Archive for commission – Page 2

Inmate Sexual Victimization Rises; Feds Stall On New Rules


Back in June, I posted a piece titled Attorney General Holder misses prison rape prevention reform deadline. I had previously posted about the same thing here.

A couple of excerpts from my posts:

Holder’s inaction will result in more cases like that of Bryson Martel, who got AIDS after being repeatedly raped in prison.

Two women were repeatedly raped (Nicole Garza and Kimberly Yates), and those in power ignored those, too.


Think about that. Imagine if this were your child. Or friend. Or anyone you care about, for that matter.

I’m having flashbacks of Abu Ghraib. Our system of justice should include guarantees of safety for juvenile offenders, and yet look at those statistics.

As I said back then, we cannot afford delays.

I'm sure though, after all this time, A.G. Holder is all over this. One could hardly imagine he'd put it off any longer, what with all the violence and ruined lives.

Or not (via Dan Froomkin):

A new study released Thursday by the Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that 88,500 adults held in U.S. prisons and jails are sexually abused annually, either by staff or fellow inmates. [...]

Overall, the survey paints a grim picture of a system of mass incarceration where all too many prisoners, stripped of their autonomy or ability to defend themselves, spend their sentences terrorized by sexual predators.

Defying some of the pop-cultural stereotypes, however, it turns out most of that predation is carried out by guards, rather than inmates...

But wait! That's not all! Via The Hill:

Based on those recommendations, DOJ was charged under the 2003 law with finalizing new rules by June 2010.

It didn't happen.

Instead, Attorney General Eric Holder said earlier this year that the agency has delayed the process over concerns from the prisons that the proposed guidelines would be too expensive to implement. [...]

A DOJ spokeswoman said earlier this month that the agency will issue proposed standards this fall — meaning the final rules likely won't take hold for months afterward.

Prison reform advocates don't like the delay, and they're pointing to Thursday's BJS report as reason the agency should quicken its pace.

"Every day that the Attorney General doesn’t finalize the national standards is another day of anguish among prisoner rape survivors, of preventable safety breaches in prisons and jails, and of significant spending of taxpayers’ money on medical treatment, investigations, and litigation that could have been avoided," Lovisa Stannow, executive director of Just Detention International, a prisoner-rights group, said Thursday in a statement.

Please follow the links above to read more.

Then reach for the Pepto Bismol.  You'll need it.

Via the Bureau of Justice Statistics:

Allen J. Beck, PhD, Paige M Harrison

August 26, 2010    NCJ 231169

Presents data from the National Inmate Survey (NIS), 2008-09, conducted in 167 state and federal prisons, 286 local jails, and 10 special correctional facilities (operated by U.S. Armed Forces, Indian tribes, or the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)) between October 2008 and December 2009, with a sample of 81,566 inmates ages 18 or older.   The report provides a listing of facilities ranked according to the prevalence of sexual victimization, as required under the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-79). The prevalence of victimization as reported by inmates during a personal interview is based on sexual activity in the 12 months prior to the interview or since admission to the facility, if less than 12 months. Included are estimates of nonconsensual sexual acts, abusive sexual contacts, inmate-on-inmate and staff sexual misconduct, and level of coercion. The report also presents findings on reported sexual victimization by selected characteristics of inmates, including demographic characteristics, sexual history and orientation, and criminal justice status. It includes details on victims’ experiences and the circumstances surrounding incidents of sexual victimization.

Highlights include the following:

  • An estimated 4.4% of prison inmates and 3.1% of jail inmates reported experiencing one or more incidents of sexual victimization by another inmate or facility staff in the past 12 months or since admission to the facility, if less than 12 months.
  • Female inmates in prison (4.7%) or jail (3.1%) were more than twice as likely as male inmates in prison (1.9%) or jail (1.3%) to report experiencing inmate-on-inmate sexual victimization.
  • Among inmates who reported inmate-on-inmate sexual victimization, 13% of male prison inmates and 19% of male jail inmates said they were victimized within the first 24 hours after admission, compared to 4% of female inmates in prison and jail.

Press Release.

Here, this may help. Take a swig and call me in the morning:


Alan Simpson: Social Security Is Like a "Milk Cow with 310 Million Tits!"


Here Simpson is berating a Social Security advocate:

The word "unfit" comes to mind:

Liberals and groups in favor of preserving Social Security are calling for the co-chair of President Obama's deficit commission to resign after he said in an e-mail that Social Security is "a milk cow with 310 million tits."

In a letter responding to criticisms against him from a group representing older women, former Wyoming Sen. Alan Simpson wrote that he has "spent many years in public life trying to stabilize" Social Security. However, he wrote, "Yes, I've made some plenty smart cracks about people on Social Security who milk it to the last degree. You know 'em too. It's the same with any system in America. We've reached a point now where it's like a milk cow with 310 million tits!"

Paints quite a picture, Al! Gee, that wasn't sexist at all. The visual is a little much, though, is it not?

What would Former Half-Gov FreeSpeech McLaurApologist say?! I know! "Don’t retreat…reload! Silencing isn’t American, not fair."

He's sorry though, see?

UPDATE: Wednesday 3:08 p.m. - Alan Simpson apologized Wednesday for describing Social Security as "a milk cow with 310 million tits!" in an email to OWL executive director Ashley Carson.

Simpson's apology comes as pressure is mounting on the former Wyoming Senate Republican to resign his co-chairmanship of President Obama's deficit commission, which is considering cuts to Social Security.

Much more reaction here.

So if pressure hadn't been mounting, then what?

Let's see Simpson get out there with a public apology to the rest of us.  Or maybe he'll just go on Larry King Live and act petulant.


EPA's Stanislaus just doesn't get it.


I have posted about the deadly effects of dispersants over and over again. All of those posts can be found here.  This problem, the threats to our health and the health of the ocean and its sea life, isn't hard to understand. In fact, it's easy, and yet our own EPA seems to have a collective mental block... maybe an intentional one.

Exhibit 23789437438792437:

Commission members expressed skepticism about some of the testimony about dispersants and oil waste from Mathy Stanislaus, the Environmental Protection Agency's assistant administrator for the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. [...]

"While the use of dispersants represents an environmental tradeoff, it's important to understand that oil is the No. 1 enemy and dispersants are not as toxic and the oil they break down," Stanislaus said. "Dispersants break down over weeks rather than persisting for years as oil might."

Ahh, I get it.  Dispersant is bad, but oil is much worse. Oh, so it's all relative? Okay then, let's see, if I smoke a cigarette with a filter, it's not as "toxic"? If I stand in front of a compact car instead of a Hummer and let it hit me, it won't be as deadly? I'll only get smushed instead of pulverized?  I see.

Hold on to your booms, it gets worse:

But when Stanislaus said that tests of oil collected as waste showed it wasn't hazardous, he was challenged by commission member Terry Garcia, an executive vice president of the National Geographic Society.

Terry Garcia is a smart executive vice president:

"You say the dispersant is not as toxic as the oil, but you're saying the solid waste that contains the oil is not dangerous and is being dumped in a non-hazardous landfill. How is that possible?" Garcia said.

Stanislaus said the EPA has used independent monitoring to assure themselves that there's no danger, but promised to keep monitoring.

Speaking of sludge/tar ball landfill, did you see this video I posted the other day?< Now back to Stanislaus's hokum already in progress:

"We do believe the process needs to be changed," Stanislaus acknowledged.

Um, yeah. One might say that. And Stanislaus himself just did, which says it all.

FYI, Stanislaus is Hugh Kaufman's boss. Hugh is the one who linked me to this article, and he is also a senior policy analyst at the EPA’s office of solid waste and emergency response.

If you want to read something even more disturbing, take a look at this piece (which includes input by Dr. Riki Ott, marine toxicologist and foremost authority of the Exxon Valdez disaster), sent to me by Barkway.


U.S. oil disaster panel to hold public meeting


The big, impressive seven-member oil disaster commission is about to meet. Will they be as toothless as previous commissions? Will there be a modicum of schadenfreude to appease an angry and wounded America? Will we be throwing things at our Tee Vee Machines? Stay tuned. The answers to these and other questions will be revealed on July 12th:

(Reuters) - A U.S. presidential panel to probe the cause of the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and recommend new rules to prevent future disasters will hold its first public meeting in New Orleans on July 12 and 13, its co-chairs said on Saturday.

Gulf Coasters who have had to endure the BP atrocities will be heard. In fact, we can be confident that they'll be quite vocal. The question is, will they be in the least bit satisfied, will there be any meaningful resolutions, and will my Tee Vee Machine survive my projectile pillows, balled up tee shirts, and cat toys?