daily basis. Many prisoners are certain that they will never be able to live normally among people again and are consumed by this fear.
Dr. Haney: Too many do actually deteriorate mentally and emotionally and their capacity to function as remotely effective feeling social beings atrophies. Social isolation, loneliness, and social exclusion experienced in abundance can ravage the body and the brain. Its not just painful, we now know that prolonged social deprivation has the capacity to literally change who we are physically as well as mentally, through social and neuroscience, California must immediately provide a pathway out that does not continue to invest significant discretion in the hands of correctional decision makers who, for intents and purposes are beyond the challenge or meaningful redess an appeal.
We must provide some sense of optimism about the least restrictive conditions practicable and consistent with the rationale to serve the purpose of actually accomplishing progress achieved. We should know that it's actually producing results that are beneficial to everyone, the inmate, staff, and the system overall. By neutral parties, targeted and designed to rehabilative programming and mental health treatment necessary to change behavior, not just warehouse them.
Do case-by-case analysis and reviews, the process is that it needs to be independent and not in house where serious revisions to their process are biased. Some programs require upfront investments and payback significantly, policies that make a more humane situation as opposed to a more punitive situation. Come up with very targeted programs so they do not take up a one-size fits all. Some people with cognitive disabilities are different than those probably with personality disorders or those with mental health issues, etc... Phases of programs that deliver effective programing safely are worth looking at. They premise many of their practices and procedures on evidence based approaches, and I think we do well to emulate that.
Dr. Metcalf: Concurs values and concerns shared completely with Dr. Haney's assessment on the record. But adds, we need creative thinking, by the many stakeholders, including inmates as well as their families, the legal community, and of course the medical and social science communities. We need long-term commitments from CDCR corrections profession addressing solutions to problems that it seeks or purports to solve. Actually, it is a serious, widespread problems of their own making.
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